Jennifer Zhang In CharonSource: Jennifer Zhang

What you need to know

  • Filmmaker Jennifer Zhang was stuck in lockdown with no work to do, so she created a movie using nothing other than an iPhone 8.
  • The movie had zero budget but still turned out to be a compelling feature film.

Filmmaker Jenniger Zhang has already been nominated for awards left and right and she might be onto another winner with her new movie — Charon. Filmed singlehandedly using nothing more than an iPhone 8 Plus, Charon is a wild ride through lockdown for all of us, not just Zhang.

Just the synopsis is enough to whet the appetite.

A notorious hacker trapped under strict house arrest has her isolated, regimented world turned upside down when her boyfriend mysteriously begins dialing in with dark and unusual requests.

That already sounds like my jam, but the trailer drives the potential home.

Zhang says that the whole project came about because she was in lockdown herself and wasn't sure what state her other projects would be in after COVID-19. She set herself a challenge to create a movie using only what she had — an iPhone — and set inside her apartment. I'd say the results speak for themselves.

Charon -- the deeply personal film that was a result of the experiment -- was filmed and edited entirely on an iPhone 8 Plus, completely in one location, with no budget. Zhang held herself to these strict, self-imposed rules: no leaving the apartment. No purchasing extra equipment or software. No leaning on additional crew.... so, set up and light and shoot every shot on her own. Her co-star and collaborators had to make their contributions to the project remotely.

Now I just need to find a way to watch this thing.

As great as this turned out, the iPhone 8 Plus camera is starting to show its age. Maybe Zhang should check out the best iPhone deals we could find and snag herself a nice iPhone 12 Pro instead.