“There’s such an amazing networking community happening in the smartphone film space, we’re really amazed to be a part of it.”

SF3 SmartFone Flick Fest Co-Director Angela Blake, having wrapped this year’s Gala Awards at Paddington’s Chauvel Cinema, is already planning for next year’s Festival, with entries set to open in 2018.

“We’ll be back again for year number four definitely,” said Co-Director Ali Crew. “We’re just amazed, the filmmakers just keep making incredible films and tonight was another testament to that.”

“It was just an incredible program of smartphone films, I feel very proud of the filmmakers and to be a part of this growing and emerging community… it’s exciting to be a part of that momentum that is building with smartphone films.”

Screening 13 finalists including a handful of the Founder’s picks, SF3 has continued to grow and engage a wider audience of viewers and filmmakers from its beginnings at the Chauvel in 2015. With many prominent filmmakers including Logan Lucky Director Steven Soderbergh increasingly turning to smartphones to shoot shorts and features, the medium makes the craft a great deal more accessible to emerging and less established filmmakers.

“It’s always really difficult to pick those top ten films,” said Crew. “For the first time this year we did a shortlist screening as well which I think for the filmmakers was really invaluable and that’s something that we want to build on for next year, to encourage the filmmakers that have made the shortlist. It’s great for them to watch their films back with an audience and a great opportunity for them to network and meet other smartphone filmmakers.”

Taking out awards for Best Picture, Cinematography, Director and Best Female Director was Sydney filmmaker Ren Thackham’s Rearview, shot on a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. A clever and wholly captivating bottle thriller produced on a 49-hour deadline and shot over only three hours in a car-park, the shocker featuring gruesome obstructions only evident in the driver’s rear-view mirror was an audience favourite on the night and more than ably earned this year’s top prize.

With eight of the thirteen entries hailing from Australia including four from Sydney, the #Filmbreaker award, reserved for first time filmmakers, went to students from the Swinburne University of Technology for documentary Space Van Man about a Melbourne local who has lived in vans for the past seventeen years. Drop, created by last year’s #Filmbreaker winner Liam J. Phelan and shot on an iPhone 6 proved one of the more lighthearted and most endearing features, chronicling an afternoon in the lives of two brothers with a very unexpected conclusion.

Hold the Pineapple, a hilarious and irreverent take on the hugely divisive debate about whether pineapple belongs on pizza also emerged a crowd favourite, taking out the Award for Founder’s Pick of the night. This year’s Festival also featured SF360 which showcased a number of virtual reality entries, an increasing focus of filmmakers and Festivals worldwide.

“We really got some amazing SF360 videos from around the world,” said Blake. “Our winner this year was from Iran, it was an amazing piece about boat people and refugees and the crisis happening around Europe, a really touching piece.”

Finalists from this year’s Festival will also appear at the Global Mobile Film Awards (GMFA) in San Diego, California.

Coverage on Film Fight Club