Apple Celebrates Chinese New Year With ‘Nian’, A ‘Shot On iPhone’ Film

Apple Celebrates Chinese New Year With ‘Nian’, A ‘Shot On iPhone’ Film

Apple has teamed up with award-winning director of ‘The Farewell’, Lulu Wang, to create a short film shot entirely on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

“Nian” celebrates traditional Chinese New Year folklore, telling the story of a young girl who sets out to befriend the Nian, a ricecake-stealing, “child-eating” monster.

The film features impressive cinematography, shooting in dark caves, deep forests and at a New Years’ festival.


Reflecting on the film’s themes in the accompanying behind-the-scenes film, Wang reflected that, “as a child, my parents wanted me to go further than they have ever gone. And yet there’s also this fear that I was going into the unknown, and so I wanted to bring that theme into this film”.


The behind-the-scenes film illustrates how the team was able to shoot using the iPhone 12 Pro Max . Anna Franquesca, who was Cinematographer of the 2020 Golden Globes Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, emphasised how well the camera performs in low-light.

The size of the phone is also an advantage. “The iPhone is such a small device that you can become almost a one man bad…that freedom and stability is very powerful,” Franquesca said in the film.

Nelson Yu, the Director of Photography for ‘Nian’, pointed out the significance of the phone’s Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision means “you can fully experience wider colour gamut and deeper colour tones.”

The behind-the-scenes film illustrates how the iPhone 12 Pro Max was used inventively to catch a range of shots. It was taped to chopsticks, strapped to the side of a wheelchair and inside the Nian’s mouth.

Wang believes that shooting the film on the iPhone will make audiences feel “empowered”.

“They don’t have to wait for permission to go out and make things”.

Apple and Shot on iPhone have marked Chinese New Year with three previous films, Daughter (2020), The Bucket (2019) and Three Minutes (2018).


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