Hooman Khalili's 'Olive' Filmed On Smartphone

Olive is the first feature film shot entirely on a phone to get a theatrical release. And making it wasn't easy. The N8 phone has a high-resolution camera, but director Hooman Khalili told the Los Angeles Times he had to hack the phone in order to disable its auto-focus.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Okay, it's that time of year when movie studios trot out their best films, hoping for an Oscar nomination. And that's our last word in business today. It goes to a filmmaker who's looking to catch the Academy's eye: Hooman Khalili. His film "Olive" opens on Friday.

"Olive" is about a little girl who transforms the lives of three people without speaking a word.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE "OLIVE")

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (as character) Are you going to say anything? Well, you ought to be ashamed - wait. Hey, where are you going?

INSKEEP: Now, what's unusual about this movie is the way it was filmed: on a smartphone, the Nokia N8. It is the first feature film shot entirely on a phone to get a theatrical release, and getting there wasn't easy. The N8 phone has a high-resolution camera, but Khalili told the Los Angeles Times he had to hack the phone in order to disable its auto-focus.

The filmmaker at one point affixed the phone to a remote-control helicopter to get an overhead shot. He had his own drone. Despite the low-cost camera, then, the movie cost half a million dollars to produce. Mr. Khalili had hoped for funding from Nokia, but didn't get any. He did reportedly get financing from a former Facebook executive, and so "Olive" will play for one week at a theater in Los Angeles.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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