Published: May 31, 2018
Updated: May 31, 2018

Behind the Scenes: Meet the Winner of the SHAPE AT&T Film Awards Best Film Shot on Mobile

Author: Dave Okamoto

New York The Place we Live In movie posterIn February, we called for submissions for the 2018 SHAPE edition of the AT&T Film Awards, an open competition seeking imaginative, undiscovered short films from aspiring storytellers. Filmmakers answered the call, with 1,500 outstanding entries all hoping for a chance to win their share of $60,000 in prizes. Now here’s your chance to get to know more about the winner of the Best Short Shot on Mobile award Sung In Sohn for his short documentary, New York, The Place We Live In.

We took some time to talk with New Jersey-based filmmaker Sung In Sohn to learn more about his documentary about life in New York. Sohn and filmmaking partner Ahmed Abu Talib of Queens, New York wanted to capture daily scenes you’d see in New York. The duo embraced mobile technology to create a documentary that reveals what a special place New York is and accentuate how it differs from other places in the country. The diverse, fast, and dynamic environment set the stage for their documentary, which focused on conveying that even though New York had a tragic moment in the past, it is still the city everyone wants to be part of.

Q: What is the filmmaking background of all the team members?
A: We all originally have a background in post production, motion graphics, and 3D animations. But we are all enthusiastic about filming and telling the story.

Q: Did you use a variety of filming techniques (mobile, drone, 360 video) to shoot your film? If so, which ones and how did you use them?
A: To shoot the film, we used a Samsung Galaxy, iPhone and DJI Mavic Pro. During shooting we tried to use various features of each device. Technologies are now so advanced that I believe that you can make a good film only using the camera on your mobile device. However, it’s essential to have good framing and a story to tell.

Sung Sohn
Sung In Sohn

Q: What do you find most interesting about making short films?
A: There is no limitation to expressing your idea in a short film, which is great to motivate yourself to make films.

Q: What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
A: Our plan was to find an actual New Yorker on the street who can share his thoughts on the city. We met lots of people until we finally found a person who can tell his/her story brilliantly. It wasn’t until almost the end of the day that we found Mr. Smith who elaborated amazingly to the camera.

Q: Is this the first time you’ve entered your work in a contest?
A: Yes. this is our first time and we are amazed that we got selected as a finalist.

Q: How did you first get interested in filmmaking?
A: I’ve always had a deep interest in all kinds of motion picture works including filming.

Q: What does AT&T SHAPE and contests like this mean to you?
A: We spent about three months to create a three-minute short film. We’re very glad that AT&T SHAPE recognized it and it’s our pleasure too.

Q: Who have been your biggest influencers in the film industry (directors, writers, teachers, etc.) and what have you learned from them?
A: Actually, my co-workers always have been my biggest influencers. I always learn a lot from them by working with them.

Q: What advice do you have for new filmmakers just getting started in the field?
A: Don’t just sit back and wait until you’re inspired. Go out, shoot, and edit.

Q: What video technologies do you see shaping the future of film and content creation?
A: Definitely AR and VR technology will be (and is already) a big part of film and content creation that will help give an audience a full experience.

Q: What do you think of using different filming mediums and technologies (AR, VR, Drones, AI, etc.) to create films in the future? Is it something that interests you and if so, why?
A: I think using different filming mediums will give an audience more varied experiences. Definitely this is something that interests me. We’re already testing filming techniques using 360-degree cameras to come up with something unique and interesting to watch.

Q: What do you plan to do with the prize money?
A: We probably will be investing prize money to get better gears for our future films.

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