Q&A with Smartphone Stories founder

Anyone can make a movie- all you need is a smartphone! Smartphone Stories gives people the skills to produce, write, direct and edit a film entirely on their phone.

Smartphone Stories is a fun, interactive project giving people the skills to produce, write, direct and edit a film entirely on their phone.

The  Smartphone Stories project was launched by the not-for-profit organisation Cinespace- which promotes cultural diversity on screen. Founder Daniel Schultheis has almost 20 years of experience in community filmmaking and education.

With funding support from VicHealth Everyday Creative Partnerships, over the next two years, Cinespace  will be partnering with the City of Port Phillip and a consortium of 23 other Victorian Councils to take Smartphone Stories around Victoria - and hopefully beyond!

We spoke to Daniel about the project, and how people can get involved.

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Tell us, what is Smartphone Stories?

“Smartphone Stories is a fun, interactive project that teaches anyone how to tell stories using their smartphone. No longer just tools for content, phones can also be used now to film and edit any kind of story.  

Participants in this free-to-attend program supported by VicHealth attend 24 local workshops where they learn the skills to produce, write, direct and edit a film made entirely on a mobile phone.  

The program also includes ongoing mentoring while people make their own films, and finally shares stories from the community through screening events. Smartphone Stories is really about authenticity and originality of voice, with people empowered to tell their own story, in the way they want to.”

How does Smartphone Stories impact communities?

“What Smartphone Stories is looking to do is show people who might feel comfortable using their phones, the power of also using these tools for storytelling.

Others who do the workshops might have a clear idea of the story they want to tell, but need filmmaking skills and support to use the technology to its full potential, learning about things like composition, lighting, directing, sound and editing. 

VicHealth has also supported Smartphone Stories as a creative arts-based project within communities that contributes to health and wellbeing by reducing social isolation, building self-esteem and strengthening cultural and community connection through accessible filmmaking practices, and through sharing stories with one another.”  

What are some interesting stories or films that came out of the workshops?

“In the workshop, we start by making short 60-second films based on personal stories, as a way to learn and practice the basic skills. There have been some great stories so far.

There have been stories about memories of home abroad (Lesley), Frankenstein-fashion (Louie), recycled object art (Tamar) self-care (Sherry-Rose), and learning to skate as an adult (JP).

They’re all very different, and a kaleidoscope of Victoria, which is what makes this project so exciting.

Participants own their own stories, and can also share them independently at other screenings or Film Festivals.”

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What do you hope for the future of Smartphone Stories?

“Our road trip will continue for the next two years, all across Victoria – and hopefully beyond this project as well!

We have just visited Nagambie and Euroa in Strathbogie Shire. Our next communities on the touring schedule include Dandenong in January and Whitehorse and Bendigo in February.

Beyond the short personal stories made in the workshop, the Smartphone Stories project also includes ongoing mentoring support for creators with their next film after the initial workshop, to make any film or content type – this could be a documentary, a comedy, a drama, an experimental film, a Tik Tok series. So we are also really excited to see what other films people create over the next two years.”

Who can enrol in a workshop, and how?

“In the majority of locations workshops are open to the whole-of-community to attend, no matter how young or old, and we encourage people from all backgrounds to come along.

When various locations are scheduled people can enrol directly through our website. 

We also welcome any interested Victorians to fill out an expression of interest from anywhere, any time, so we can let people know if and when we are travelling nearby.

There’s also plans to offer an online workshop again for people anywhere in Victoria towards the end of the program.”

Visit the Smartphone Stories website to find out more about the project and how you can get involved.

To find out more about Cinespace, visit the website .

Smartphone Stories

Smartphone Stories is a fun, interactive project giving people the skills to produce, write, direct and edit a film entirely on their phone.

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