South Korean Feature Film Shot on Smartphone to Hit Theaters

iPhone 4S

In a first, Min Byung-woo's "Cats and Dogs," a romantic comedy made with an iPhone 4S, will screen in cinemas in the Asian country in December.

SEOUL -- When Park Chan-wook showcased Night Fishing, the Berlinale-winning short that was shot with a smartphone, in 2011, the South Korean filmmaker realized Spike Lee's 2008 prediction that "within five years, new movies will be made with devices like cell phones."

Next month, local director Min Byung-woo will premiere Korea's -- and, he says, the world's -- first feature-length film shot entirely with a mobile device that gets a theatrical release.

Cats and Dogs, a romantic comedy to be distributed by CJ Entertainment, will hit Korean theaters on Dec. 12 with support from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).

It is about a man with a pet cat who romances a woman with a dog. This is not Min's first time working with iPhones and animals. In 2011, he won the grand prize for the short Stray Cats at the 1st Olleh Smartphone Film Festival (formerly the Olleh Lotte Smartphone Film Festival).

He created his debut feature using an iPhone 4S, hand grip, shoulder grip and audio equipment provided by KT. The country's first carrier offering the iPhone, KT launched the Olleh Festival and also opened the Olleh Media Studio in Seoul. The studio is equipped with postproduction equipment and also runs an academy that teaches creatives how to make films with mobile devices. Min has been one of the instructors at the academy.

"I cannot forget the shock of watching a film shot on a smartphone on the big screen at a traditional theater," said Min. "I was able to achieve my dream of becoming of a filmmaker thanks to support from KT."

About 78.5 percent of the roughly 50 million Koreans have smartphones, the highest penetration rate in the world, according to the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA).