Seattle startup Cinegenix rewrites the rules for Hollywood with its FiLMiC Pro app Cinegenix Founder and CEO, Neill Barham, has been a fixture in the Seattle independent film community ever since attending Vancouver Film School, but it wasn’t until he set aside his camera and picked up a smartphone that he struck gold. Intending to create a lightweight, feature-rich smartphone app “for filmmakers, by filmmakers,” Neill launched FiLMiC Pro to empower creative and unique voices the world over. Today, FiLMiC Pro is the premium HD video app on the iOS platform, used by journalists, filmmakers, and other content creators, including the team behind Magnolia Pictures current theatrical release (and 2015 Sundance Festival audience favorite), Tangerine, from writer-director Sean Baker.
Tangerine, the story of friendship between working class transgendered prostitutes in a forgotten corner of Los Angeles, is a shining example of the kinds of stories that Neill and the team at FiLMiC Pro want to give voice to. An immediate smash upon its premiere screening at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, Tangerine was purchased by Magnolia Pictures (in a high six-figures deal), and is now scheduled for release in 50 U.S. cities before heading overseas to screen in an additional dozen territories. And it was all shot with an $8 smartphone app created here in Seattle.
FiLMiC Pro is a great example of a “bootstrapped” tech startup that went from idea to App Store via hard work, ingenuity, and perseverance. In these days of billion dollar valuations and no-strings-attached VC money, Cinegenix’s work on FiLMiC Pro stands in stark contrast. FiLMiC Pro is a passion project, a filmmaker’s app made by filmmakers that expands the under-utilized video camera capabilities of the iPhone. And Barham continues to surround himself with team members committed to this shared vision: to build an affordable, premium iPhone video app for budget-conscious filmmakers.
As smartphone-lensed content begins to trickle into the bleeding edge of the mainstream, FiLMiC Pro is perfectly positioned as a “first-mover” in a rapidly expanding market. Thanks to diligence, a little moxie, and an unending commitment to innovation, Barham has maintained FiLMiC Pro’s competitive edge, resulting in his app’s inclusion in multiple Apple ads, including the powerful Robin Williams “Your Verse” campaign (2014) and the recent “Make a Film with iPad” spot (for which director Martin Scorsese provided narration) that aired during this year’s Academy Awards, securing FiLMiC Pro’s status as the gold standard of mobile video.
Today, with more than 1.2 million downloads in over 150 countries, FiLMiC Pro is working to upend the traditional Hollywood paradigm by empowering a new generation of content creators, not to mention Tangerine, which could be a watershed project in the history of independent film. From Bentley ads to the nightly news, from the Apple Keynote presentation at WWDC 2015 to the next indie hit, FiLMiC Pro, and its parent company, Cinegenix, LLC, is at the forefront of the upcoming content revolution.
It’s a Seattle success story with a happy ending…not to mention the possibility of a sequel (or two)!