Experiencing Interruptions?


Broke and alone, two brothers who drank away their inheritance start a new life together while trying to put their troubled past behind them. Living off the grid in New Jersey, their innovative ability to survive went on for four years…until one of them decided it was time to get out, leaving his brother to make an important decision.

This 16 minute doc was made with an iPhone 5s.

  • Jack Ballo
    Elio, Before You Leave, Destiny's Bridge
  • Jack Ballo
    Elio, Before You Leave, Destiny's Bridge
  • Jack Ballo
    The Doo Dah Man
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 20 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 6, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    0 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Art House Urban Film Fest
    January 6, 2018
    India Premiere
  • Lyons International Film Festival
    Lyons, Colorado
    United States
    March 24, 2018
    North American Premiere
    Best Short Documentary
  • Moscow Shorts
    Russian Federation
    April 13, 2018
    Russia Premiere
    Best Documentary Short Film
  • SmartPhilm Festival
    Washington DC
    United States
    June 2, 2018
    Best Documentary
  • Mobile Motion International Film Festival
    June 9, 2018
    Switzerland Premiere
    Best Feature
  • Short to the Point International Short Film Festival
    April 30, 2018
    Romania Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Interrobang Film Festival
    Des Moines, Iowa
    United States
    June 22, 2018
    Iowa Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Benicia Film Festival
    Benicia, California
    United States
    August 31, 2018
    Premiere California
    Best Smartphone Short
  • Thunderdance Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    June 9, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Calcutta International Cult Film Festival
    April 27, 2018
  • International Independent Film Awards
    Encino, California
    United States
    June 22, 2018
    Silver Winner
  • South Georgian Bay Film Festival
    July 14, 2018
    Canada Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Brighton Rocks Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    May 25, 2018
    Best Phone Film
  • Baja California International Film Festival
    August 25, 2018
    Mexico Premiere
    Best Smart Device Film
  • Copenhagen International Web Fest
    September 22, 2018
    Denmark Premiere
  • New Delhi Film Festival
    New Delhi
    September 22, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Great Western Catskills International Film Festival
    Andes, NY
    United States
    October 20, 2018
    Official Selection
  • EyeCatcher Film Festival
    McAlester, OK 74502
    United States
    November 9, 2018
    Oklahoma Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Great Message International Film Festival
    September 22, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Reel Recovery Film Festival
    Studio City, CA
    United States
    October 20, 2018
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Jack Ballo

Jack Ballo is a documentary filmmaker and screenplay writer. He teaches DIY documentary filmmaking and also writes a blog packed with info and techniques about DIY filmmaking. His workshops include an iPhone filmmaking course that emphasizes story over equipment.

One of the few pure cinema verite filmmakers around today, Ballo makes his docs following the philosophies of great classic verite filmmakers like Albert Maysles, D.A. Pannebaker and Bill Jersey. He is known for his raw natural style of filmmaking and does all the filming, editing, color and sound mixing himself.

He shares his experiences in making do-it-yourself docs in his blog, DIY Documentary Filmmaking. The blog is designed to assist aspiring filmmakers to tell their story from the simplest approach while doing the entire production themselves. He also gives workshops and instructs a DIY documentary filmmaking course.

His latest documentary BROTHERS (2017) was filmed entirely on an iPhone 5s. Prior to the iPhone doc was his acclaimed "Tent City" documentary called DESTINY'S BRIDGE (2016). He also co-wrote the screenplay THE DOO DAH MAN (2015) a movie based on his own true story about hitchhiking across the country when he was picked up in a stolen car by a con-artist who just broke out of prison. Ballo made two other award winning documentary films, BEFORE YOU LEAVE (2012) and ELIO (2010).

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Director Statement

I filmed the entire Brothers documentary with an "Out of the Pocket" iPhone. Out of the Pocket, meaning no apps or accessories were used. This iPhone documentary, BROTHERS, captured the story in a natural way without any type of film crew. I believe that the emotional impact of the story is enhanced by both the verite filmmaking approach and the unobtrusive use of the iPhone.

As I filmed these two men they never saw a camera, they never saw a sound person holding a boom mic or witnessed a cinematographer shuffling through their bag to find the best lens or accessory for the shot at hand. The fact that the subjects never caught a glimpse of any video equipment and barely noticed the iPhone contributed greatly to a more authentic and truthful film.

The documentary was filmed in handheld iPhone cinema verite. Everything the viewer learns from the story unfolds as the two brothers are doing things that they would have been doing even if I wasn't there filming. I never zoomed the iPhone in while making the doc, what I did was I moved the camera closer to get close-ups just like a person would walk closer to see something up close. I also panned the phone in the same manner someone would move their head. This approach gives the viewer the same natural viewing perspective that we all have, making the viewer feel that they are right there in the scene.

I represent the viewer when I film as I bring them into the story with the hope that they see and feel as I do. There aren't any formal interviews in the movie. I only asked questions when I felt the viewer would have asked it if they were there...I didn't get into heavy questions. I let the heavy questions answer themselves throughout the film.

A photographer once said "It's not the camera, but the person behind it.” I think that would also apply to my iPhone film BROTHERS. “It’s not the camera, but the story it tells.”