Thanks for the advent of the Internet, there’s millions of short films that you can watch at any given time. But no other genre of short films enjoy more success online than the horror short film. I’ve spent the last decade devouring horror short films of every kind to help become a better horror filmmaker myself. So I thought to myself – why not share some of my favorite horror short films to the world?
So without further ado, these are 10 of the terrifying horror short films online that have stayed with me. Strap in.
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Ever since I started making films back in 2009, I considered myself very lucky to be born in an era where the DSLR had made filmmaking accessible to everyone. Naturally, I was a big proponent of the technology and purchased my Canon 600D soon after followed by a Canon 5D Mark III in 2014. I loved using DSLRs for the form factor and the image quality they provided me at a cost that was unthinkable just a few years ago. But over the last year as I moved into doing larger scale productions and more corporate work, the limitations of a DSLR which I was well aware of before started bothering me a lot more. The less than desirable battery life, inability to record audio using XLR internally, lack of internal ND filters and more just made shooting harder for me without splurging more money buying accessories. So I started looking at upgrading my DSLR to a full blown professional camera last year and after a long search, I fell in love with the Canon C100 Mark II. It had a great form factor, all the features that I felt were missing from the 5D Mark III and ran all of my Canon lenses easily. Yes, it lacked 4K which I debated if I really truly needed but decided that it wasn’t a priority at that time. I’m a happy user of the C100 Mark II.
So I was quite surprised when I saw Sony release the FS5, which was clearly built as a C100 competitor first and foremost considering how popular the C100 is among videographers and indie filmmakers. I had no previous experience with Sony cameras before, but I was always in awe with the Sony a7S and appreciated how they packed so much value into an affordable. So when I was contacted by Sony Professional Solutions MEA to test drive the camera for a weekend, I jumped at the opportunity. Below are my honest thoughts on using the camera as a first time Sony user coming from a Canon background.
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Anyone who knows me or has seen a single film of mine knows how much of a fan I am of contained films or genre films in general. And being a filmmaker in UAE, I always found genre films extremely lacking on a feature film level. So imagine my surprise when one day I stumbled upon the trailer of Zinzana, a slick looking neo-noir thriller that takes place entirely in a prison cell. I’ve been connected with filmmaker Majid Al Ansari ever since I watched his short film ‘The Intruder!’ in 2011, which was another genre piece that was unlike anything else from this region and now his new film has acclaim internationally.
As the film gears for its Middle East Premiere this Thursday at Dubai International Film Festival as well as releases in cinemas across the country, I took the opportunity to have a conversation with the director himself. Forty minutes later, we happened to connect over our love for genre films and passion for filmmaking. He’s truly a filmmaker who has earned his way up and has a unique vision that I can’t wait to see more of. Here’s the exchange below.
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Majid Al Ansari, director of Zinzana.
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If there’s one thing I’ve found out while running this website, it’s that I don’t have a career as a blogger considering how I criminally ignore updates here as compared to my own Facebook profile. I guess I enjoy micro-blogging a lot more. Anyway, new promise to update here a lot more.
To catch up, I’ve been quite busy since last November. I took part in Samsung’s Short Film Competition and it led to my short film Clownish which was a far-cry from the horror films I’ve been doing since 2012 and a refreshing change of pace that I enjoyed. It screened at Dubai International Film Festival last year and I’m proud of how it turned out. But right after that, it was time to go back to the genre my heart belongs to – the supernatural thriller. And that’s how Sleight was born.
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The 48 Hour Film Project is a global phenomenon taking place in hundreds of cities worldwide, so I was very glad to know that it arrived in Dubai in 2011. After sitting out two years just watching the entries, I decided to finally take part in 2013. The result was an exhilarating experience that was unlike any other. Last year was different since it happened two times. Once, I won the Audience Award. The second time, I won Best Film itself.
While I won’t be able to take part this year because of other shooting commitments, here are ten tips from my end on how to survive and make the best film possible during 48 Hour Film Project.
1. Have Three Actors Ready
It’s always daunting when you as a team leader and filmmaker have to gather a team for your crew. But the one thing I have learned is to think small. As far as your actors go, it’s great if you can get ten different people to be a part of your film. For some filmmakers, this is very easy to find. But for others like you and me, it might be a much harder goal to accomplish. So here’s the trick – get at least three actors. Two of one gender and another of a different gender. So two male actors and one female, or vice versa. No matter what genre you get, it’s almost always possible to come up with a story that involves three or less characters.
The advantage of having at least one person from the other gender is if you get romance but even without that you can get creative. Maybe instead of a guy meets girl, it’s about a guy obsessing over a picture of a girl instead. But point is – three is a good minimum number of committed actors that ensure that you’re not creatively stifled when thinking of ideas. My first round film had three actors (two male, one female) while my second time around had just two actors in a room. But it’s always a good idea to also have a bunch of friends willing to play extras as well if needed. Just in case.
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