Your 15 Second Horror Film Challenge - well, the title is
rather self-explanatory, but could you go into a bit more detail, what is
Although I did not invent "the micro-short film
contest", what we are about defines us where our approach is to build
an annual social network film festival that spawns across countries. I
even have interest from filmmakers in Vietnam and Kenya!
It's a festival that I wanted to speak to the needs of indie
filmmakers: (1) submission fees pile up quick, so let's get rid of having
a registration fee and on top of that you can submit as many entries as
you produce (2) exposure is always an issue regardless of whichever
festival we're accepted to, so let's create a social media community that
not only connects us all through our degrees of separation, operates
through our indie social networks, but also draws in outside industry
horror celebrities for guest judges and (3) festival programmers are
flooded with submissions, so the odds of being accepted into film
festivals is much smaller, so let's accept every submission (unless of
course it's flat-out malicious by nature).
What we are about is what separates us from others: we offer
I think the main reaction regarding this
challenge might be "Why only 15 seconds? That's hardly enough to tell
a story." Your answer to that? And have you ever made a 15 second
horror short yourself?
Limitations can be the fruit
to creativity: You are a painter. You open your window and see a brick
wall. What will you paint? Many will paint the brick wall while a few will
paint what they imagine could be behind that wall... and if you can do
that... that's when no one can ever come up with ideas and stories that
you can. That's having vision. Storytelling suffers from stigmas that a
story must have "enough time" to be told. Elevator pitches and
two-sentence horror stories make for some of the strongest stories ever.
"The last man on Earth sat alone in his room. Suddenly there was a
knock at the door."
So what were your key
inspirations conceiving this challenge in the first place?
ideas stem from being a fan of film first and foremost, so when it came to
coming up with the idea to program 15 Seconds Horror Film Challenge, it
came from something I wished I had come across: you mean tell me there's
an online festival where some of my favourite horror celebrities are guest
judges, folks from outside my city will see as many entries as I enter, and
all of this is for free?! Count me in!
practical advice for filmmakers wanting to pick up your challenge - and
some of the qualities you're looking for in your entries?
would suggest that filmmakers take a punchline approach to their 15 second
short films where they apply the Bugs Bunny cartoon formula: first half
establishes an assumption whereas the last half pulls a twist. That could
either mean (1) a pop-up scare (2) a suspenseful revelation or (3) a WTF
spirit throughout. Their entry should be approached like a two-sentence
horror story or a short and sweet joke you would tell, "A guy walks
into a bar. Ouch." Innovate clichés. They say there are no more
original ideas, but what they really mean is that many films fall onto
certain motifs. Study motifs so you don't "paint the brick
wall," rather, you "paint what you imagine what could be behind
that wall." Once you have your story, storyboarding is such an asset.
Also, do not rush out of pre-production. Try new options on what images,
like a photograph, not only tell your story but spell it out as clearly as
possible, because the audiences will be emoting immediately knowing they
are entering a 15 second ride.
how does one submit to your challenge?
can submit through the submission form at www.15secondhorror.ca
or our FilmFreeway at
You do have a
panel of judges for your challenge - so please talk about those for a bit,
and why exactly these people?
I approached Lloyd
Kaufman, Nicholas Vince, Felissa Rose [Felissa
Rose interview - click here], Tristan Risk [Tristan
Risk interview - click here], Lee Demarbre, and
Steve McGinnis because I'm genuine fan of their work. I've either grown
up watching The Toxic
Camp, Hellraiser, and
Christ Vampire Hunter on VHS and am rooting for today's pioneers of the new
wave of horror. Our film challenge is a love letter to the genre and what
better way to celebrate than to have these figure. Know that no one asked
for compensation either. They truly support indie filmmaking. That was the
incentive for them and we should all be warmed by that.
You also accept audience
votes though - so how does one vote?
One can vote
when I premiere the playlist across 100+ Facebook groups. There are many
online festivals that, when an audience award is determined, fall into
becoming popularity contests where filmmakers share their entry to their
friends hoping everyone goes onto that website and clicks like so maybe
they could win. I wanted to remove that bias and instead find real-life
horror fans in their natural habitat. Whoever comes across my posts on
Halloween will be able to chime which entry was their favourite and an
unanimously acclaimed entry will emerge after I tally up everyone's votes.
So when and where
will the winners of your challenge be announced?
winners will be announced on our official Facebook page, website, and
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Is the 15
Second Horror Film Challenge a once-in-a-lifetime event, or are you
planning to make it an annual thing? And other future projects of yours
you'd like to talk about?
The 15 Second Horror Film
Challenge will be an annual event. My two future projects will be
feature-length horror films. Although I won't disclose any details at
their current stages, I'm committed to seeing them through and am
practicing great patience on my part to not just go out and shoot them
tonight! It's hard enough not to talk about them, because I'm very
passionate about these projects. They are two films that I wish had
existed in the 80s horror era and if done properly, will be a lot of fun
Your/your film challenge's
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you're
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
closing thoughts is that I'm just very excited to explore these new
creative horizons as a community.
for the interview!