Local 48-hour horror film challenge welcomes amateurs and pros


As leaves fade to yellow and shops stock their shelves with candy corn for Halloween, three local horror enthusiasts prepare for the spooky season in a different way.

Rebecca Sali, Jesse Burton and Michael Lines created Terror Challenge, a 48-hour horror film competition that begins Oct 26. The competition welcomes both amateur and professional filmmakers with passion towards any genre of horror.

 “The type of horror that scares me is going to be different from the kind that scares you,” said Lines, an aspiring director and recent graduate from Animation Mentor, a 2D and 3D online program based in California.

What is the challenge?

“Some great horror films have been shot on a phone and edited with Windows MovieTerrorChallengeOrganizers Jesse Burton, Michael Lines and Rebecca Sali have booked space at the Cardel Theatre to showcase the finalists form their 48-hour film challenge.

Photo by Vern McGill Maker,” Lines said. “There doesn’t have to be great effects. The entire film could be shot in one room, but if it has great dialogue, it could be amazing.” Lines encourages any interested individuals to register for the challenge and that any skill level is welcome.

The three organizers said they have been working hard to promote Terror Challenge with help from their main sponsor, radio station X92.9 FM. Registration for Terror Challenge closes on Oct. 25 and any persons interested may register on their website.

Teams are made up of six members but for those without a group, the organizers said they are more than willing to help out.

“If someone wants to register for the challenge, but they don’t have a group, they can contact us and we can set them up with a group,” said Burton, a local software entrepreneur. “We ask what kind of equipment they have and their film experience and go from there.

“So far we have four teams signed up, but we are hoping to end up with at least 25.”

Looking ahead

Local filmmaker Andrew Nagy, said he is keen to start working with his crew when the challenge kicks off in late October.

“This is my first 48-hour challenge,” Nagy said. “I’ve done student films before but nothing like this film challenge. Usually it takes months and months to write a script and now we have 48 hours to write, film and edit.

“This challenge is great because it will show me and my crew what we can do in two days.”

EnvelopeEach team will receive a mystery envelope of three elements they must incorporate into their short film. The elements may be a genre of horror, a prop or a person.

Photo by Vern McGillCo-organizer Sali, a freelance writer and communications student, has been focusing on Terror Challenge alongside her two partners since they came up with the plan mid-August.

“The whole purpose of this 48-hour film challenge is for everyone to learn and have fun doing it,” Sali said. “I love horror and how creative you can be with it.”

Creativity becomes crucial when the teams meet at the Plaza Theatre in Kensington for the start of the competition and receive their challenge envelopes.

“There will be three random elements in the envelope you receive that you must include in the film,” Sali said. “There will be a prop, a person, and a genre.” The three organizers were very tight-lipped when it came to discussing these elements, but mentioned the genres may range from horror-comedy to psychological thrillers.

“Since we have these three random things they have to include, it makes it hard for a team to pre-plan or pre-film their movie,” Burton said.

There will be a private showcase and awards ceremony for the entrants on Oct. 30 and a public screening on Halloween night that will showcase the top scoring short films.

“We will be judging the films on how well they incorporate the three secret elements,” Sali said. “And how well their film fits the horror genre.”

Prizes will be awarded for judge favourite, audience favourite and best costume at the showcase.

Public screening and showcase of the short films will take place Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. at the Cardel Theatre with a $10 admission fee.


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