Exclusive: In Conversation with Sixth Sense Horror Fest Founders.

12 . May . 2017
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Sixth Sense Horror Film Fest is to be held in Mumbai from the 18th to 20th of May, this year. The Digital Hash caught up with the organisers of the show for a candid chat. The Film Fest is the brainchild of Sixth Sense, a digital company that has earlier provided services to HPCL, Godrej,  Aquaguard and others. The people behind this endeavor are:

Manoj Sinha (Founder)

Shaunak Sirrole (Festival Director)

Ritu Waghela (Vice President)

Rohish Hegde (Project Manager)

The Sixth Sense Horror Film Fest is one of its kind and will see everyone who loves horror view or submit their short films to the festival. There are several panel of judges, including Jeffrey Reddick, the mind behind the super hit ‘Final Destination’ film franchise.  There are several Indians in the panel too, like Amit Parmar, who has worked on films like Sarkar, Company, Darna Zaroori Hai and Krrish.

Other industry insider who will be judging the films are Akshay Shere, Shakil Khan, Shritej Patvardhan and others.

We asked them what was the thought behind the fest.

Says Mr. Sinha, “Our motive is to give a platform to the new filmmakers, who are yet to get a foothold in the industry.  If there is a filmmaker who has made a good product, which can be made into a feature film or a television series, they should get someone to promote it.”

Ms.Waghela said, “The horror film festival was Shaunak’s concept. When he told us about the concept, we were very excited. We came together as a team and developed this concept.”

Mr. Hegde chimed in, “The basic concept of the festival is to promote Indian filmmakers, who do not have a very big budget. This is an endeavour to create a platform for them, so that they can show their talent to the world.”

We asked about the kind of response that they had got. Ms.Waghela said,

The response has been amazing.  We got a good response from international as well as Indian filmmakers.”

Mr. Hegde said, “It was a positive response.  We didn’t expect that kind of response to come. It was the positive response that gave us a boost to do get this thing done. We consulted the industry insiders, and they were very excited about the entire thing.”

He continued, “There are many good actors, writers and directors who did good work but didn’t get a good chance to work later. We have a platform to display the work of such talents to the people.”

We also wondered – quite vocally – why they decided on the horror genre. After all, horror is quite a risky genre. To this, Mr. Sinha had to say

We decided to go with horror because it is a huge untapped market. We will definitely have the first movers advantage in this market.”

Ms.Waghela said, “We chose short films because the number of new short film makers who are making films, they do not have the resources or the budget to make a full length film. When it comes to horror, it can be shot in one room with the minimal amount of space.  There are no budget constraints over there. The main idea was to give them a platform, so they can use their creativity to make some good horror films.”

We next asked them how they went about selecting the films. To this, Mr. Sinha answered.

We have got more than 100 films right now and we are aiming at 500 films. We have opened the gates of the competition to several services, which will definitely increase the number of submissions.”

When asked about what kind of film making school of thought would be seen in the films, Ms.Waghela said,

The films that we have got, have a mixture of all the schools of filmmaking.  We haven’t got anything that is patently Ramsay, but we have some films that have very good technical expertise on show. That is good to see.”

All the film makers are young. They are very creative and know how to use the latest technology.”

Many film makers are moving to short films as the preferred medium. We asked Mr. Sinha about it. He said.

Short films are the next big thing to happen. This is the next generation business. Everything will be online from now on.”

Our next, obvious question was whether digital will unseat traditional broadcast, like theaters. To this, he replied

See, there was a time when single screens shut down and then there were multiplexes. The Government gave a subsidy to multiplexes, so people started making a lot of multiplexes.”

Then there was a time when films didn’t matter. People just went into a cinema to spend 2 hours.  But even then, there are more than 6000 channels in India. But even then, the big films are released in theaters and work. There is a time for everything.”

There’s that time that someone is bored at home watching TV and therefore goes to the theater. Then there are children, they go to the cinema hall to watch a film. The next generation will be mobile. Everything will be on mobile.”

Then, there will be the next technology that will revolutionalise entertainment. We don’t know what that is right now. 

There will be change, old things will change into something new, but nothing will ever close down.”

There is this market sentiment that web series and short films will take away the business of theater owners. Theater owners are known to slash the prices of their tickets. We asked whether this trend was because of the exhaustive web content that was available.

He said

It doesn’t work like that. When you book and Ola or an Uber, you will be charged 600 rupees. If you share it, you will be charged 300 rupees. Even in cinemas, once upon a time, the price was 400 rupees. There used to be four shows, starting from 9 -12. That pattern has changed now. The morning shows are not peak hours. There are lesser people who come to a theater at that time. Therefore, they have kept the rates low.  Now, the price range is 1400 rupees. Films with one hour duration work, films will two hour duration work.  There are some places that don’t hold a show if ten tickets aren’t sold.  It has all become commercial now. But you cannot say that this is the cinema owner’s fault. The owner doesn’t have a say in this.  The exhibitors are the decision takers in this as well as the distributors. This is good.  Then the person doesn’t have to spend a lot when they go to the theaters. Somebody doesn’t have 300 rupees to watch a film, so they can go to the morning shows and watch it for 1/3 of the cost. “

Well, that being said, we ventured into finding out what will actually happen on those three days. Mr. Hegde provided the details:

Jeffrey Reddick will be with us for those three days. He will be judging the films that have been submitted. The screenings will be on the 18th and 19th at the Ravindra Natya Mandir in Dadar.  The final event is on the 20th, that is at the Y B Chavan Hall, opposite Mantralaya.  In the first two days, we will be showcasing 50 best films from the 500 that we will get. The best out of these will be showcased on the final day.

And now comes the most important part for horror fans who’d like to attend the screenings. We asked Rohish about the price points for the tickets and he said,

“We are not charging the horror fans for the events. It is a free entry, but it isn’t for anyone and everyone. It is only for those who love the horror genre.”

Well, what could be better news for the fans of horror? A horror short film fest that gives them an opportunity to watch some of the best horror short films for free!

You can visit the site here to know more details.