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What Happened to Samuel? Media Day Puts Horror Films, GDPR and Ice Cream Habits in Focus

Guest Filmmaker Samantha Tan attends Media Day. Photo by Dan Barends.Kicking off a weeklong Anniversary celebration, I hosted a meetup in May with Philly media and guest filmmakers, to preview the 2018 Short Film Slam. Following a chat about the pros, cons and hiccups of blogging platforms including Blogger, Squarespace, WordPress and Ghost, attendees were treated to a mix of trailers and full length shorts from Rounds I through III.

While media makers enjoyed the unique perspectives showcased in all of the films, shorts leaning toward the horror genre sparked the most discussion. In the suspense thriller, Samuel’s Got a Sweet Tooth directed by Angel Rosa, a strict disciplinarian delivers a sinister tale of her son's late-night penchant for ice cream. Media Day attendees disagreed with the momma character's rigid house rules for little Samuel, with whom they collectively empathize while watching this film. "I don't think I've ever eaten ice cream BEFORE 7pm," says Sarah, a local marketing and entrepreneurship maven.

See 'Samuel's Got A Sweet Tooth' directed by Angel Rosa at the 2018 Short Film Slam, Presented by The Madlab Post.Jacob, a local University student, also jokingly suggested that product labels be placed on ice cream containers to warn Samuel of potential side effects such as "this product can cause upset stomach and death."

 The chills continued with My Bedroom, an experimental horror film directed by Temple University student Samantha Tan who was also in attendance during Media Day. An Official Selection of the 2018 Short Film Slam, presented by The Madlab Post, My Bedroom is about a young girl named Emily who wakes up in the middle of the night because of the noises in her bedroom.

Sound design became a central focus after the screening, as Tan discussed her love for playing with sounds; choosing to utilize her strengths in post-production after deciding to shoot the movie without showing the main characters' faces. Tan’s use of voiceovers, sound effects and strategically placed human figures were some of the characteristics I like most about her film because it took a different approach to the horror genre; there is no one identifiable villain, running around stabbing, slicing and dicing people up.

See 'My Bedroom,' an experimental horror film directed by Samantha Tan in the 2018 Short Film Slam, presented by The Madlab Post.A viewer also commended Tan's approach and pointed out how horror films containing a lot of gore lessen the scare factor; whereas My Bedroom resonates with that terrifying feeling toward the unknown.

In addition to being nominated for a WILD CARD Award, Tan's film later prompted a discussion about dreams as Media Day attendees shared their own experiences with the frightening feeling of not being able to escape or wake up from a nightmare.

Speaking of nightmares, our topic of the day turned to the EU’s anxiety-inducing General Data Protection Regulations (otherwise known as GDPR) and its enforcement that went into effect last month. GDPR has become a major headache for bloggers, e-commerce businesses and even filmmakers who are still figuring out how to adhere to its tedious, confusing and time-consuming compliance demands -- so as to prevent having to deal with hefty fines up to 4% of a company’s annual global revenue OR €20 million (whichever is higher).

Discussing films, GDPR, dreams and nightmares at Media Day hosted by The Madlab Post. Photo by Dan Barends.I even considered just blocking the European Union altogether from my mailing lists, blogs and related online activity where data collection and management is involved. That was until Sarah reminded me of my Switzerland ties. 

Olivier van der Hoeven and I need to have a talk because this relationship is not exactly working for me right now. Although the topic of GDPR was an unexpected turn of events, this part of the Media Day discussion was quite enlightening and productive as attendees learned about a lady who developed resources that can get people up to speed on becoming GDPR compliant.

As it turns out, blocking the European Union may seem like a viable solution in theory but not the best in practice. Especially since that’s where a lot of the best films in the world come from such as Short Film Slam Finalist Just Go!, which was a favorite among Media Day attendees including photographer Dan Barends. In this action film, directed by Pavel Gummenikov, a young man who lost both his legs in a childhood accident comes to the rescue of the girl he loves when she is victimized by villains.

Attendees also appreciated the video presentation given by writer-producer G. Robert Daily, who introduced his comedy film Caregiver Wanted. Made in California, Daily's film is about an elderly man who had a stroke and is looking for a caregiver, yet, verbally attacks the candidates he interviews for the job.

See Julien Jennequin's French horror film Le Grand Show (The Big Show) at the 2018 Short Film Slam, presented by The Madlab Post.French filmmaker Julien Jennequin's Le Grand Show (The Big Show), a fantasy horror film about a family's tug of war over their TV, took an unexpected turn for Media Day viewers including one who commented on how the film became really political.

Attendees also noted how much they liked the acting performances in Cindy’s Birthday Party, a horror film directed by August Aguilar. Made in Philadelphia, Cindy's Birthday Party is about a child named Jonas who is the first to arrive to a birthday party and begins to worry when he notices there are no other children, decorations, and the party is in the basement.

Beyond witnessing how audiences responded to the dozen films on view, highlights of the day were learning more about what went into making My Bedroom directed by Samantha Tan, meeting new people and providing local media makers with networking opportunities, and a good time.

A fireside chat about sound design and voice acting with 'My Bedroom' director Samantha Tan. Photo by Dan Barends.

There are many great short films that people near and far have been missing out on…until now.

Want to watch these (and more) award nominees during the Short Film Slam, presented by The Madlab Post? CLICK HERE to be notified when the next screening is playing near you!


What is one of the scariest dreams YOU’VE ever had?

What concerns do YOU have about GDPR and how it can affect YOUR blogging, filmmaking or business activities?

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