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Indian Filmmaker Shaan Memon terrifies audiences with horror 'The Unreal'

Shaan Memon sees the responsibility of filmmaking as going beyond simply entertaining. He transports audiences to another place or time and allows them to feel something that may have been keeping down, even for a moment. He sees himself as more than a director, or an editor, or a writer. He is a storyteller. He exchanges experiences with his viewers, educating them on situations they may be unaware of.

“I love to make films that entertain people, but I also want them to have a hint of current societal and cultural values. I want people to learn from my films and it has to have a twist at the end that people have not thought about. I like to surprise my audience and break their conventional thinking patterns with a hammer and show them a totally new way to look at a situation or solve a problem. Either they simply love it, or they reject it then and there, but I have to take this risk, because my films resonate my way of thinking,” said Shaan.

With his work on the impactful script Bullied and the inspiring film Fitting In, Shaan’s skills as a writer have impressed audiences and critics around the world. As a director and editor, in addition to his own films, he has worked on commercials, such as the ones he made for Dickens Fair last year, and the documentary Purpose Driven Study for Dharoi Canal Command Area. He has quickly become a sought-after writer, director, and editor, but is just happy to do what he loves every day.

Shaan’s first true taste of international success came with his work on the film The Unreal. The film shows three friends in a simple conversation and turns into a horror. Shaan had always wanted to explore this genre, and when writing The Unreal he had the unique opportunity to not just experiment, but to create exactly what he envisioned through each step of the process.

“Horror is one of my favorite genres and if a horror film is not made properly then it can easily become an unintentional comedy. The times have changed, and day-by-day audiences are becoming smarter and more aware of their surroundings. A scary face or a blood-sucking evil won't do much to frighten the audience. They need something very thoughtful and very well researched that could justify the happenings in the film. To make a horror movie these days is a tough job. You must have a lot of knowledge about science, philosophy, history, fantasy and so on to intrigue the audience. I'm happy that successfully I could do that,” said Shaan.

Shaan had the idea for this film long before it came to fruition, but every time he tried to make it, he never was satisfied with the results. As a Director, he found it very difficult to make a long conversation scene interesting enough to keep audiences engaged and intrigued. Shaan is a perfectionist and will not release a movie unless it is the best it can possibly be. Even if he can’t immediately come up with a solution for a problem, inevitably, he will.

“A director is successful when he or she is able to deliver a film exactly as he/she has envisioned. And that is what I achieved in this project. I was able to intrigue the audience in this long conversation with a well-thought-out film, with captivating language and dynamic visuals. All of my prior experience failing to deliver what I wanted was a gift, as it gave me this film and made it a success,” said Shaan.

Since its premiere at the Canada’s World International Film Festival early last year, where the film was an Official Selection and Nominated for Best American Film and Best Actor (Chadrick Scott), The Unreal has gone on to see success at many film festivals around the world. It was a Semi-Finalist for Best Horror Short Film at the AM Egypt International Film Festival and was an Official Selection at the Fake Flesh Film Festival where it was also nominated for Best Horror Short Film. The film is expected to continue to make its way to festivals and award shows this year.

“It feels great that the film has been doing so well. After all it took to make it, The Unreal will always have a special place in my heart. All my hard work paid off. Every filmmaker’s dream is that his/her film reaches the audiences’ hearts and they show it the love that you think it deserves. I'm very thankful to the judges and people who believed in me and gave it this much respect. And it not only got nomination as Best Short Film, but it also got nomination as Best Acting! In the competition, there were feature-length films from all around the world. I feel so proud that such a small film could make such huge impact,” said Shaan.

Such success could never have been possible without Shaan. He wrote the script, created the storyboards, and designed the look of the film in such a way that it tells the exact story he always envisioned. The Writer, Editor, and Director describes Filmmaking as a constant trial and error process. He aims to always learn something new from every project and aims to better himself with each new film he creates. Jack Perez, who worked alongside Shaan on The Unreal, finds this dedication inspiring.

“I found Shaan to be passionate, professional, and always eager to improve his game. He possesses an original and vibrant cinematic voice and is a warm and genuinely-kind human being to boot,” said Perez.

Be sure to check out The Unreal and see Shaan’s keen talent for the horror genre.

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