Director Ali Akbar Discusses His Horror Film ‘Godforsaken’

April 7, 2022

Written by Ella Rebecca Horton

Ella Rebecca has been in love with the horror genre since an early age. The Bride of Frankenstein began her love of the classics and she's been writing and collecting since.

Born in Afghanistan, Ali Akbar made his way to Canada where he studied Film Production at Toronto Film School. He has successfully written and directed many short films. In 2016 Ali directed his first feature film Faceless which was shot in Kabul Afghanistan followed by Godforsaken which has just been released on VOD by Terror Films.

 

In the film, an Indie doc crew travels to a small town to document a bizarre and seemingly unnatural case, ending in extreme tragedy.

 

 

When did you come up with the idea for Godforsaken?

I always had an interest in religion and how it affects individuals. As a child in Uzbekistan

n I was told a story about someone who came back to life at their own funeral – they acted strangely and then died again. I always wanted to tell a story about that and in 2018 I combined both and came up with the idea for Godforsaken.

 

Did the idea change much as development on the film kicked in?

 

The idea as a whole didn’t change much during development or production, however, we did later realize that the ending needed more thrill – although we did love the original ending, we decided to completely reshoot the end of the movie.

 

 

And how different is that shooting script from the original draft?

 

This is our first time making a found footage movie. A few days in, we noticed each scheduled day was flying by a lot faster than we had planned which gave us the freedom to add in more scary moments throughout the movie. For example, the original script does not include the movie theatre whatsoever.

 

Where do you think your strengths lie as a writer?
Let’s just say my strengths are not character names. I’m not sure what my strengths are, I just enjoy writing stories.

 

Anything you had to compromise on along the way or did you get most of what you wanted?
We got everything we wanted and more.

 

One of the most striking elements of the film is the film’s look – what did you shoot on?
Sony PXW Z-100. I have filmed with this camera before doing a nature documentary and thought it would be perfect for what I had in mind.

 

And sound seems definitely important to you. Tell us why sound can make or break a film like this.
Sound is a whole other sense that we have. You can use sound to establish a creepy atmosphere which is really important in a horror movie. I also chose to not use a background score to make the movie feel more realistic. There is nothing worse than bad sound, it can completely take you out of the movie.

 

I can’t think of another film quite like it, and in the best possible way, are there any films you used as comparisons to pitch to investors or cast?

 

Dabbe (a Turkish-found footage film) and REC are my two main inspirations for this movie.

 

 

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