A teenage girl sits at home by herself watching TV when she thinks of checking her Instagram. She decides to post a selfie, and so she does, with one hashtag as a caption: #homealone, only to realise that she’s anything but alone.

Greek Australians Sotiris Petridis and Dimitris Tsakaleas have created a five-minute horror film that will haunt you like a nightmare, especially if you are addicted to social media.

The 2017 short, entitled #NotAlone, was filmed in Greece and aims to awaken young people and especially teenagers who tend to overshare and expose personal information on social media platforms, coding an important message about the effect and dangers of publicising too much.

The film has already won the Best Short Film Award at the Horrorant Film Festival in Greece gaining thousands of views on YouTube within a few days.
Even though it can be listed as ‘silent’, having no dialogue, the film does make a point.

“Language can be a barrier regarding filmmaking,” director Petridis said.

“I believe that filmmaking is mostly giving meaning to a story through images. The lack of dialogue was a conscious choice in order to approach a larger audience and I think the conventions of the horror genre helped us.”

#NotAlone will also be screening at the ‘Fantastic Film Festival’ in Greece, the ‘Festival Internacional de Cortometrajes Cine a la Calle’ in Colombia and at ‘XpoNorth’ in the UK.

Overall it has been accepted into eight festivals in five countries.

“From the first day, our intent was to let #NotAlone free on the internet,” Petridis said. “We wanted to speak about social media, so it was necessary to let the people on social media see it.
“Even though the viewer does not see it very clearly, the phone’s wallpaper is Drew Barrymore screaming from the first sequence of Scream,” he explained.

“It is very common, especially for young people, to upload lots of private information and pictures that can potentially harm them,” Petridis added, explaining that personal material such as photos that give information on location, daily activities uploaded regularly on Instagram stories and so on could be collected and saved by potential stalkers or even serial killers.

“We have seen, especially over the last few years, incidents of revenge porn, Facebook data mining or catfishing increase.”

What’s next for Petridis and Tsakaleas? Two more short films and their first feature are set to be released this year. Emoticon Man, 9023 and Scopophilia respectively.

To watch the film on YouTube go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZA17zDmRcTQ