“Yellow”: a new Giallo short film

Yellow is a short film by Berlin-based filmmaker Ryan Haysom. It is inspired by the Giallo Horror film genre and it uses Berlin as its backdrop. Ryan is trying to get basic funding through a Crowdfunding campaign to shoot the rest of the film (the first 3 minutes have already been shot) and has released a series of teasers to attract attention to his project. We asked him a couple of questions to understand what his film is all about and help him get the word out.


BFC: What is Yellow?

Yellow is a 15 minute + short film that takes place in Berlin. The film is about a man obsessesing about tracking down a vicious serial killer who is slaying women across the city. And Yellow is also a Giallo revival film!

BFC: What is Giallo and what are the most representative films and filmmakers?

The Giallo is a horror genre that became popular in 1960’s Italy, and exploded in the 1970’s under the success of the Italian director Dario Argento, who is probably the most famous of all the Giallo directors, he is nick named the Italian Hitchcock! A Giallo is a stylish crime thriller oozing with sex, ultra violence, and a pinch of catholic guilt. And after Argento probably the other most famous name in Italian horror is Lucio Fulci, who made a beautiful Giallo called Don”t Torture a Duckling, which everyone should track down and watch! He also directed in my eyes the definitive Zombie film, Zombie Flesh Eaters!

Though Yellow is a Giallo, they are not the only films that have influenced it. It’s very important for me that we are not making a ‘spoof’ Troma styled film covered in fake film scratches and hammy acting. We are taking all the things that made the genre great, black gloved killers, cut throat razors, super stylized camera work and updating it to become something that is very personal to us as filmmakers. When I was writing the script I was always saying that I want to make a Giallo that looks like it was directed by Michael Mann in his 80’s Manhunter mode. A slick neon lit serial killer thriller.

BFC: Why did you choose Berlin as your backdrop?

I moved to Berlin from London and one of the reasons I came was because I love the architecture of the city. There is something about it that reminds me of the 1980’s, a city half stuck in the past and the present. It’s very special to me in that way.

BFC: How do you plan to fund the film?

The film is already partly self financed and we are currently trying to raise the remaining budget through the crowd funding site Sponsume. So if you love horror, and want to see a new Giallo film made, then this is your chance to get your black leather gloves on and get involved.

BFC: Why did you choose Sponsume.com for your crowdfunding platform?

Well the success of a crowdfunding campaign relies on a number of factors. You really need to knuckle down and do a lot of research, its not easy! You have to explore where your film’s audience lives online. As part of our pre-launch prep, our transmedia producer researched into where Giallo’s niche audience live, and as a strongly cult-influenced, UK-based platform, the team felt it was the best choice.

BFC: You have a Transmedia Producer, can you explain your Transmedia campaign?

The transmedia campaign is currently in trial & error mode as we attempt to launch an interactive campaign for a Giallo film – something that has never been done before, and on an almost non-existent budget! 

Digital production has become a vital arm of the filmmaking industry, taking into consideration the rise of complex campaigns (with the potential of virality) for films going as far back as The Blair Witch Project, to the multimillion dollar Dark Knight project. 

Filmmaking has become distinctly more aware of the power of social media as a platform to promote projects. Transmedia is now a really important tool, and the involvement of your audience is key in potentially growing a loyal fanbase. ‘Yellow’ has a few tricks up it’s sleeve, but without giving too much away, the team will stay true to the devoted genre lovers, and will engage them in true Giallo style through this revival project.

BFC: How have you raised attention to your project and crowdfunding campaign?

It is important to build momentum pre-crowdfunding launch by creating & maintaining an air of intrigue, involvement and most importantly gratitude. It is essential to the success of the campaign that select team members continue to a) engage and promote the campaign via select targetting, b) produce teaser-trailers to pique interest and unique rewards and c) utilise social media only when and where relevant, not forsaking more ‘traditional’ means, such as email. 

BFC: How do you plan to release the short film?

Yellow is being made first and foremost to be seen on the big screen! In my eyes that’s how everything should be watched, well at least once! So it is going to be sent to all of the main fantasy film festivals around the world. This is one of the reasons we need help raise the remaining budget as this is not free, and It end sup being quite expensive! But also keeping with how we are utilsing social media to promote the film and interact with our followers, everyone who backs yellow to the correct amount will have access to viewing the film online as well as a dvd of the film. But for a few special people we are creaing a number of very limited editon yellow coloured VHS, which will come in authentic large ex rental VHS boxes, with a cover created by a real legend of 80’s horror vhs illustration! This is something I am really excited about, I have a huge love of VHS as I grew up with it, and its where I watched all of my first horror films! It’s a little nod to the past, and the one side if me that is not digital obsessed. 

BFC: Tell us about the technicalities of the shoot. How big is your crew, what are you shooting on, how are you editing it, how are you addressing special effects, etc.? 

I work very closely with my DOP Jon Britt, and together we are the core of the film, Jon has come from a very classical film background working with 35mm film cameras, and learning the tricks of the trade as a camera assistant, most recently on the U.K film My Brother The Devil which won the best cinematography award at this years Sundance film festival

 I on the other hand have come from a very digital film background. I have always been drawn to the possibilities of digital cinema both financially and creatively, and now we are really in a point in time where you can create incredible things on low budgets! 

Yellow is being shot on a Canon 5D Mk2 with prime lenses, and in the right hands its a very powerful camera for low-budget productions. Jon has totally harnessed the tiny 5D camera on Yellow to deliver 35mm results, people have been thinking we shot on the RED camera which is a huge compliment! 

We also have a few complicated special effects in the film, and in the same way Jon and myself work, we are utilizing a mix of classic and new styles. Its a mix of CG fx and practical gore fx. A lot of films try and do every thing CG as an after thought but you really need to plan every thing out in advance! And personally I will always love practical effects over CG effects, but used well together they can deliver incredible results and that is how we are working on Yellow. 

BFC: What are your future projects? 

The future goal is to create a Giallo feature film, I would love to stretch out what we are doing with Yellow into 90 minutes, and with Giallo there is definitely a big revival coming! You can see it slowly coming back and I think horror fans need a breth of Italian inspired fresh air. Especially after the stale explosion of torture porn styled horror which really needs to be put to rest by lethal injection.

BFC: An additional information or comments you would like to share ?

I’d just like to give a huge thanks to everyone who has backed Yellow so far. This film would really never be made with out your support, we are trying to make a film from our hearts. We love horror, but most of all we love cinema and we are on a mission to deliver a film that everyone that is involved in will be proud of! So please come and get involved and help the Giallo revival! 



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About xagudo

Xavier Agudo is a Berlin-based Venezuelan filmmaker.