Behind the Scenes: Nightmare Rotation, a Short Film by IE’s Filmmaking Club


Take a peek into what it was like for IE’s Filmmaking Club to shoot a short film.



The idea for this horror-comedy came from a haunting nightmare club member Jon Durand had early into the semester. Together with club co-president Vrushab Shekhar, both cinema enthusiasts crafted the screenplay for what would become “Nightmare Rotation”. 

With the goal of making a 20-minute film, the writers knew they needed a full team to make the nightmare come to fruition. Intending to involve as many club members as possible, the board decided to advertise the production as a 48-hour challenge. “Ambitious? Very.”, said co-director Vrushab Shekhar. “But we knew it would incentivize more people to help us shoot”.

After several days of crew-building, planning, and casting, Nightmare Rotation was set to begin production on the night of November 24th.  

48-Hour Race

Day One:

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Vrushab Shekhar (director) and Sam (emotional support sloth)
Image courtesy of Filmmaking Club

With actors arriving on set around 7 PM and the crew prepping from before, shooting began promptly. To match the creepy tone of the script, the film was almost entirely shot around the dark areas of the Jewish Cemetery and Zamarramala in Segovia. 

The start of the production was well-paced and the shot list was being satisfyingly ticked. As shooting progressed, however, challenges began to brew. Unfortunately, only 1 in 10 shots was a one-take wonder. Adding on that the directors are known perfectionists, the cold midnight winds made each shot take longer to get right. 

To make things better (not really), changing locations meant carrying all of the equipment and setting it back up. Thankfully, cast member Santiago Giorgini had lent his car not only for storyline sake but also to help with transportation. Despite the vehicle being of great aid, however,  moving the equipment still took a lot of physical and mental resilience from both the crew and actors. Communication students know carrying the packs of lights is no joke. 

With the dawn hours slowly inching closer, the cold proved to be the crews’ biggest test of perseverance. Jackets, gloves, beanies, and hand warmers, courtesy of producer Tanaaz Sajith, were essential to keep up with the work. 

At last, in the darkness of 6 AM, the first day of shooting had come to an end. Everyone was drained but they all knew this meant being one step closer to finishing the project. The Nightmare Rotation team showed great spirit and motivation despite the circumstances. After experiencing such a night, crew members agreed that having the emotional support of  Sam the Sloth on set was of great help.

Day Two:

A few hours after finishing the last scene of the night, it was time to get back to work on day 2. On November 25th at 4 PM, a small section of the crew and cast took to the hilly fields of Zamarramala to get the final shot of the film during sunset. Given that this article contains no spoilers, I won’t tell you what the scene looks like. Just know that the trip was fully worth it for the breathtaking shot.

The crew met once more at a second location with the goal of finishing the film. However, take after take, the scenes proved to be more difficult than anticipated. Furthermore, the cold this time around was somehow worse. With bodies trembling and equipment freezing, the team was running out of time to finish filming.

At the 3 AM mark, directors had to call an impromptu stop to production. “The safety and well-being of our crew was our top priority as directors.”, said Shekhar. “After taking a step back, we realized that it was time for everyone to go home”.

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Second Day of Shooting
Image courtesy of Filmmaking Club

Hiatus and Resuming Filming

After the much-needed break from shooting, finals became a priority and Nightmare Rotation was put on temporary hiatus while the crew decided how to move forward. Adversities didn’t stay behind in 2023, though. With a cast member off in exchange in Singapore, changes in crew, and complicated schedules, finishing the film seemed like an actual nightmare. Nevertheless, the aching desire to finish the project drove the Nightmare Rotation team to resume filming in February 2024. This final stretch would be a test of their creativity and ingenuity. 

Post-production and Editing (Ongoing)

As of now, shooting for Nightmare Rotation has wrapped up. Communications students alongside Shekhar and art director Sofia Diaz are currently editing the film. The post-production process, the team reports, has been a little slow but the project is taking a nice shape given the circumstances.

What Comes Next

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Nightmare Rotation (2024)
Image courtesy of Filmmaking Club

After all of the hard work put in by the crew and cast members, the nightmare is on its path to transform into a dream come true. The team has plans to organize a grand event for the screening of the film in May before finals. 

All members of the club who participated in the film are more than eager to see the final product and share their creations with all the film enthusiasts in the IE community.

While a date is still not set for the screening, IE’s Filmmaking Club encourages everyone to follow their Instagram (@ieufilmmaking) for further updates and exciting announcements about their events and the future of Nightmare Rotation.

Mia Leonardo
Mia Leonardo
Driven and curious individual with a passion for art, writing, and creating.

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