Film tracks dark side of social media


Dr Abhishek Shukla’s new feature-length film is titled Social Media Murder Society

Dr Abhishek Shukla’s new feature-length film is titled Social Media Murder Society

With social media increasingly the subject of news exposés, a Darwin-based filmmaker’s timing couldn’t be better.

Dr Abhishek Shukla’s new feature-length film, titled Social Media Murder Society, explores the potential dangers social media users face when they develop virtual relationships with complete strangers.

A Charles Darwin University lecturer in Management and Marketing by day, Dr Shukla is a filmmaker every other waking hour.

He cultivated his craft in an intensive course at the New York Film Academy in 2014 and has spent the years since writing, producing and directing the film, which will be previewed before a Darwin audience on 11 May.

The film is set in Mumbai, India, and stars popular Australian actors Warwick Young (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Superman Returns, Home and Away) and Jason Wilder (Drive Hard), and celebrated Bollywood female actor Sana Saeed (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Student of the Year).

“This is certainly a story for everybody who uses social media,” Dr Shukla said.

“So often what we are doing when we use social media is exposing ourselves to absolute strangers. We only know them by who they say they are, but they can have extraordinary influence in our lives.

“My film explores the dark side of this influence. There are real dangers in sharing too much information online with strangers.”

The film was made on a relatively modest budget of $450,000, largely because Dr Shukla has applied his academic skills in developing a new innovative business model that allows a film to be made for 15 per cent of the average cost of an Australian feature film.

“I know there are stories, even here in Darwin, that are not being told because of cost. The business model I have developed has the potential to allow many more filmmakers to tell their stories,” he said.

Social Media Murder Society will screen at the Birch Carroll and Coyle Casuarina Cinema on 11 and 12 May, and at the Deckchair Cinema on 13 May. Pre-sale tickets are available at Parap Village Market (Saturday), Casuarina Shopping Centre (Saturday) and Mindil Beach Sunset Market (Sunday).

On the opening night, the lead Jason Wilder and Dr Shukla will hold a Q & A session with the audience after the screening.

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