CRAM: Writer/Director Abie Sidell Details His New Nightmare Flick's 45 Minute Runtime And Indie Film Freedom

CRAM: Writer/Director Abie Sidell Details His New Nightmare Flick's 45 Minute Runtime And Indie Film Freedom

Indie movies have a lot more freedom than big-budget projects, and a new horror movie Cram proves that with a 45-minute runtime. A rare situation, we sat down with the creator to learn more about why it is.

By LiteraryJoe - Feb 23, 2023 08:02 AM EST
Filed Under: Movies

"Study like your life depends on it" touts the poster for the new indie horror flick Cram, due to the nature of the story. It features a college student is trying to cram his paper last minute in a library that holds more secrets than he knew or could comprehend, placing himself in a horrifying situation.

The film itself has a rare 45-minute runtime, and while that isn't the focus of the film and doesn't affect it negatively, we definitely wanted to know how it came about, along with a few other tidbits such as the title and how indie films contrast from big budget flicks.

Taking inspiration from a bevy of movies, a few examples that are credited are Lord of the Rings, Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead, Jaws, Rosemary's Baby, Sleepaway Camp.


Having gotten to pick his brain exclusively, we uncovered a wealth of information about the film - much more than just the runtime details. You're able to watch the full video interview below, which also includes lead actors John Dimino and Brandon E. Burton. Check it out or scroll down for a few comments from Abie himself!

Abie Sidell: The movie definitely was definitely titled Cram from the beginning. As soon as I realized I wanted to make a horror movie about school, I knew I wanted this big punchy title and Cram just immediately spoke to me. And when I was contemplating the story I eventually found the ending of that story. And while I will say that much like school, Cram ends with a dumb joke on a piece of paper. As soon as I had that idea I found out that the best way to do that was to make the character's name Marc.

One of the great benefits to making indie movies is that we're not beholden to the conventions of Hollywood - this idea that a movie has to be 90 minutes or a short film has to be 10 minutes. So when I was writing this script it sort of emerged that the appropriate length of the story was going to be 45 minutes. And because nobody was telling us we couldn't do it, we decided to. We knew that it would lead to challenges down the road when it came to festival runs and distribution. But the most amazing thing is that's a question that we've only ever been asked by people in the industry and audiences never even mentioned it. And in fact, when we show the movie to audiences, they tend to like it. We're at an interesting turning point in the state of independent cinema. Audiences are so flooded with options, and neither of them are really expensive. So platforms like Tubi, for instance, where you can watch Cram are growing in popularity because audiences know that that's where they can go to find movies that take risks; movies that actually speak to them, that are personal and made by filmmakers with distinct voices. And I think thst feeling of discovery is so incredible because it empowers the audience to become a part of our story. Because it's so exciting to find a movie that speaks to you. So I feel really lucky that Cram is almost like a Vanguard of this new wave of indie movies that are being released to people that are hungry for them. So if you're a broke college student, then you don't have to spend 20 dollars to watch Cram; it'll be free and it'll only be 45 minutes. So while it emerged as just the best for the story, I think it's really turned out to be the perfect length for this movie. 

I remember the amount of absurd exercises I gave myself just to try to get through a paper in school were pretty numerous and some of them not appropriate for this show. But growing up, I think consistently school was always a nightmare for me. And I think Cram in general began as this attempt to get that nightmare out of my head. So while this began as an attempt to combat my personal demon, it went on as an attempt to understand why in school we all have this fear and that question of what are we all so afraid of?

What do you guys make of these comments by Abie Sidell? Share your thoughts down below and whether ot not you'll be checking out Cram next month!

We all do what we gotta do to pass – except Marc. Desperate to finish his final paper, he struggles to cram all night in the library. After dozing off, Marc awakens to discover that his paper has vanished! Looking for answers and a way out of this nightmare, Marc is drawn deeper into the mysterious and enchanting stacks. Alone in the library (or so he thinks), Marc is easily frightened and considers giving up. But the library has other plans for him....

Cram releases on March 17th through On-Demand.

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