Matt Pizzolo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Matt Pizzolo
Pizzolo during Transmedia panel at San Diego Comic Con 2011
Born Long Island, New York
Occupation director, screenwriter, playwright, comic book writer, actor, producer

Matt Pizzolo (born on Long Island, New York) is an award-winning film director, screenwriter, producer, comic book writer, playwright, and entrepreneur. His early works were created in New York City's Lower East Side, where he lived for eight years before moving to Los Angeles. Best known for his work as creator of the transmedia franchise Godkiller, organizer of the Occupy Comics project, and writer-director of the indie movie Threat, Pizzolo also directed music videos for Atari Teenage Riot[1] created DiY-Fest (the touring carnival of Do-it-Yourself mediamaking - which was eventually integrated into the Van's Warped Tour), founded Kings Mob Productions with filmmaking partner Katie Nisa, runs indie film studio HALO 8 Entertainment and the upcoming comic book publisher Black Mask Studios with partners Brett Gurewitz and Steve Niles. In addition, Pizzolo writes under a variety of pseudonyms.

Pizzolo was recently selected by Wired as World's Most Wired Comics Creator. In the profile titled "Evil Genius Plots to Blow Up the Comics Universe" [2], Pizzolo described the state of comics creation after Warner Brothers integrated DC Comics into the movie studio and Disney acquired Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm:

Pizzolo is known for mixing new technologies with film, previously unveiling a still in-development, non-linear film format called EtherFilms at San Diego Comic Con. Wired posted the slide deck from Pizzolo's presentation of the in-development format which adds transmedia and hypertext to film. [3] [3]

According to MTV Splash Page, Pizzolo will direct an illustrated film adaptation of the popular comic book series Hack/Slash.[4]

According to The Huffington Post, Pizzolo is organizing the Occupy Comics project featuring dozens of comics pros including Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Ben Templesmith, Molly Crabapple, J.M. DeMatteis, Charlie Adlard, Steve Niles, Amanda Palmer. [5]

For distribution of Occupy Comics, Pizzolo joined 30 Days of Night writer-creator Steve Niles and Epitaph Records owner/Bad Religion guitarist-songwriter Brett Gurewitz to form Black Mask Studios with the mandate of developing new ways to support creators and reach broader audiences beyond fandom. [3] [4]

Pizzolo is currently working with Anna Muckcracker Wieszczyk on the second part of the Godkiller trilogy Godkiller: Tomorrow's Ashes (following 2010's Godkiller: Walk Among Us). The new comic book series debuted in January 2012. [6]

Production Style[edit]

Pizzolo's artistic and entrepreneurial works are reflective of his DIY ethos and belief that a subversive artist can only maintain creative control of a project if he or she also controls the business aspects including production, distribution, and marketing.[7][8]

A lifelong straightedger, Pizzolo brings a unique hardcore punk approach to his projects, both in terms of content and execution. He has referred to himself as "more agitator than artist" and appears more interested in provoking his audiences than entertaining them. Threat, for example, has attracted controversy for allegedly glorifying violence and class conflict. When Threat opened at Montreal's Cinema du Parc, the Montreal Film Journal stated:[9]

"Films like La Haine, Menace II Society or Fight Club also portray people raging against the machine, but they ultimately show that violence doesn't solve anything. Whereas Matt Pizzolo's flick openly glorifies murderous revolt, literally telling the audience to go out and beat up random people, just because."[10]

When questioned by the website Suicide Girls on the subject of violent class conflict in the film, Pizzolo gave insight into his intentions:



Main article: Threat (film)

Pizzolo was 21 years old and living out of a backpack in NYC's Lower East Side when he wrote the screenplay for Threat. He wrote the radical, transgressive story of class struggle and youth violence while working at Kim's Video and Tower Video with the intention of shooting Hi8 footage of the principal characters and intercutting their dialogue and reaction shots against footage stolen from obscure films, creating a unique project built on film sampling (a common practice in the indie rock music of the time). As the project built steam, Pizzolo discarded the sampling format and instead directed it on 16mm film as a traditional independent film despite the fact that its massive scope of location and action was quite ambitious for no-budget indies of the time which generally focused on a single-location, talking-heads format.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]


Main article: DiY-Fest

Threat went on to tour the US and Europe several times. After screenings, Pizzolo and filmmaking partner Katie Nisa would teach DiY Filmmaking Workshops for aspiring guerrilla filmmakers. Over time, the filmmaking workshops became a focus of the events and Pizzolo invited local independent media-makers to teach various DiY-instructional workshops. This developed into DiY-Fest, the "touring carnival of Do-it-Yourself mediamaking" with contributions from notable independent artists including Ian MacKaye, Ani Difranco, Howard Zinn, Jello Biafra, Jim Jarmusch, Jem Cohen, Sarah Jacobson, Abel Ferrara, and many more.[21][22][23]


Pizzolo was invited to give a lecture on DiY media at 2600 Magazine's H.O.P.E.: Hackers On Planet Earth conference. He titled the lecture "Open Source Mediamaking" and articulated the need for independent media by contrasting the relatively tepid news coverage of the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle against the provocative and incendiary documentary footage shot independently by activists on the ground inside the protests. The radical band Atari Teenage Riot invited Pizzolo to create a video for their song Rage and utilize the documentary footage in the hopes of spreading it to a wider audience. Pizzolo incorporated footage from the WTO protests in Seattle, the World Bank protests in Washington DC, and the May Day protests in Berlin where members of Atari Teenage Riot were arrested (footage was provided by pickAxe Productions, Big Noise Films, Re:Generation TV, and Philipp Virus). The video played numerous festivals including the Chicago Underground Film Festival and was later included in Buddyhead's Punk Is Dead music video compilation DVD.


Main article: HALO 8 Entertainment

In 2005, Pizzolo formed HALO 8 Entertainment, a production, distribution, and marketing company devoted to counterculture films, punk rock cinema, and alt-lifestyle videos. Although the company was partly devised as a distribution infrastructure for Kings Mob's productions, HALO-8 quickly grew into a thriving indie studio with various shingles including horror movie/cult film sub-label UnitShifter Films and alt-lifestyle sub-label DiY-Fest Video. Pizzolo also created a best-selling franchise for each sub-label: Slumber Party Slaughterhouse: The DVD Game for UnitShifter and Fitness for Indie Rockers for DiY-Fest.[24]

One of the first films Pizzolo championed at HALO-8 was the controversial and embattled Your Mommy Kills Animals, a critically acclaimed documentary about the animal rights movement. Although widely praised for its unbiased approach, the film drew the ire of Washington lobbying firm Center for Consumer Freedom, who waged a costly legal campaign to block release of the film. Despite, Netflix, and numerous other retailers, film festivals, and movie theaters' decision to drop the film when faced with legal threats and intimidation, Pizzolo stood by the film and continued its distribution despite fierce, ongoing opposition.[25][26][27][28][29][30]


Main article: Godkiller (series)

Godkiller: Walk Among Us[edit]

In February 2009, Pizzolo announced his next film would be an illustrated film called Godkiller: Walk Among Us, adapted from his graphic novel that was illustrated by Anna Muckcracker. Set in the future after an economic collapse, a nuclear holy war and an alien invasion, Godkiller: Walk Among Us follows orphan Tommy as he searches for a new heart for his ill sister, Lucy.

When Fulle Circle asked about the inspiration behind the transmedia franchise Godkiller, Pizzolo stated:

The illustrated film format Pizzolo developed with producer Brian Giberson for Godkiller merges sequential art with 3D CGI, motion graphics and dramatic voice performances in the style of a radio play.[32]

Pizzolo developed the concept of an illustrated film with his producing partner Brian Giberson, mixing elements of anime, radio drama, video games, and motion comics. Utilizing the original artwork from the comic book, the illustrated film adds motion animation, visual effects, elaborate sound design, music, and voice-acting performances. Explaining the decision to develop the new filmmaking format, Pizzolo told Bloody Disgusting:

Pizzolo clarified further in an interview with Horror News:[34]

Wired asked Pizzolo to explain the differences between motion comics and illustrated films:

Pizzolo gave Bloody Disgusting additional thoughts on differences between motion comics and illustrated films:

According to Fangoria, "Lance Henriksen, Bill Moseley and Tiffany Shepis are the genre stalwarts lending their vocal talents to the project; also on board in that capacity are underground cinema queen Lydia Lunch and singers Justin Pierre (of Motion City Soundtrack) and Davey Havok (of A.F.I.)."[37]

Pizzolo and Giberson unveiled a preview clip of the Godkiller illustrated film during the "Comic Books & Indie Movies" panel at Comic-Con International's Wondercon in San Francisco on February 28, 2009.[38][39][40][41]

According to Shock Till You Drop, "Danielle Harris (known for her turns in the Halloween franchise), Katie Nisa (Threat), and Nicki Clyne (Battlestar Galactica) have joined previously announced cast members Lance Henriksen, Bill Moseley, Tiffany Shepis, Justin Pierre (singer of Motion City Soundtrack), Lydia Lunch (Richard Kern's 'Hardcore Collection'), and Davey Havok (A.F.I.) in the cast of the 'illustrated film' adaptation Godkiller, written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Matt Pizzolo (Threat) based on the comic book he created with illustrator Anna Muckcracker."[42]

Pizzolo, Giberson and actresses Danielle Harris and Tiffany Shepis presented two exclusive preview clips of the Godkiller illustrated film at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors in Los Angeles on April 18, 2009.[43][44][45][46][47][48][48][49][50][51][52][53]

Immediately following the preview clip debut at Weekend of Horrors, Fangoria posted the first exclusive online clip of Godkiller on its website.[54][55][56][57][58] The official trailer followed soon after.[59]

The illustrated film was initially slated for a unique release model of limited-edition, bi-monthly episodic DVDs starting September 29, 2009, followed by a theatrical run of the full feature in January 2010 and a DVD/Blu-ray release of the full feature in March 2010.[60]

Due to overwhelming retail demand far beyond studio expectations, the first episodic DVD's street date was delayed a week until October 6, 2009 so enough DVDs could be manufactured to supply stores including Best Buy, Hot Topic, Borders Books, F.Y.E., Suncoast, Wherehouse Music, Newbury Comics, Amoeba Music, Rasputin Records, Dimple Records, Waterloo Records, J&R Electronics, Silver Platters, Zia Records, and many more. Due to retail holiday conflicts, this delay rescheduled the entire release to: Episode 1 Oct 6 2009, Episode 2 Jan 26 2010, Episode 3 Mar 30 2010 (with day & date theatrical release of full feature), Complete film on VOD May 25, 2010.[61]

Once released, the first episodic DVD quickly established itself as its distributor's all-time fastest selling release.[62]

Following the release of Godkiller, Pizzolo announced a slate of new illustrated film productions. During Halo-8's panel at WonderCon 2010, Pizzolo unveiled a first look at his giallo animation The Long Knives, which had recently begun production.[63] Two weeks later during Halo-8's panel at C2E2, Pizzolo confirmed his collaboration with Tim Seeley on Loaded Bible[64] and then unveiled two new projects in development: Medusa: Year One[65] and Ben Templesmith's Black Sky.[66] A teaser-trailer for Black Sky was released in December 2010.[67]

Godkiller: Silent War[edit]

In August 2009, it was announced the Godkiller: Walk Among Us DVDs would include serialized audiobooks of the prequel urban fantasy/speculative fiction novel Godkiller: Silent War. Set in the near future, Godkiller: Silent War tells the story of Joe Junior, a 17-year old draft-dodger who is recruited by an armed cult of populist assassins and thrust into a secret world of international cabals, alien conspiracies, and the countdown to Armageddon.[68]

Pizzolo explained the dramatic structure to Dread Central:


In July 2009, Pizzolo and Giberson combined their respective blogs Hollywood-2.0: musings from a field of falling giants (about the demise of business-as-usual) and VideoCinematic (about changes in the entertainment biz from a producer's perspective) into news-style website Hollywood-2.0, which features regularly updated blogs as well as a Premium pay-section for "actionable information on how to effectively Develop, Produce, Distribute, and Market a project."[70]

The Long Knives[edit]

During Halo-8's panel at WonderCon in April 2010, Pizzolo announced production of The Long Knives, an animated Giallo film and homage to Dario Argento. The comic book and illustrated film will be illustrated by Ana Ludeshka.[71][72]

According to Dread Central, "I wanted to do a gritty realism horror with a dark-hearted toughness like the first Mad Max, which totally kicked me in the nuts when I first saw it as a kid," explained Pizzolo, "but I didn't want the over-the-top visuals to fall into torture porn so it seemed like an awesome fit to do this in a giallo style and tie in the stylized horror of my faves Mario Bava and Dario Argento. Ana Ludeshka's ethereal visuals and extreme use of color are a perfect fit, and I was super excited to discover her for this."[73]

Though not an official prequel, Pizzolo has indicated that The Long Knives takes place in a shared universe with Godkiller and deals with several key Godkiller characters during the breakdown of society that precedes Godkiller: Walk Among Us.

Ludeshka told Bloody-Disgusting, "I was very shocked when I first read the Long Knives script. And not only because of the blood and the gore. There’s no mercy in this story. It burns like cold things burn."[74]

Loaded Bible[edit]

During Halo-8's panel at C2E2 in April 2010, it was confirmed that Pizzolo would collaborate with Tim Seeley on an adaptation of the comic book series Loaded Bible.

Tim Seeley told Bloody Disgusting:

As far as the blending of the comic and the illustrated film Seeley had this to add:

Medusa: Year One[edit]

Also during Halo-8's panel at C2E2 in April 2010, Pizzolo unveiled the first concept art for Medusa: Year One.[76]

According to UGO:

Pizzolo frames his new project as, "A twist on the Medusa origin-story kind of like Wicked, but mixed with a big epic romance like Titanic, but way less corny. And it's gonna be a blast to animate those snakes."

Halo-8's president also acknowledged the departure Medusa: Year One is from his more recent work like Godkiller.

"Most of my recent stuff has been pretty edgy and racy, but I'm changing things up a bit with this dark epic romance."[77]

Pizzolo later went into greater detail with Bloody Disgusting:


In October 2006, Pizzolo accepted the Grand Prize for Best Feature on behalf of Threat at the Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In April 2007, Pizzolo was awarded the "First Feature Film - Special Mention" prize on behalf of Threat at the Rome Independent Film Festival in Rome, Italy.


  1. ^ "Atari Teenage Riot- Rage (WTO)," YouTube. Accessed Nov. 30, 2011.
  2. ^ Thill, Scott (November 26, 2012). "World's Most Wired Comics Creator - Evil Genius Plots to Blow Up the Comics Universe". Wired. 
  3. ^ a b Thill, Scott. "EtherFilms Taps HTML5 to Take Viewers Deeper Into Movies," Wired (August 10, 2011).
  4. ^ Marshall, Rick. "Hack/Slash To Get The Illustrated Film Treatment". MTV Splash Page. September 10, 2010.
  5. ^ Rao, Mallika. "Occupy Comics: Alan Moore And David Lloyd Of 'V For Vendetta' Are Onboard (SLIDESHOW)". Huffington Post. (December 7, 2011).
  6. ^ The Beat. "Halo-8 releases Godkiller: Tomorrow’s Ashes as print/digital sub hybrid". Comics Beat. (January 18, 2012).
  7. ^ Campion, Chris. "Call It A Threat". Style Magazine..
  8. ^ Hefflon, Scott. "Threat". Lollipop Magazine..
  9. ^ Laforest, Kevin. "Threat". Montreal Film Journal. January 27, 2006.
  10. ^ [1] 'Montreal Film Journal [dead link].
  11. ^ Jihad, Vegan. "Matt Pizzolo, director of Threat". Suicide Girls. May 5, 2006.
  12. ^ Manley, Brendan. "Culture Clash: NY Filmmakers Tackle Race, Politics, Sex and Social Unrest With 'Threat'". Long Island Press. January 12, 2006.
  13. ^ Handelman, Jon. "All Hell Breaks Loose On The Lower East Side". McGill Daily. February 3, 2006.
  14. ^ Williams, Jonathan. "Threat". Gothic Beauty Magazine. Volume 21, Spring 2006.
  15. ^ Campion, Chris. "The Sundance Survivors". London Daily Telegraph Saturday Magazine. February 5, 2000.
  16. ^ Young, Dylan. "Itty bitty Indie". Hour Weekly. February 2, 2006.
  17. ^ Null, Christopher. "Threat". Film Critic. January 24, 2006.
  18. ^ Kulkarni, Neil. "Threat". Terrorizer Magazine. Issue 144 2006.
  19. ^ Jones, Preston. "Threat". DVD Talk. January 24, 2006.
  20. ^ Mitchell, Wendy. "Threat Of A Deal". IndieWire. September 2004.
  21. ^ Flick, Larry. "Do It Yourself". Billboard. August 25, 2000.
  22. ^ Brooks, Brian. "
  23. ^ Rogers, Stanley. "Fest Shows You Don't Have To Go It Alone to Do-it-Yourself". The Times of Trenton. August 3, 2001.
  24. ^ Weise, Becky. "In the Backseat with Matt Pizzolo - Halo-8 Productions". 941 Theater Journal. October 21, 2008.
  25. ^ Hays, Matthew. "Dealmakers Scouting Fantasia". Playback Magazine. July 11, 2007.
  26. ^ Goldstein, Gregg. "Halo-8 Lettings 'Animals' Out Of Their Cages". The Hollywood Reporter. July 13, 2007.
  27. ^ Martin, Peter. "'Your Mommy Kills Animals' DVD Pulled by Amazon". Cinematical. November 14, 2007.
  28. ^ Yahoo! News. "'Your Mommy Kills Animals' DVD Hits Shelves Today... Maybe". Yahoo Finance. November 13, 2007.
  29. ^ Martin, Peter. "Indie Online: Netflix, Televandalism and Jaman". Cinematical. May 21, 2008.
  30. ^ Rosenthal, Phil. "Halo-8 Launches Digital Movie Portal '' with Controversial Flagship". Elites TV. May 21, 2008.
  31. ^ "The Making of "Godkiller," Full Circle Magazine (Nov. 24, 2009).
  32. ^ a b Thill, Scott. "Post-Apocalyptic Comic Godkiller Emerges as 'Illustrated Film'". Wired. October 6, 2009.
  33. ^ Mr. Disgusting. "Cult Icons Topline Halo-8's 'Godkiller'". Bloody-Disgusting. February 24, 2009.
  34. ^ Horror, Joy. "Interview: Matt Pizzolo". Horror News. October 2009.
  35. ^ Matt Pizzolo interview, Horror [dead link].
  36. ^ "MAY SPOTLIGHT: Halo-8 PLUS An Interview With Founder Matt Pizzolo!" Bloody Disgusting (May 4, 2010).
  37. ^ Gingold, Michael. "Genre Names Speaking Up For Godkiller". Fangoria. February 25, 2009.
  38. ^ Staff Report. "Quartet voicing roles in 'Godkiller' film". Hollywood Reporter. February 24, 2009.
  39. ^ News. "Henriksen, Moseley, Shepis Enlist for Godkiller". Shock Till You Drop. February 24, 2009.
  40. ^ McCabe, Joseph. "Henriksen, Moseley and Shepis Meet a 'Godkiller'". FEARnet. February 24, 2009.
  41. ^ Moore, Debi. "Lance Henriksen & Bill Moseley are Godkillers!". Dread Central. February 24, 2009.
  42. ^ Rotten, Ryan. "Halloween, Battlestar Vets Enter Godkiller". Shock Till You Drop. March 26, 2009.
  43. ^ Gingold, Michael. "HALLOWEEN star and more join GODKILLER". Fangoria. March 26, 2009.
  44. ^ Moore, Debi. "Triple Threat: Danielle Harris, Katie Nisa, and Nicki Clyne in Godkiller". Dread Central. March 26, 2009.
  45. ^ Walkuski, Eric. "3 Join Godkiller". Arrow In The Head. March 26, 2009.
  46. ^ Morris, Clint. "Galactica's Cally in Comic Book Movie". Moviehole. March 26, 2009.
  47. ^ News Staff. "HALLOWEEN star and more join GODKILLER". Fear Asylum. March 26, 2009.
  48. ^ a b Meh. "Danielle Harris joins Godkiller". March 26, 2009.
  49. ^ Mr. Disgusting. "Genre Vets Loads Up 'Godkiller' Cast". Bloody Disgusting. March 26, 2009.
  50. ^ News Staff. "Halloween's Danielle Harris, Battlestar Galactica's Nicki Clyne, Threat's Katie Nisa Join GODKILLER!". Icons of Fright. March 26, 2009.
  51. ^ Beiramar, Emmanuel. "Du beau monde pour Godkiller". March 26, 2009.
  52. ^ Timpone, Tony. "IT’S ALIVE! First look at LA Fango con schedule". Fangoria. April 14, 2009.
  53. ^ Moore, Debi. "LA Weekend of Horrors: Choice Cuts". Dread Central. April 15, 2009.
  54. ^ Gingold, Michael. "Exclusive (non-work-safe) clip from GODKILLER". Fangoria. April 21, 2009.
  55. ^ White, Bryan. "Godkiller previews hits the web!". Cinema Suicide. April 23, 2009.
  56. ^ News Staff. "First clip for HALO-8's GODKILLER". Quiet Earth. April 23, 2009.
  57. ^ News Staff. "LA Weekend of Horrors: Choice Cuts". Icons of Fright. April 23, 2009.
  58. ^ Moore, Debi. "First Godkiller Clip Premieres Online". Dread Central. April 23, 2009.
  59. ^ Godkiller Official Trailer, Accessed Dec. 1, 2011.
  60. ^ Spielvogel, Cindy. "Godkiller Varies Marketing Push". Video Business Magazine. October 12, 2009.
  61. ^ Moore, Debi. "Godkiller DVD Release Pushed Back To Accommodate Demand". Dread Central. September 14, 2009.
  62. ^ Moore, Debi. "Halo-8 Launches H8LA Apparel Line". Dread Central. November 23, 2009.
  63. ^ Douglas, Ed. "Halo-8 Tackles Giallo The Long Knives". Shock Till You Drop. April 3, 2010.
  64. ^ THEoDEAD. "EXCLUSIVE: Halo-8 Releases New info On 'Loaded Bible', Tim Seeley Talks Voice Casting!". Bloody Disgusting. April 21, 2010.
  65. ^ Hess, Michael. "Medusa: Year One Exclusive Image". UGO. April 20, 2010.
  66. ^ Parkin, JK. "C2E2 | Ben Templesmith working on 'illustrated film'". Comic Book Resources. April 20, 2010.
  67. ^ Khouri, Andy. "New 'Black Sky' Teaser Brings Ben Templesmith's Illustrations to Film [Video]," Comics Alliance (Dec. 2, 2010).
  68. ^ Moore, Debi. "Godkiller DVD Will Include Prequel Audiobooks". Dread Central. August 27, 2009.
  69. ^ The Woman In Black. "Godkiller DVD Will Include Prequel Audiobooks," Dread Central (August 27, 2009).
  70. ^ Hollywood 2.0 official site. Accessed Dec. 1, 2011.
  71. ^ THEoDEAD. "FIRST LOOK: Halo 8 Announces Illustrated Film: 'The Long Knives'!". Bloody Disgusting. April 7, 2010.
  72. ^ Moore, Debi. "Halo-8 Announces New Comic Book/Illustrated Film The Long Knives". Dread Central. April 7, 2010.
  73. ^ The Woman In Black. "Halo-8 Announces New Comic Book/Illustrated Film The Long Knives," Dread Central (April 7, 2010).
  74. ^ The oDead. "KILLER GRAPHICS #6: Interview With 'The Long Knives' Illustrator Ana Ludeshka Manicchio!," Bloody Disgusting (May 11, 2010).
  75. ^ a b The oDead. "EXCLUSIVE: Halo-8 Releases New info On 'Loaded Bible', Tim Seeley Talks Voice Casting!" Bloody Disgusting (April 21, 2010).
  76. ^ THEoDEAD. "Halo-8 Plans To Re-Tell The Medusa Legend With 'Medusa: Year One'!". Bloody Disgusting. April 21, 2010.
  77. ^ Hess, Michael. "Medusa: Year One Exclusive Image. Details are still few, but Matt Pizzolo's upcoming illustrated film makes up want to look on it directly," UGO (Apr. 20, 2010).
  78. ^ The oDead. "Halo-8 Plans To Re-Tell The Medusa Legend With 'Medusa: Year One'!," Bloody Disgusting (Apr. 21, 2010).

External links[edit]