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Matt Pizzolo is an award-winning[294696][294697] film director, screenwriter, and producer born on Long Islandmarker, New Yorkmarker. His early works were created in NYC'smarker Lower East Sidemarker, where he lived for eight years before moving to Los Angelesmarker. Best known for his work as writer-director of the indie movie Threat and creator of the graphic novel Godkiller (as well as writer-director of its forthcoming adaptation: the Godkiller illustrated film), Pizzolo also directed music videos for Atari Teenage Riot [294698], 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, and runs indie film studio HALO 8 Entertainment. In addition, Pizzolo writes under a variety of pseudonyms.

Production Style

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.

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 Montrealmarker's Cinema du Parc, the Montreal Film Journal stated:

"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."

When questioned by the website Suicide Girls on the subject of violent class conflict in the film, Pizzolo gave insight into his intentions:
"Yeah, I came at it from an angle that class is really the ultimate divider in our culture, beyond even race or gender.
And the thing these kids in the movie all share is that they're at the bottom rung of the class system and they're pissed about it.
But it's not just about being poor, it's really just about being average in a world where decisions are made by a super wealthy minority.
You may be white or black, male or female, but if you're not super wealthy or from the right family then you don't have any say... you go to war when they tell you to go to war.
And the violence in Threat is about how we in the trenches are so angry, but we take it out on each other instead of taking drastic measures to make change."



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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

In June 2008, two comic books written by Pizzolo - Godkiller and How I Lost My Virginity -by Alexandra Jones - debuted at Wizard Entertainment's Wizard World Chicago comic book convention as flagship releases in the launch of HALO-8's comic book publishing division.

In October 2008, Pizzolo created a weeklong Halloween film festival for HALO-8 at the Engineering Cinematheque in Hollywood, consisting of 'hardcore/punk matinees' and 'horror nights.' Each night ended with a live screening party of HALO-8's Slumber Party Slaughterhouse, a game created by Pizzolo (which he directed with Doug Sakmann, Joanna Angel, Ramzi Abed, and Kurly Tlapoyawa) that mixes pub trivia with Rocky Horror-style audience participation.

The festival was originally called 8 Films To Kill For: Halo-ween Fest, poking fun at After Dark Films' 8 Films To Die For: After Dark Horrorfest. According to Dread Central, After Dark Films immediately issued a Cease & Desist and legal threat, to which Pizzolo replied in his Hollywood-2.0 blog [294701]:
"We weren't ripping them off, we were mocking them.
I don't think trademark law is intended to prevent people from making fun of you.
I tend to assume our audience is pretty smart, so it never occurred to me they might think we were actually part of that festival...
I wouldn't want to cause confusion and accidentally tarnish our reputation."
*insert cat fight noises here* Pizzolo goes on to say, "I suppose it wasn’t the cleverest name in the world, but no less clever than Slamdance… or Tromeo & Juliet for that matter."
The conflict was later settled amicably with HALO-8 agreeing to change the name to Halo-8: Films That Kill.


Godkiller: Walk Among Us

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.

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:

"When we decided to make an anime adaptation of the comic book, I couldn't see how a traditional animated approach would do justice to Anna's incredibly lush and detailed illustrations.
It made perfect sense to adapt the medium to suit her art, rather than vice versa."

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.)."

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.

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."

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.

Immediately following the preview clip debut at Weekend of Horrors, Fangoria posted the first exclusive online clip of Godkiller on its website. [294704] The official trailer followed soon after. [294705]

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.

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 DVD/Bu-ray May 25th 2010.

Godkiller: Silent War

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.

Pizzolo explained the dramatic structure to Dread Central:

"Godkiller is split into two periods... there's the pre-nuke world of Silent War and there's the post-nuke world of the graphic novel and illustrated film Walk Among Us.
So Silent War is only a prequel insofar as it happens beforehand, but its events drive the Walk Among Us story, and many of the same characters appear in both.
I'm super excited that the two stories can roll out together in this integrated way--everything about this project is unorthodox and crazy, hopefully everyone will enjoy the ride."


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." [294707]


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

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

External links


  1. Campion, Chris. " Call It A Threat". Style Magazine..
  2. Hefflon, Scott. " Threat". Lollipop Magazine..
  3. Laforest, Kevin. " Threat". Montreal Film Journal. January 27, 2006.
  4. Jihad, Vegan. " Matt Pizzolo, director of Threat". Suicide Girls. May 5, 2006.
  5. Manley, Brendan. " Culture Clash: NY Filmmakers Tackle Race, Politics, Sex and Social Unrest With 'Threat'". Long Island Press. January 12, 2006.
  6. Handelman, Jon. " All Hell Breaks Loose On The Lower East Side". McGill Daily. February 3, 2006.
  7. Williams, Jonathan. " Threat". Gothic Beauty Magazine. Volume 21, Spring 2006.
  8. Campion, Chris. " The Sundance Survivors". London Daily Telegraph Saturday Magazine. February 5, 2000.
  9. Young, Dylan. " Itty bitty Indie". Hour Weekly. February 2, 2006.
  10. Null, Christopher. " Threat". Film Critic. January 24, 2006.
  11. Kulkarni, Neil. " Threat". Terrorizer Magazine. Issue 144 2006.
  12. Jones, Preston. " Threat". DVD Talk. January 24, 2006.
  13. Mitchell, Wendy. " Threat Of A Deal". IndieWire. September 2004.
  14. Flick, Larry. " Do It Yourself". Billboard. August 25, 2000.
  15. Brooks, Brian. " Kings Mob Productions to Launch DiY-Fest". IndieWire. January 12, 2001.
  16. Rogers, Stanley. " Fest Shows You Don't Have To Go It Alone to Do-it-Yourself". The Times of Trenton. August 3, 2001.
  17. Weise, Becky. " In the Backseat with Matt Pizzolo - Halo-8 Productions". 941 Theater Journal. October 21, 2008.
  18. Hays, Matthew. " Dealmakers Scouting Fantasia". Playback Magazine. July 11, 2007.
  19. Goldstein, Gregg. " Halo-8 Lettings 'Animals' Out Of Their Cages". The Hollywood Reporter. July 13, 2007.
  20. Martin, Peter. " 'Your Mommy Kills Animals' DVD Pulled by Amazon". Cinematical. November 14, 2007.
  21. Yahoo! News. " 'Your Mommy Kills Animals' DVD Hits Shelves Today... Maybe". Yahoo Finance. November 13, 2007.
  22. Martin, Peter. " Indie Online: Netflix, Televandalism and Jaman". Cinematical. May 21, 2008.
  23. Rosenthal, Phil. " Halo-8 Launches Digital Movie Portal '' with Controversial Flagship". Elites TV. May 21, 2008.
  24. Goldstein, Gregg. " Halo-8 infected with 'Pink Eye'". The Hollywood Reporter. June 25, 2008.
  25. Graser, Marc. " Comic-Con sees super efforts in P.R.". Variety. July 25, 2008.
  26. Moore, Debi. " 8 Films To Kill For: Halo-ween Fest Details". Dread Central. September 27, 2008.
  27. Goldstein, Gregg. " Happy Halo-ween". The Hollywood Reporter. September 30, 2008.
  28. Moore, Debi. " New Name For Halo-8 Film Fest". Dread Central. October 7, 2008.
  29. Mr. Disgusting. " Cult Icons Topline Halo-8's 'Godkiller'". Bloody-Disgusting. February 24, 2009.
  30. Gingold, Michael. " Genre Names Speaking Up For Godkiller". Fangoria. February 25, 2009.
  31. Staff Report. " Quartet voicing roles in 'Godkiller' film". Hollywood Reporter. February 24, 2009.
  32. News. " Henriksen, Moseley, Shepis Enlist for Godkiller". Shock Till You Drop. February 24, 2009.
  33. McCabe, Joseph. " Henriksen, Moseley and Shepis Meet a 'Godkiller'". FEARnet. February 24, 2009.
  34. Moore, Debi. " Lance Henriksen & Bill Moseley are Godkillers!". Dread Central. February 24, 2009.
  35. Rotten, Ryan. " Halloween, Battlestar Vets Enter Godkiller". Shock Till You Drop. March 26, 2009.
  36. Gingold, Michael. " HALLOWEEN star and more join GODKILLER". Fangoria. March 26, 2009.
  37. Moore, Debi. " Triple Threat: Danielle Harris, Katie Nisa, and Nicki Clyne in Godkiller". Dread Central. March 26, 2009.
  38. Walkuski, Eric. " 3 Join Godkiller". Arrow In The Head. March 26, 2009.
  39. Morris, Clint. " Galactica's Cally in Comic Book Movie". Moviehole. March 26, 2009.
  40. News Staff. " HALLOWEEN star and more join GODKILLER". Fear Asylum. March 26, 2009.
  41. Meh. " Danielle Harris joins Godkiller". March 26, 2009.
  42. Mr. Disgusting. " Genre Vets Loads Up 'Godkiller' Cast". Bloody Disgusting. March 26, 2009.
  43. News Staff. " Halloween's Danielle Harris, Battlestar Galactica's Nicki Clyne, Threat's Katie Nisa Join GODKILLER!". Icons of Fright. March 26, 2009.
  44. Beiramar, Emmanuel. " Du beau monde pour Godkiller". March 26, 2009.
  45. Timpone, Tony. " IT’S ALIVE! First look at LA Fango con schedule". Fangoria. April 14, 2009.
  46. Moore, Debi. " LA Weekend of Horrors: Choice Cuts". Dread Central. April 15, 2009.
  47. Gingold, Michael. " Exclusive (non-work-safe) clip from GODKILLER". Fangoria. April 21, 2009.
  48. White, Bryan. " Godkiller previews hits the web!". Cinema Suicide. April 23, 2009.
  49. News Staff. " First clip for HALO-8's GODKILLER". Quiet Earth. April 23, 2009.
  50. News Staff. " LA Weekend of Horrors: Choice Cuts". Icons of Fright. April 23, 2009.
  51. Moore, Debi. " First Godkiller Clip Premieres Online". Dread Central. April 23, 2009.
  52. Moore, Debi. " Godkiller DVD Release Pushed Back To Accommodate Demand". Dread Central. September 14, 2009.
  53. Moore, Debi. " Godkiller DVD Will Include Prequel Audiobooks". Dread Central. August 27, 2009.

See also

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