Due out late 2013 filmmakers Maria Kennedy Mazzotta and Ben Mazzotta bring us the highly anticipated found footage film ‘The Picco Incident’. The movie is about a UFO that crashes on a family’s farm and the family captures the survivor. There will be lots of guessing and excitement as the family has life or death dilemmas and no matter what their decisions are there will be consequences.
Maria was very kind to share the filming experience and additional information about the movie with B-Movie Nation.
5 Quick Questions with Maria Kennedy Mazzotta – “The Picco Incident”
What triggered the idea to do a found footage style film?
Frankly, it was a budgetary thing. I’m a producer – after the story, budget is what I think about. $100 million dollar movies with insane special effects and A-list actors are bombing at the box office — and scary little movies made for $20 by a kid with a cell phone are blowing audiences away. We (the filmmakers Ben Mazzotta, co-scribe Brad Abraham, and I) thought about Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity, Troll Hunter, and other found footage movies, and how they connected with a huge audience. Story is king. The Picco Incident is a powerful story because it’s so believable. We built in the found footage style from concept stage to make it even more true-to-life. We didn’t have to rent an expensive camera, and dolly and rigs and the rest of it.
And Hollywood is paying attention too – every studio has opened a micro-budget division, and their acquisitions people are attending the genre film festivals and the Midnight Madness screenings at the top tier festivals like TIFF and Sundance. They’re looking for that next film that’s going to connect with the audience or scare the shit out of them or whatever. We knew we could effectively make a low-budget but incredible story if we employed found footage-style, so that’s what we did.
What will we experience in ‘The Picco Incident’ that will stand above other footage films?
The Picco Incident plays with the found footage genre in a very unconventional way. I don’t want to give away any details because there are spoilers involved. But I can safely say I haven’t seen any film do what we’ve done with the found footage genre. Even though it’s micro-budget, the visual effects in the film are phenomenal, thanks to Ben and our VFX god Andrew Emslie.
What makes us different from your typical found footage? For one, you’re getting more than a simple fear-based run and hide story. PICCO goes much deeper than that. There’s still the “What’s under the bed”, “What’s behind the tree” presentation, but there’s also a richness in character development that you don’t typically find in found footage style movies. You really do care for these people, and what they’re going through. And it’s also not a far stretch for the average person to watch PICCO and stop and ask him or herself – Yeah, what WOULD I do if I came in contact with a real live alien? Would my family and I do what the Picco family did?
I’ve read and it sounds like your team was aggressive to get this film done, is this your most passionate film that you’ve done?
Well, to be honest, we’re still in post-production, so technically the film’s not in-the-can yet. But yes, the actual production of PICCO was single-mindedly aggressive. Ten 15-hour shoot days/nights with a small but dedicated cast and crew, and then the director Ben editing in his bedroom office on his Mac for three months straight so it could be ready to pass off to Andrew to create the VFX. Yeah, it was aggressive.
As a producer, is this film the one I’m most passionate about? That’s kind of like asking a parent, do you love this kid more than your first child, or more than any child you’ll have in the future. I love every film for different reasons. My debut film The Limits was a drama, and I loved it because again, we did so much and delivered such a remarkable, heart-wrenching story on a ridiculously challenging budget. But, in regards to PICCO, I do have a long-standing love affair with sci-fi. And I love thrillers. And… I’m one of “those people” who considers the very real possibility of extraterrestrials and UFOs. Since I started making this film, I’ve had countless people email me or tell me about their personal UFO experiences, so I have a feeling that I’m not the only one waiting for a story like this. There’s an untapped audience out there that does not want movies about evil aliens hell-bent on global domination and destruction. They’ve had experiences that they can’t understand and they’re uncomfortable sharing with others. A realistic story that is meaningful, whose characters and experiences everyone can relate to – this is what we’re striving for with PICCO.
How well or not so well did the ten days of filming go?
I think it couldn’t have gone better. With the exception of getting only 2 to 3 hours of sleep each night and fighting a lot with my partner and over-exploiting the babysitting privileges with my parents’ and in laws’, everything went off without a hitch. It could have been disastrous, but it wasn’t, remarkably. Many cast and crew-members were treading in new territory because it was the first time we were all shooting a sci-fi film. It was also the first time for the four main actors to star in a feature length movie. We were incredibly lucky to discover them. And I have to admit, there was this “feeling” that many of us shared while on set, that we were involved in something very special.
Can you give us information on the release date and how it’ll be available?
The time, effort and budget that it took to shoot the film are nothing compared to the time, effort and budget it takes to complete post-production. Like the 10-day shoot was the tip of the iceberg. I anticipate that the film will be released towards the end of 2013. We know there’s a massive audience out there for alien and UFO thrillers. The Picco Incident could be VOD, DVD, but it’s also the sort of exciting, heart-stopping genre popcorn flick that could easily be in movie theatres internationally. I haven’t really promoted the film through online social media, however I’m amazed that The Picco Incident Facebook page already has Likes from all over North America, Europe, Asia, India. Which leads me to believe that there’s a global audience for a realistic story about “first contact”. People are waiting for an authentic, no-holes-barred movie about how people would cope (or not cope) with finding an alien.
Be sure to keep updated on “The Picco Incident” by checking out the official Facebook page, Twitter, and Youtube page.
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