I recently got the chance to talk to one half of the Butcher Brothers, Mitchell Altieri, about their new film ‘The Violent Kind’. Here, Mitch talks about how the idea came about in the first place, and how he and Phil Flores became a directing duo…
Hey Mitch. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Of course we‘re here to talk to you about your new film ‘The Violent Kind’ – which you co-produced and co-directed with your other Butcher Brother, Phil Flores. Yet another great Butcher Brothers release I think!
Thank you very much. I hope you enjoy ‘The Violent Kind’!
How did the idea come about in the first place for ‘The Violent Kind‘?
The idea for ‘The Violent Kind’ came about when I was having dinner with Adam Weis (who co-wrote ‘The Hamiltons’ with Phil and I) and we started kicking around ideas. After a few loose thoughts came together, I met up with Phil (Flores, the other Butcher Brother) and we started to put together a story. Basically, we were looking to do something different, something out there, something that was fun and wild. We wanted to break rules, especially coming off of a studio picture… and who would have known that doing something so wild, so crazy, would land us a full invitation to Sundance.
How easy was it to put the film into production?
Actually, the production came together pretty smoothly. I mean, don’t get me wrong… it’s an indie, so we had many battles, many struggles. But the producers on this were great, and gave us plenty of support.
How would you say the film is different from other horror films released this year? What tricks as directors did you try to throw in?
We treat all our films differently. ‘The Violent Kind’ is it’s own special thing. You really can’t compare it to any other one film. We are very proud of that. We have received a lot of praise for pulling that off.
How has the reception been to the film so far? Obviously it‘s been in a ton of film festivals – was it what you expected?
It’s been great. The film itself is truly different. When you get a film like ours, you always get different reactions; some people get it, some people don’t. And yes, we have had an amazing festival run… we feel fortunate for all the great places we have been able to visit with the film.
Let’s talk a bit about you Mitch. What made you want to get into the producing and directing chair in the first place?
It was something I always knew I wanted to do. Growing up, I loved oddball films like ‘The Wanderers’ by Phillip Kaufman or anything David Lynch. I would get so lost in films, to the point, that horror films would give me such nightmares as a kid, I would barely sleep. Funny how life turns out though, as we are now horror directors. Films have always been a place where I can go to escape. And I always knew, that somehow, I would end up in its world.
Tell us a bit about how you and Phil first met – were you childhood friends? College buddies?
Phil and I have been friends since high school. We always shared the same passion for cinema. He was the only other person that I knew that felt the same way about movies. We ran in the same circles of friends, grew up with the same experiences, fighting, getting into trouble, etc… and then, one day, we said “Hey, let’s turn all this stuff into movies.”
What advice would you give to people wanting to pursue a career in writing, producing and directing?
Start shooting! I mean it. Grab a camera, grab your friends, grab your computer and start making movies. And make movies within your means… something that you love. The rest comes after that. If you’re a writer, start writing… if you’re a producer, start producing. Nowadays you can shoot a movie for nothing. I have a friend who recently shot a movie for $250.00. It opened doors for him to make his next one.
Obviously the indie industry plays an important factor in both your careers – how important do you think the indie industry is nowadays, what with the boom in YouTube videos and the economic recession?
I think the whole YouTube thing is great. I’ve been very lucky that we have a line up of our features being produced, so we have been constantly busy. But to be honest, I can’t wait to do short content. I think it can be so much more freeing, and you can really experiment. As to the indie industry, I wouldn’t have a career without it, so I will support forever!
What films have inspired you both as artists? Do you have any favourites?
It’s no secret that both Phil and I are heavily influenced by David Lynch. We both individually have other inspirations as well, but David Lynch is definitely the godfather to the Butcher Brothers.
What does a Butcher Brother day usually consist of?
I wish I could say something cool like ‘Babes, Bullets, and Brawling’ but the truth is it’s spent mostly behind a desk, writing. It gets more exciting on set when we are shooting… but an average day is spent writing or brain storming.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
We were in London during the riots. I’d say experiencing that was pretty interesting.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
Look out for ‘The Thompsons’ (sequel to ‘The Hamiltons’) and ‘The Holy Ghost People’.
Thank you for a great interview!