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Tag: Hot Pixel Posts (Page 2 of 2)

HOTPIXEL POST: "Searching For Fortune" In Variety!

John Heard (center) with members of the production team on the set of Searching For Fortune.

John Heard (center) with members of the production team on the set of Searching For Fortune.

The industry is starting to buzz about the film on which HotPixel is currently doing post-production! Check out the HotPixel blog to link to Variety’s early coverage of Searching For Fortune!

CLICK HERE to access my post!

HOTPIXEL POST: "Director Joseph Matarrese Goes 'Searching For Fortune'!"

Matrrese (center) directs "Searching For Fortune" leads Brian Smolensky and Christina Moore.

Matrrese (center) directs “Searching For Fortune” leads Brian Smolensky and Christina Moore. Photo courtesy of Distant Thunder Films.

It’s always cool when you get to talk to an ambitious person who works in The Industry and is also a nice, grounded person with their head screwed on straight. I had the chance to speak with one such person when I interviewed indie director, Joseph Matarrese, for the HotPixel blog about his first feature film, Searching For Fortune. Not only do I see his promise as a director, but I love that he sees film as something bigger than himself and measures success not only by what he can accomplish, but what he can help others accomplish.


Joseph Matarrese and his twin brother, Philip, have been filmmakers since they were in fifth grade, growing up in the Bay Area. In fact, they’re still operating under the same production company name, Distant Thunder Films, that they came up with back then. Of course, things are much more Official these days. Their talents and skill level have evolved and grown since their youth, but their passion for creating stories for the big screen has always been oversized, and it seems that their lives have finally caught up to their youthful ambition.

Matarrese is in the process of directing his first feature film, Searching for Fortune, under the Distant Thunder banner (his brother, Phil, is one of the producers, along with Mandi Reno), and it’s clear to see even from the rough cut screening of the film I was invited to attend weeks ago that Matarrese prioritizes character-driven storytelling and has a particular respect for 1970s cinema. As I learned when I spoke to him for HotPixel, he also has a huge amount of respect for the hierarchy of a film set.

“We both have very similar tastes and feeling about how sets should be run,” Matarrese says about working with family. “And we also love the hierarchy of a film set and believe that there should only be one captain of the ship. It’s great to have somebody to bounce ideas off of, but also knowing that we both respect the hierarchy so much that if, say, Phil is directing something and he says ‘No, it has to be this way,’ even if I disagree, it has to be that way. And vice versa.

I know a lot of twins who don’t necessarily get along and would probably kill each other, but we’ve been working together since the fifth grade, so we’ve worked out a system.”

For the full interview, or to leave a comment, CLICK HERE!

HOTPIXEL POST: "HotPixel Meets YouTube Nerd Powerhouse, Geek & Sundry!"

Geek and Sundry Logo

There’s a new post up at at the HotPixel blog today that I wanted to make sure to include as a shout-out to all my geeks and nerds out there. 🙂


Unplugged allows video game enthusiasts to showcase their skills both in-game and IRL. They compete while playing various video games, then compete while engaging in in-person competitions based on those games. Even better, it’s produced by former HotPixel member, Tom Grey, who has a history of geeky projects, having also created and directed the series Cosplay Piano for Stan Lee’s World of Heroes YouTube channel!

For the full post, or to comment on the post, CLICK HERE!

HOTPIXEL POST: "THE HOT LIST: Karl Mueller – Writer/Director of "Mr. Jones"

Production still from Mr. Jones.

Production still from Mr. Jones.

Hey everyone!

Finally back to writing over at the HotPixel Blog, and this month’s Hot List covers a film that’s very near and dear to my heart (mostly because The Boy was the sound mixer on it). I usually don’t like horror, but Mr. Jones is a horror movie that makes you think and is anchored by a solid relationship between the two leads. I was able to talk to the film’s writer/director, Karl Mueller, about making the film, and the result is over at the HotPixel blog right now!!


This is writer-director Karl Mueller’s first feature film in the director’s chair. Up until Mr. Jones, Mueller had been working as a screenwriter and developed a strong working relationship with producer, Ross Dinerstein. Together, they worked on several projects, including 2012’s The Pact, another horror project. When that film did well, Dinerstein’s financiers were excited to embark on another, similar project, so he turned to Mueller, whom he already trusted as a writer, and asked him for a new story. This time, if they moved forward, Mueller would also get to sit in the director’s chair.

“It’s a tough thing,” Mueller explains. “There’s no ‘apprentice path’ to becoming a director. People who don’t know anything about the film industry will say things like Oh, well just be a second assistant director then a first assistant director! But if you actually work on sets, that’s a career path unto itself. Being an AD is a skill set unto itself, and – because there’s so few slots available to be the director, the boss of the set – nobody’s gonna naturally bump you up. You have to figure out a way to leap up a level or game the system. And there are a million ways that’s done, but for me, the thing I could create that could give me some leverage to get me in the director’s chair was a script.”

However, Mueller warns budding writer-directors not to be too ambitious budget-wise when it comes to writing their first, or even their first few scripts. “You have to make a certain level of script, within a certain budget,” he says. “You can’t just write the next Star Wars and say ‘I wanna direct this!’ That’s not gonna happen!”

For the rest of the article, or to post a comment, CLICK HERE!


Double Indemnity

Hi everyone!

I’m currently on vaycay with The Boy in MD, but I’m still getting work done! (or trying to!)

Check out the latest at the HotPixel blog! There’s a new monthly feature written by HotPixel’s color correction genius, Bruce Goodman called, appropriately enough, Bruce’s Corner!


A great example of how imagery can enhance the storytelling process is the Film Noir genre, which was very popular in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s. The look of these films were characterized by low key lighting, which created rich streaks of light and shadow. Combined with oddly balanced composition these stark black and white images conveyed a discomforting sense of mystery, danger and disillusionment.

For the full post, or to write a comment, CLICK HERE!

HOTPIXEL POST: "The Hot List: Greg Laemmle – President, Laemmle Theaters

Greg Laemmle and his father, Robert, at the Laemmle Royal Theater. Photo Credit: Wally Skali/LA Times

Hello everyone!

It’s time for another Hot List over at the HotPixel Blog! I had a chance to interview Greg Laemmle, President of Laemmle Theaters,  and talked to him about his love of film, and what he looks for when choosing what indie films to screen at his theaters. Independent filmmakers, take note! 🙂


When you think of where to go see quality independent films in Los Angeles, it’s likely that the first places to come to mind are Laemmle Theaters. Back in 1938, Kurt and Max Laemmle, nephews of the founder of Universal Pictures, Carl Laemmle, created Laemmle Theaters as a place where quality independent, foreign, and arthouse cinema could be viewed alongside more mainstream fare, giving indie filmmakers a proper showcase for their work.

More than 70 years later, Laemmle Theaters have seven locations throughout Los Angeles, and it’s still very much a family business. HotPixel recently talked with Laemmle Theaters’ current President, Greg Laemmle, to discuss its place in the independent film community, and the ways in which Laemmle Theaters gives burgeoning filmmakers a chance to shine.

What’s interesting is that, despite the Laemmle family’s film legacy, Greg is the only one of his five siblings to go into the family business.

For the full interview, and to post comments, CLICK HERE!

HOTPIXEL POST: DEBBIE PRESTON – Writer/Producer of "By God's Grace"

By God's Grace

Check out my latest interview over at the HotPixel Blog with first-time writer/producer/director Debbie Preston about her new film, By God’s Grace!


“I had a dream about it,” Preston says. “And the story was very vivid in my mind. Of course I didn’t have all the pieces of it, but I had enough of it that I thought ‘I’m going to jot this down…’ I wrote the idea down, and it was a couple of pages long…then I told a friend about it, and she said “Why don’t you do a treatment for it?” And I was like, “What’s that?” She laughs as she remembers just how green she was at the beginning of the process.

In the three years since she first wrote the script, she’s learned not only what a treatment is, but everything it takes to bring a film to life. It wasn’t always peaches and cream. There were a few crew changes as the film was being shot, and Preston found herself wearing several different hats over the course of the shoot, including a portion of the film as co-director.

For the entire interview, or to leave a comment, CLICK HERE.

HOTPIXEL POST: "ART ON FILM: How to Make Movie Theaters Want You"

Art Freed.  Photo Credit: Bill Young - Young Photography.

Art Freed. Photo Credit: Bill Young – Young Photography.

Hey there, indie filmmakers!

If you’re disheartened by how difficult it seems to connect your small film to its audience, fret not! Check out the HotPixel blog this week, where founder, Art Freed breaks down what gets films seen in our blog’s new feature, Art On Film.


Last week, Teresa Jusino and I were talking about who would be interesting to feature on the HotList this month. My mandate for the list is that the subject must be really interesting or important to indie film to be featured. Teresa mentioned she would like to feature Greg Laemmle of Laemmle Theaters, as the Laemmle is instrumental in getting indie films out to their audiences.  I thought it was a great idea and look forward to seeing that come out later this month. It got me thinking about how many of my clients got a theatrical release or have been released on Video On Demand in the last few years. Films finished at HotPixel keep showing up at the Laemmle NoHo and on my TV at home via VOD. While I won’t list them all, I thought it would be interesting to look at the common denominator shared by our more successful clients. This is based purely on my observation, because not every client reports back to us their success or failure, but what I’ve seen in my years of experience at HotPixel seems to point to some definite trends.

To read the rest of the post, or to comment on it, CLICK HERE.

HOTPIXEL POST: Introducing, Teresa Jusino!

Photo Credit: Michael Jackson for ChileJam!

Photo Credit: Michael Jackson for ChileJam!

Hey there, everyone!

My latest blog post over at the HotPixel blog is an intro about me and what I hope to accomplish as editor over at that site. I hope you’ll check it out, and be a part of the conversation about independent film!


I’m always looking for new and amazing independent film projects and personalities to cover! So if you, or anyone you know would be a great subject for our Hot List, because they’re working on something that’s not only a quality film, but captures the spirit of independent film making, send a tip my way! You can reach me at

You can also feel free to email me with ideas about what you’d like to see here at the HotPixel blog, or just to tell me that you think I’m amazing and that you’re thinking of naming your first-born child after me! (You can also write me with questions, concerns, or complaints, but that’s less fun than the other stuff.)

For the full blog post, or to leave a comment on it, CLICK HERE!

The Voice of Hot Pixel (and Of the Apocalypse!)

I’ve been alluding to a new blogging gig lately, and it’s about time I tell you what it is, huh? 🙂

I’ve recently been hired as the new blogger for the post-production house Hot Pixel! (Much love and thanks to Bin Lee for reaching out to me about this!) It’s a great post-production company run by an awesome dude named Art Freed, who is just so full of integrity and a strong work ethic. The entire Hot Pixel crew is a bunch of awesome people, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the team! In addition to blogging, I’ll also be handling their monthly newsletter, as well as general promotion/growing of the site.

Photo Credit: Karianne Flaathen of KF Photography

That said, my first post – a regular feature focusing on awesome independent filmmakers called “The Hot List” – is up at the blog! And those of you who travel in my circles are in for a special treat, because it’s about the wonderful and talented Gabriel Diani and Etta Devine and their independent film, Diani & Devine Meet the Apocalypse, which recently ended a successful Kickstarter campaign and is now in pre-production.


These days, the terms “independent filmmaking” and “crowdfunding” are damn near synonymous, and when it comes to crowdfunding for an independent project, producer/director/writer/performers Etta Devine and Gabriel Diani are Kickstarter veterans. Diani & Devine – as they are known by their fans – have already used Kickstarter to bring the world a feature-length film (The Selling, a supernatural comedy available for digital download and on DVD), and a robot version of a literary classic (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [Robotic Edition], in which the n-word is replaced with the word “robot” to brilliant, satirical effect). This is in addition to several video sketches and a charming stand-up act featuring heightened, comedic versions of themselves that they’ve performed in clubs across the country.

It’s those heightened, comedic versions of themselves who are the stars of their latest feature film, Diani and Devine Meet the Apocalypse, an end-of-the-world comedy that shows you that surviving the apocalypse is almost as difficult as surviving in Hollywood.

To read the full article and comment, CLICK HERE! Comments are important, especially if you wanna help me show my boss how interactive you folks are! 😉

Also, if you want to keep up with my work at Hot Pixel, you should like their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter! You’ll be hearing a lot more from me (and them) in the days to come!

Lastly if you, or anyone you know, is working on an amazing independent film (or a web series!), I want to know about it! Send all tips for Hot Pixel to me at Who knows? Maybe you and your project will be worthy of being included on our Hot List!

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