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An Interview with Roberto Del Piccolo, Co-Director of The Hounds

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2013

Films directed by Roberto Del Piccolo on (re)Search my Trash


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Your movie The Hounds - in a few words, what is it about?


The Hounds is about two parallel stories that join together at the end of the movie. Some people did not like this structure but some other did, anyway it seems that the ending of The Hounds made everyone happy - we wanted to create something different to the usual horror movies and The Hounds is definetely different. It has a slow beginning but an adrenaline rush in the second part of the movie.


What were your inspirations when writing The Hounds?


Well, what inspired us were some articles we read in the newspaper. The Hounds is based on a true story, actually to several events happened in Europe and outside the EU.


At times, The Hounds plays like your typical slasher movie. A genre at all dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?


We mixed the genres we love the most, but as we love movies which bear a good plot we created some gory effects that suited our story. Maurizio and I love ghost stories, zombie, slasher movies, gory movies and of course the tension that Japanese directors can build in their movies.


How would you describe your directorial approach to your story at hand - and how would you describe working with each other to begin with?


The first part of The Hounds is shot using basic shoot angles and ordinary camera work. Slowly the camera movement speeds up and so does the number of shoot angles. The editing style is kept at the same pace all along the footage - this is to avoid confusion as too much information might have caused the opposite effect. So far everybody liked the increase of speed in the second half.

Maurizio and I always work together closely to get as many ideas and inspiration from one another as possible. In addition we work for fun, we love every aspect of filmaking.


The Hounds features quite a few quite graphic gore effects - what can you tell us about the creation of those, and the importance of gore to your movie and the genre as such?


We created all the FX ourselves. As I said, we love every aspect of the cinema industry. We wanted to avoid a massive use of digital FX as we think that digit FX are quite cold, so we used them only to correct some mistakes (like posts or microphone appearing during some takes).


What can you tell us about your key cast, and what made these people perfect for their roles?


The cast suits The Hounds perfectly as we are facing an extraordinary situation with ordinary people. Unfortunately this is based on a true story where some guys that are just wanting to have a fun weekend end up finding out that their lives are changed forever. The actors managed to be natural all the time and this is not easy as they are all professional actors.


You just have to talk about your location for a bit, and what are the issues and advantages of an extended outdoors shoot?


Over in the UK the weather is your worst enemy! I don't mean the rain (but it helps if it stays away!) but the clouds as they move so fast that the light keeps changing. The DoP was not happy at all. The advantage is that england offers natural locations for a cheap price, ie pubs, woods, landscape, the actors speak English and the beer is excellent ;)


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


Well, the atmosphere was great. We made a good bunch of friends and we are still in touch with each other. With a small group it is easier to understand each other's needs. There was never a case of arguing or any problem ... apart from techinical issues!


As far as I know, The Hounds is only about to be released. So what can you tell us about critical reception so far?


If you talk about reviews, we had about 40 - only one or 2 are bad, and of course they come from Italy! This not bother us because everyone has his own taste and his own point of view. We had a couple of reviews over in the US and they where very positive. Someone said that The Hounds is one of the best independent film seen this year, someone else compared us with master Sam Raimi and this made us happy! (I hope did not offend Sam though! Sorry Sam, you are the best!)


Let's go back to the beginnings of your careers: What got you into filmmaking in the first place?


Well, filmaking was in my veins since my dad showed me his family video shot on video8. As a child I used to make monsters out of clay and I moved them using stop motion techniques. Then maurizio and I started making shorts and eventually came The Hounds which I funded myself. We started writing the plot just for fun without any idea to where we would go. One day I said, go on, let's make it! We started reading books and info about how to produce a film and here we are!


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The Hounds?


We shot several shorts, then videoclips for music bands (we still do that), and I co-produced a film with ben gazzara, the very last he starred in, it is called Ristabbanna (it's not horror though).


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Yes, we have 4 more plots ready to be shot (horror of course). We are looking for a distribution and production company interested in co-operating with us.


How would you describe yourselves as directors?


I think about ourselves as big children who want to tell their stories on screen. Once on set we like to listen to everyone's point of view and discuss possible changes that might improve the plot of the movie. We work as a team, in fact every plot is read by me, Maurizio and the DoP Tommaso (Brunori Borgstrom). In terms of experience, Tommaso is a well known cameraman and filmmaker, he started his career with Corman [Roger Corman bio - click here], and once he read The Hounds' plot he decided to work with us. Since then we work closely together.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Easy to say! Sam Raimi first of all. When I watched Evil Dead I wanted to become a filmmaker. Then again I love Shyamalan and Clint Eastwood, not to mention Stanley Kubrick and Mario Bava [Mario Bava bio - click here]. Maurizio is a fan of Alexandre Aja and so am I. We both love the Asian style, those directors are the masters of tension at the moment.


Your favourite movies?


Well, easy to say for me: Evil Dead, Clockwork Orange and The Unforgiven - as you might not have expected there is only one horror movie. The fact is that I love the whole bunch of 80's movies from Craven, Carpenter, Romero, Yuzna and so on. At the moment I watch a lot of independent movies and I must add that some directors are just amazing!

Maurizio likes Alexandre Aja for sure, and he watches every horror movie released!


... and of course, films you really deplore?


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I don't have a film that I deplore because I don't consider myself better that anyone else so I don't judge. What I mean is that I respect whoever is brave enough to take a camera and shoot a film, even if it is a nonsense movie. What I really deplore is the work of some producers/distributors that release bad films only to produce some income. Those movies have a basic plot and ordinary production values that are good enough only to be thrown in the bin. This pisses me off because the mass would say "well, nobody has ideas in the film industry anymore!" But this is wrong, what we really miss is a good production that would helps us to develop our plots and ideas.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Yes, your review was the funniest we had so far! Many thanks! I want to thank our distributor over in the USA, Midnight Releasing, because they have been professional and helpful all the time. As Italians we are used to a different approach when it comes to business issues, so we are very impressed by the American mentality.


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you for your time and stay hounds!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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On the same day
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and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD