Exclusive Interview: Director Micah Gallo Talks New Giant Spider Movie ITSY BITSY

ITSY BITSY follows a single mother, Kara (Elizabeth Roberts), who moves from New York to the quiet countryside with her two children for a job opportunity she can’t afford to turn down. The family moves into their humble new guesthouse, where her teenage son, Jesse (Arman Darbo), begins the unhappy task of looking after his little sister, Cambria (Chloe Perrin). Kara begins her work as a private nurse to Walter (Bruce Davison), a man stricken with multiple sclerosis and an appraiser of rare antiquities … but Walter’s secret past soon invites doom and terror. Jesse discovers a mysterious relic of ancient origin that had been brought to the household by Ahkeeba (Treva Etienne), a shady international associate of Walter’s. All too quickly they discover that the relic contains more than just legends and myths. Inside waits a terrifying creature born of ancient darkness and pure instinct: a prehistoric cave spider unlike the modern world has ever seen.

Director Micah Gallo‘s fantastic new creature feature is now playing in select theaters and On Demand from Shout! Studios and Scream Factory. He was kind enough to let me ask him some questions about his giant spider movie that’s definitely worth checking out. Thanks for checking out the interview and remember to put Itsy Bitsy on your watch list.

Alien Bee – First off, congrats on the successful crowdfunding campaign that I was so happy to be a small part of. This is what first got my attention for Itsy Bitsy way back!

Micah Gallo – Thanks ! We were lucky to have such a huge groundswell of support. We’ve organically gotten several million views on our trailers. As soon as we posted on iTunes we were in top rankings. People have been so generous and passionate in sharing our film. We’re really lucky!

Alien Bee – I’ve had the opportunity to watch Itsy Bitsy and it definitely has this old school vibe going for it. How would you describe it?

Micah Gallo – Thanks for watching! That’s exactly what we wanted to create. Our taste is old school in every way! We wanted to make something using practical effects and also with a real character focus on all the characters including the Spider. It’s the type of movie we weren’t seeing made anymore and we all loved with the new twist in ours of making it a spider film.

Alien Bee – I really liked the whole mythology that came with the spider because it allowed the creature to have some deep mystery to it. This is something that’s lacking in so many creature features.

Micah Gallo – Oh that’s great to hear. Mythology is so important in these types of movies and stories and it’s a tricky balance. You need a short hand that’s easy to understand and yet it needs to be a little mysterious and, in this day and age, perhaps a little more subtle or socially relevant. I think in a lot of ways, that’s the balance for horror too is keeping that sense of mystery and not over explaining and yet finding elements that are easy to relate to emotionally, whether that be an image or an idea or a circumstance. Something that skips the brain and goes right to the hear or the nervous system!

Alien Bee – The movie has a mixture of old school practical effects and some CGI. How much of each is there because I couldn’t really tell except maybe in one particular scene. It all looked so creepy cool!

Micah Gallo – We hope that’s the experience ! I’ve always thought FX are most effective when you switch the technique from shot to shot. I think subliminally CG can be beautiful but doesn’t feel real whereas if you change the technique constantly subliminally the brain stops trying to guess the trick and settles into the story and the other aspects of the film. You kind of give up guessing or buy in, which is freeing. To me that’s only something films that use practical effects first and foremost can achieve so we always started there and then like any performance or any other aspect of the film we built on that and added a dash of this or that. The goal was always how do we get the best performance. Just like any other actor in the film.

Alien Bee – Okay, you’re a visual effects artist by trade. (hope I got that title right?) I know you’ve directed a few short films but this was your directorial debut as far as feature films go. How was your experience?

Micah Gallo – Really a lot of my experience in VFX was more like a director or producer anyways. Mostly what I would do is manage a team or person. Facilitate communication between people. Find the right people. Keep things on track or on budget. When I ran my post production company with Tyler Hawes those types of tasks were my job and from that standpoint really is no different from directing and producing a film. Only at that time we’d be working on multiple films at once whereas in this case I was only working on Itsy Bitsy. Making an indie film with very little money though always takes extra energy though because there’s never enough time or money or planning and it takes some diplomatic prodding to get people to agree to go above and beyond which is what it takes to make something quality.

Alien Bee – You’ve pretty much done it all behind-the camera now. What would you say your favorite thing to do is?

Micah Gallo – My favorite thing by far is being on set as a director. I would love to do something like tv work where I could just focus on that part of it even more. On an indie movie so much time is spent in some form of soft pre-production or in post. It’s on set where I’m happiest and feel most at ease. I can’t even explain it logically but when I’m on a set directing I have the irrational belief deep in my bones that everything is going to be fine. I feel confident in a way that I don’t in other aspects of my life, like I’ll always know what to do and be able to deal with whatever comes. It’s such a satisfying feeling and yet such a small part time-wise of a film like this.

Alien Bee – You have a great cast! How was it working with your two young actors because sometimes it can get a little difficult and stressful with a much younger cast.

Micah Gallo – The only thing stressful about it was scheduling. In order to make our days with all the elements and factors it took some extra planning details from myself and our AD and DP. So how we dealt with that was especially when it came to the FX days just planning every detail carefully. That allowed us to move through scenes more efficiently. But working with Arman and Chloe was always a joy. Most of my job in directing actors is providing them what they need to get to the place they need to be. That’s actually much easier with younger people because they are still so in touch with their imaginations and usually have less inhibitions. So from that standpoint it actually takes much more work with adult actors. Adults have more experiences and habits that can be good but when it’s not, it’s just more that has to be penetrated or released in order to get where they need to be.

Alien Bee – What would you say the most rewarding and challenging experiences were with Itsy Bitsy?

Micah Gallo – To be honest finishing and releasing the film. And then to be able to see it in a theater and see how passionate most people are about sharing it. Indie movies are tough and especially this type of film that has a lot of complicated aspects to it. There were times when I myself and others wasn’t sure if we’d get there. So it’s vindicating to have it out there and to know that it has fans already who really enjoy it. It’s a dream fulfilled in that respect.

Alien Bee – Are you up for Itsy Bitsy 2? I am!

Micah Gallo – Let’s do it! When do we start shooting?!

Alien Bee – Thanks so much for taking the time to let me ask you some questions!

Micah Gallo – Thanks so much for your thoughtful questions. I’ve enjoyed speaking with you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

There are no comments, yet.

Why don’t you be the first? Come on, you know you want to!

Leave a Comment