Posts Tagged ‘John Blythe’

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A Look Inside: Producer’s Q&A

by Michelle Paster
September 9th, 2011

Associate Producer, Michelle Paster, throws Q&A towards the Producers: John Blythe and Andrea Adams.

Michelle Paster: Why Amityville – why did you decide to get involved in the project?

John Blythe: I am an entrepreneurial film producer and am President of Film Regions International, Inc. I’ve always had appreciation of ‘haunted house’ stories such as House of Haunted HillThe House That Dripped BloodPoltergeist and 1979’s The Amityville Horror starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder. My Amityville Horror is a documentary; not a horror flick, but I believe the horror audience will appreciate it.

How I became involved with this project is unique. I had remembered this Unsolved Mysteries case I saw at an early age involving an alleged haunted house in Horicon, Wisconsin back in the late 1980’s. So in June, 2009, I was researching this story and came across an editorial by a filmmaker named Eric Walter, which he was discussing the similarities to that story with the infamous Amityville story.

When I emailed Eric, I indicated the Horicon story would make a great horror film, and it was something that I had thought about wanting to put on FRI’s future film slate. It was when I realized he was living in Santa Monica that we both met up and discussed that particular story. During the course of our discussion, he had indicated that he was in communication with an “unnamed person” who was somehow involved in the Amityville case. Eric would be flying to New York to meet this person.

About a month had passed and we met up again and he stated this “person” was Daniel Lutz, one of the children who lived in the actual Amityville house on Long Island. This house haunting inspired the best selling novel and the entire film franchise. Seeing that this was an untold story about an already world renowned case, sparked my interest. I offered for Eric to join my company in order to raise enough financing to get the project off the ground.

Andrea Adams: I was working a day job in development that I felt underappreciated in and so therefore, it was becoming thankless. One weekend, a college friend, Nate Hoeft, asked if I might be interested in meeting with his friend, who was looking for a producer for a documentary he was doing. Having produced many independent projects in my spare time, I was intrigued but somewhat turned off by the documentary aspect, figuring it was a dry topic. However, when I met Eric and John, they pitched me their vision and showed me a seven minute sizzle reel of Daniel Lutz. I was captivated by the subject, the inherent interest in Amityville, as well as Eric’s intensity and knowledge about the subject.

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From the Outside Looking In

by Joe Zohar
July 27th, 2011

My long time friend and colleague, Andrea Adams, called me up asking if I would be interested in shooting content for a feature length documentary, My Amityville Horror. Needless to say, projects like this don’t come around very often, so I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know more. After being really impressed with the teaser trailer, I spoke to Andrea and told her I was in.

From working with Andrea in the past, I knew she wasn’t into wasting her time, so when she says to me, “I am really excited about this project and know you will get along great with the director,” I knew I’d be joining something special and interesting. Shortly thereafter, I talked over the phone with Eric Walter, the director of the film. Our talks were very concise and to the point. He knew what he wanted and communicated it very well, trusting that I would do my thing on the word of his direction. The stage was set and I was excited.

February 15th comes and I’m twenty minutes late for meeting Andrea at NYC’s downtown subway station. Upon my arrival to her happy, yet obviously “in the mode” essence one has during production, I was introduced to John Blythe, the other primary producer of the film. It only took a few lines of dialogue for me to tell that John, although not directly involved in the technical aspects of film, loved and respected the craft of filmmaking. Needless to say, it made me feel great about the administrative production team and was pumped to meet Eric and the rest of the crew.

Upon our arrival to the hotel in Queens, I was greeted by Eric and Danny Lutz and was brought up to speed about the project and what we’d be getting into on location. It was as easy talking with Eric in person as it was over the phone. Danny proved to be as interesting as I’d thought he’d be, something I’ll let the film speak for me on. I began to see that this subject’s handling of growing up being involved in America’s most notorious haunting was the air to this Zeppelin we were riding on and was assured it would make for compelling cinema.

After meeting the rest of the crew, I knew this production was going to go really well. I had heard the crew was more of a squad, having worked together on countless productions. Being the odd man coming into a family of technical people can be so many things: a nightmare, awkward, isolating, just to name a few. My experience was anything but that. All the guys were very welcoming, easy to work with, great sense of humor, not to mention technically proficient and amazing at what they do. Aside from minor setbacks, I thought all the shoots went incredibly well. The footage looked gorgeous and I couldn’t wait to see it all in context.

I thrive on productions where crew members specialize in their field and can trust one another professionally to shoot/record/produce the film as if it were your own. Throughout the shoot, we visited some truly unique locations. From a home filled with stuffed animal heads hunted from all over the world to an 84 year old demonologist’s home who carries with her a relic of Christ’s cross, while living above a museum dedicated to the bizarre and macabre with multiple roosters, cats, and other various animals running around her home that made for intriguing visual subject matter. All this was captured beautifully by Director of Photography, Charlie Anderson, who was shooting on the RED camera like it was an extension of his own being. Charlie was really able to capture the contrast present in all these locations. I could tell cause I was constantly looking over his shoulder saying, “Damn, that looks good.”

After principal photography wrapped, I stayed a few extra days with Eric to capture b-roll of the various locations, including the village of Amityville. During this time, I was really able to connect with Eric and see what he was about as an individual and filmmaker. What I found was somebody I couldn’t believe lived in Los Angeles. He was down to earth, loved early 90′s grunge rock, and wore black with an affinity for literature and challenging cinema. I was glad I got the chance to spend the extra time with him. Eric was incredibly focused during the principal shooting, so I didn’t get the chance to see beyond the surface. After having some time alone and getting a sense for why he wanted to make the film, what he plans on doing with it and how he plans on doing it, I was instilled with an heir of confidence that this film could really go places and peak a lot of people’s interests.

In closing, I love spiritual, supernatural, and ethereal subject matter. I hope all the viewers out there who will see this film will enjoy meeting Danny Lutz, who was only ten years old at the time of the hauntings. I hope the viewers think, question, and debate the experience of what it would be like having an intimate experience with a force so powerful that even forty years later it stays vivid in your mind. Whether you’re a skeptic or believer, this film challenges both. I can only speak for myself in saying that. Whether or not I think Danny Lutz is telling the truth or if the whole Amityille Horror is something that really happened, is entirely beyond the point of how the film should be viewed. The point being that Danny Lutz believes it. Hopefully after you spend some time with him on screen, you’ll have an opinion of your own. Something I feel will be where the success of the film lies.


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Notes from the Producer’s Corner

by Andrea Adams
January 6th, 2011

As an independent producer, I am always looking for new content to work on, preferably commercially viable and sound projects that will align me with interesting people. Obviously this is what everyone desires, so I find myself lucky enough to have a great network of friends and colleagues in the entertainment industry who look out for me in this regard. When an old college buddy informed me that his roommate was looking for someone to come on-board his documentary, a true story involving the Amityville Horror, I was intrigued right off the bat.

I sat down to meet with Eric Walter on a Saturday afternoon. I introduced myself and explained my background a little more. Professionally, I’ve worked all over the industry, from talent management to a major agency and in development for both television and film, as well as continuing to independently produce content from commercials, music videos and film work of varying lengths. In turn, Eric talked about his background and what he envisions for the My Amityville Horror project. I was immediately struck by his knowledge of the Amityville subject as a whole and his palpable excitement for what he is doing and his hopes for what the film will accomplish. He’s clearly an expert and it shows.

After talking for quite some time, Eric sat me down to watch a six minute sizzle reel that he had put together from footage he had previously shot of Danny Lutz. Danny is the eldest son of Kathy and George Lutz (who adopted Danny and his siblings after his marriage to Kathy). It is George and Kathy’s testimony that all of the previous Amityville books and films are based on. I was stunned by how much of an arresting character Danny presents on screen. Honestly, I hadn’t even realized that the six minutes were up – all I could think is that I want to know more about this dude from Long Island who suffered at the hands of a world famous haunting and just now is willing to talk about it. Having only seen the films, I had no idea that the whole issue of the Amityville haunting is as controversial to those it happened to as it is – I really hadn’t thought about how a haunting, that goes on to be famous, and brings those affected by it some iota of fame, would affect anyone, much less the children involved. So many questions came rushing into my head, questions that only Danny will be able to answer. How does he feel about his parents dragging him into this? What actually happened in Amityville? What does he think of the films? Do people know him as “the Amityville kid” and if so, does he like that or abhor being associated with it? All of these questions would only be answered by signing up to help produce the documentary, so after another meeting with Eric and My Amityville Horror‘s third producer, John Blythe, I did just that.

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