DVD box. Designed by Robert Anthony Jr. Photos: James Dimaculangan, Jason Rose.
|Directed by||Matt Pizzolo|
|Produced by||Katie Nisa,|
Kings Mob Productions
|Written by||Matt Pizzolo,|
|Starring|| Carlos Puga,|
David R. Fisher,
|Distributed by||HALO 8 Entertainment|
|January 13, 2006|
Threat (2006) is an independent film about a straightedge "hardcore kid" and a hip hop revolutionary whose friendship is doomed by the intolerance of their respective street tribes. It is an ensemble film of kids living in New York City in the aftermath of 9-11, each of them suffering from a sense of doom brought on by dealing with HIV, racism, sexism, class struggle, and general nihilism. The intellectual issues are played out amid an aesthetic of raw ultraviolence that has earned director Matt Pizzolo both accolades and condemnations (such as Film Threat's rave review stating "great art should assail the status quo, and that is what Pizzolo and Nisa’s film has skillfully accomplished" in contrast to Montreal Film Journal's scathing review saying the film "openly glorifies murderous revolt, literally telling the audience to go out and beat up random people, just because").[ citation needed ] Unlike past urban dramas, the film does not outright condemn its characters' violent outbursts. Although it does show harsh consequences for acts of violence, numerous critics have pointed out that it is unclear whether or not the film intends to glorify violence and/or class conflict.
White, straight edge hardcore kid, Jim (Carlos Puga), and black, hip-hop radical, Fred (Keith Middleton), become friends living on New York's Lower East Side - both of them with the hope that their newfound brotherhood will bring solidarity to their disparate communities. Instead, the alliance triggers a violent race riot that spills into the city streets with devastatingly tragic consequences.
The film was produced by Kings Mob, a team of neophyte filmmakers in their late teen and early 20s. Director Matt Pizzolo was the eldest member of the crew: 21 years old when he wrote the script and 22 when shooting commenced. Pizzolo met filmmaking partner Katie Nisa at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Both were enrolled in the school's Dramatic Writing Program. Pizzolo left the program and lived out of a backpack in Manhattan's Lower East Side while writing the first draft of Threat. [ citation needed ] Still at NYU, Nisa recruited film student Benjamin Brancato to join the project as cinematographer and NYU business school student Carlos Puga to play the lead role. Pizzolo recruited fellow Long Island native Ben Knight who was still a teenager at the time and put him to work as a production designer for the film. Nisa also cast Keith Middleton when she saw him walking on St. Mark's Place. Unknown to Nisa, Middleton was on his way to perform in the popular dance show Stomp. [ citation needed ]
Kings Mob shot the film in a DIY style that sharply contrasted with other more polished independent films of the mid 90s (sometimes referred to as Indiewood). The DIY style focused less on aesthetic and more on authenticity. This style later picked up traction with various DiY-Video movements including the mumblecore scene of the 2000s. Unlike most movies of the DIY-Video era to follow, Threat was shot on 16mm film.
Pizzolo interned at NYC film co-op Film/Video Arts, where he cleaned up after film classes in exchange for free access to cameras and lights while not in use. Nisa waitressed at East Village diner 7A to pay for production supplies that "couldn't be borrowed or stolen." Initially, sound recording was to be handled by one of Nisa's film student friends. When he couldn't make it to the first day of production, he instead gave Nisa a 15-minute lesson on how to run the nagra. She went on to be the film's sole sound recordist for the first months of production. [ citation needed ]
At the start of production, the crew consisted solely of Pizzolo, Nisa, Brancato, and Knight but over the course of production it grew to include over 200 young people from 5 different countries. [ citation needed ]
Although shot without permits on a shoestring budget by a team of non-professional first-time filmmakers, some critics have compared Threat to such iconic films as The Warriors ,Do the Right Thing , American History X , Slacker , Clerks, Romper Stomper , Kids , Doom Generation , and Suburbia . Critical response ranged from "easily one of the most important films of the decade" to "there is no explanation, no logic, and no reckoning."
Produced largely in the New York metalcore and hardcore punk scene, Threat features guest appearances by members of Most Precious Blood from the Trustkill Records label. Trustkill also contributed music to the film's score from Most Precious Blood, Bleeding Through, Eighteen Visions, and Terror. Most of the film's score, however, was composed by Alec Empire and his band Atari Teenage Riot. The score was constructed by jungle-music producer queque.
In keeping with the punk and DiY ideologies of the movie and their production company, Pizzolo and Nisa eschewed distribution offers from Hollywood studios. [ citation needed ] Initially, the film was released as an underground VHS tape and toured across the US and Europe, playing at non-traditional venues such as record stores, hip hop clubs, skateparks, and music festivals. One of the more notable non-traditional screenings took place during the Sundance Film Festival at a Doc Martens shoe store across the street from Sundance's flagship Egyptian Theater. International press for the Sundance screenings launched years of touring which culminated with an appearance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where music-video distributor HIQI Media signed on to distribute the film to theaters. Soon after, Pizzolo formed the punk rock cinema label HALO 8 Entertainment and released Threat on DVD.
In October 2006, Threat won the Grand Prize for Best Feature at the Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In April 2007, Threat won the "First Feature Film - Special Mention" prize at the Rome Independent Film Festival in Rome, Italy.
Threat's soundtrack consists mainly of digital hardcore courtesy of Alec Empire's DHR label, and metalcore courtesy of Trustkill Records. The soundtrack was released by HALO 8 Entertainment in January 2006.
In addition to the Threat soundtrack, Halo8 produced and released the compilation Threat: Music That Inspired the Movie. In the tradition of soundtracks featuring collaborations/remixes, from such films as Spawn and Judgment Night , the album consists of mashups of hardcore punk and metalcore with breakcore. The album was released by HALO 8 Entertainment in January 2006.
Atari Teenage Riot is a German band formed in Berlin in 1992. The name is taken from a Portuguese Joe song entitled "Teenage Riot" from the album Teen-age Riot, with the word 'Atari' added as an Atari ST computer was used to create compositions. Highly political, they fuse left-wing, anarchist, anti-fascist views with punk vocals and a techno sound called digital hardcore, which is a term band member Alec Empire used as the name of his record label.
Hanin Elias is a Syrian German industrial/techno artist. She was a member of Atari Teenage Riot and is now a solo artist.
Digital hardcore is a fusion genre that combines hardcore punk with electronic music genres such as breakbeat, techno, and drum and bass while also drawing on heavy metal and noise music. It typically features fast tempos and aggressive sound samples. The style was pioneered by Alec Empire of the German band Atari Teenage Riot during the early 1990s, and often has sociological or far-left lyrical themes.
Alec Empire is a German experimental electronic musician who is best known as a founding member of the band Atari Teenage Riot, as well as a prolific and distinguished solo artist, producer and DJ. He has released many albums, EPs and singles, some under aliases, and remixed over seventy tracks for various artists including Björk. He was also the driving force behind the creation of the digital hardcore genre, and founded the record labels Digital Hardcore Recordings and Eat Your Heart Out Records.
Digital Hardcore Recordings (DHR) is a record label set up in 1994 by Alec Empire, Joel Amaretto and Pete Lawton. Most of the music is recorded in Berlin, though the label is based in London where the records are mastered and manufactured. The funds for setting up the label came from the payment which Atari Teenage Riot received for their aborted record deal with the major UK record label Phonogram Records.
Bleeding Through is an American metalcore band from Orange County, California. Formed in 1999, the band blended influences stemming from modern hardcore punk, symphonic black metal, and melodic death metal. Although the band was often labeled as simply metalcore, when Brandan Schieppati was asked if he considered Bleeding Through a hardcore band, he said: "I think we're a hardcore band and I'll never say we are a metal band, we're all hardcore kids and we came from the hardcore scene. Ours is just a different version of hardcore, we're trying to do something which adds a different variety to the hardcore scene, which has been sounding the same way for so long."
Most Precious Blood is a hardcore band from New York City, formed from the remnants of the band Indecision. They blend the song structures of hardcore with heavy metal, and the band cites Sick of it All, Aphex Twin, The Sisters Of Mercy, and The Obsessed as influences, among others. They were signed to Trustkill Records until it dissolved in 2010. They are now with Trustkill president Josh Grabelle's new label Bullet Tooth.
EC8OR is a German digital hardcore band founded in 1995 by Patric Catani and Gina V. D'Orio and signed by Alec Empire's Digital Hardcore Recordings record label. The music was in the same vein of Atari Teenage Riot's style of early Breakcore and hardcore techno with a punk edge, which led to EC8OR been overlooked by fans of digital hardcore recordings, but EC8OR employed more low-res ideas as the first album was entirely composed on Amiga 500 and with a microphone.
Intelligence and Sacrifice is a 2001 album by German recording artist Alec Empire. While by no means his first solo album, it was his first full album since the demise of his former band Atari Teenage Riot, and he regarded it as a new beginning, stating that it "feels like this is my first real album". This recording consists of two CDs, each with a significantly different sound. CD 1 is somewhat consistent with the ATR formula while the second disc is entirely electronic with negligible use of vocals.
Delete Yourself! is the debut album by German music group Atari Teenage Riot.
Burn, Berlin, Burn! is a compilation album released by Atari Teenage Riot in 1997. Initially released in the United States by the Beastie Boys' record label Grand Royal, the album is a collection of tracks from their first two albums Delete Yourself! and The Future of War. After Grand Royal Records went defunct, the album was later remastered and re-released on Digital Hardcore Recordings.
Matt Pizzolo is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, comic book writer, playwright, and entrepreneur, best known for his work as writer of the speculative politics comic books Calexit and Young Terrorists, creator of the transmedia franchise Godkiller, writer-director of the indie movie Threat, and director of music videos for Atari Teenage Riot.
HALO-8 Entertainment is a transmedia entertainment company specializing in cinema, documentaries, genre graphic novels, midnight movies, music-driven lifestyle videos, and animation. Its most popular releases include arthouse films Pop Skull and Threat; animated series Godkiller and Xombie; lifestyle-DVD franchise Fitness For Indie Rockers; and documentaries Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, Your Mommy Kills Animals, N.Y.H.C., and Ctrl+Alt+Compete.
Atari Teenage Riot: 1992–2000 is a greatest hits compilation by the seminal digital hardcore band Atari Teenage Riot. The album was released on band member Alec Empire's Digital Hardcore Recordings on 3 July 2006 and features 18 tracks from the band's back catalogue.
American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980–1986 is a documentary directed by Paul Rachman and written by Steven Blush. It is based on the 2001 book American Hardcore: A Tribal History also written by Blush. It was released on September 22, 2006 on a limited basis. The film features some early pioneers of the hardcore punk music scene including Bad Brains, Black Flag, D.O.A., Minor Threat, Minutemen, SSD, and others. It was released on DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on February 20, 2007.
The Future of War is the second studio album by Atari Teenage Riot.
DiY-Fest "the touring carnival of Do-it-Yourself mediamaking" was a festival of ultra-independent movies, books, zines, music, poetry, and performance art that ran from 1999 until 2002.
The following is a list of known recordings by or involving Alec Empire, excluding his work with Atari Teenage Riot.
Revolution Action E.P. is an extended play by the German digital hardcore group Atari Teenage Riot, released in 1999 on 12" vinyl and CD formats to promote the album 60 Second Wipe Out, where the title track originates. Two music videos were produced for the track, one of which was actually banned by MTV. "Revolution Action" was also the name of a tour and live various artist release titled Revolution Action Japan Tour 1999 EP.
Godkiller is a transmedia series of graphic novels, illustrated films, and novels created by filmmaker Matt Pizzolo that tells the stories of human beings caught in the crossfire of warring fallen gods.