When we first heard about the upcoming indie creature feature Itsy Bitsy, the writers at PopHorror were pretty pumped to see this arachnophobic’s nightmare of a film come to fruition. And who better to chat about the film than the director himself, Micah Gallo? We asked Micah about his filmmaking fervor, his dreams for his debut feature film, and where his horror passions lie.
PopHorror: Thanks so much for takiing the time to talk with us about your film! First of all, what got you into filmmaking?
Micah Gallo: Movies were what everyone did in my house. Back then in a small town like Merced, seems like we went to the movies every weekend, sometimes more than once in a day. And we were watching TV or videocassettes every night. On top of that, my dad had a camcorder, so we’d shoot little skits in the backyard and I was always pushing my way into being in charge of whatever the game was. I loved telling stories and playing make believe characters or games.
PopHorror: Did you go to school for film or are you completely self taught?
Micah Gallo: I went to USC but didn’t get into the film school as a Freshman. I went anyway because some of my heroes had gone there. Mostly what I learned was film history and politics. USC felt a lot like Hollywood, which was a good learning experience for me, even though I made mistakes. That’s the great thing about school, I think, making mistakes either in making films or in politics. Learning from those mistakes helped me not make them in the real world when it really mattered. For me though, most of my film knowledge is self taught. There’s no substitute for following your own interests and just making content.
PopHorror: That’s true. Experience is definitely the best teacher. I see that one of the first films you had ever worked on was Adam Green’s Hatchet. How did that come about?
Micah Gallo: I had met Adam through my friend Spooky Dan and Adam introduced me to Tyler Hawes as a colorist for a film I had directed called Wick. Tyler then approached me, asking if I had leads for producers for his post-production services. I gave him a list. Then he said, “No, I mean you.” I said I wasn’t interested but he talked me into it. Over four years, we built the business from nothing and worked on over 40 feature films in post. But it was really Tyler who knew Adam.
PopHorror: You’ve worked in a few Adam Green films since then. What’s it like working with Adam?
Micah Gallo: Tyler was mainly working with Adam. I had a lot of dealings with Hatchet producer Cory Neal. So that’s really how I met Cory, who worked with me on Itsy Bitsy.
PopHorror: There’s nothing like making connections, that’s for sure. Speaking of Itsy Bitsy, congratulations! This is your feature film directorial debut – wow, that’s a mouthful (laughs). You also helped co-write the script. Can you tell our readers a bit about Itsy Bitsy? What’s the film about?
Micah Gallo: It’s a fun, high-concept creature film. Mainly the scares are built on suspense and psychological tension. A lot of Hitchcock or John Carpenter techniques. But at its heart, it’s a human drama and that’s what I’m most proud of. We spent a lot of time reworking the screenplay until we had the human drama figured out. It’s easy to come up with scary set pieces. What took time was finding the characters. Ultimately, this is a film about fractured families and past trauma. It’s hopeful though. By working together as people, we become stronger. We aren’t alone. We just feel alone sometimes.
PopHorror: Where did you get the idea for the film?
Micah Gallo: I had the high concept almost 10 years ago or more. I hadn’t seen anything with spiders done the way I found scary. I wanted to see my spider nightmares up on screen.
PopHorror: There’s nothing like seeing your own Hell on earth portrayed right up there on all of its blood-soaked glory! What was it like working with Pet Sematary’s Denise Crosby and Oscar nominated Bruce Davison (Insidious: The Last Key 2018)?
Micah Gallo: They are very different actors who take up different considerations. Both are absolutely wonderful to work with. I really appreciate the trust they put in me, being a first time filmmaker. They both brought so much to their roles and I think their fans will be very pleased with their performances in the film.
PopHorror: When and where can our readers expect to see Itsy Bitsy?
Micah Gallo: If we get the funding we need for post from our Kickstarter campaign, then early 2018.
PopHorror: Many of your projects – at least so far – have been horror related. What draws you to horror?
Micah Gallo: I love surreal horror. Films like Nightmare on Elm Street or Evil Dead 2 or Hellraiser or The Thing. They stuck with me because of the imaginations driving through them. It’s like sharing a nightmare that you never forget. And of course, like many humans, I’m fascinated and horrified by the fact that we all will die. It’s the thing we all know but don’t want to talk about any more than necessary. That’s the beauty of a horror film, being able to explore those ideas that are taboo.
PopHorror: Have you ever thought about stepping in front of the camera?
PopHorror would like to thank Micah Gallo once again for taking the time to answer some of our questions. If you’re interested in seeing Itsy Bitsy finished, don’t forget to check out their Kickstarter link to see what you can do to help.
From Micah Gallo:
“We still need help! Kickstarter is all or nothing, so we need people’s support in order to deliver on the scares promised in the trailer and to show this film to audiences in early 2018. This is a truly indie movie, made outside the Hollywood system, and we’ve created some cool prizes such as artwork from Michael Peak (the man who drew the poster for the original Nightmare on Elm Street release), to make it fun to contribute. Even sharing with your friends helps a lot!”
So don’t be shy. Head on over and find out how much even a little bit helps!