HALO 8 Entertainment


HALO-8 Entertainment is an independent film company specializing in genre cinema, documentaries, midnight movies, music-driven lifestyle videos, and animation.[1][2] 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.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

Formed in 2005 by filmmaker Matt Pizzolo and producer Brian Giberson as a film production/marketing/distribution studio, the company has grown to include a comic book/graphic novel publishing division, two DVD Premiere shingles (indie-lifestyle sublabel DiY-Fest Video and cult/exploitation sublabel UnitShifter Films), and fashion/branded-apparel division H8LA. HALO-8's film catalog is split roughly 50/50 between in-house productions and third-party acquisitions.

HALO-8 made a name for itself by championing controversial films such as animal-rights documentary Your Mommy Kills Animals (the film drew the ire of the Center for Consumer Freedom, who waged a legal campaign to block its release) and by developing unique, tech-driven production and distribution strategies such as designing the "illustrated film" format (a cinematic style of limited animation that merges sequential art with 3D CGI, motion graphics and dramatic voice performances in the style of a radio play) and developing the non-linear film format "Ether Films" (which adds hypertext and multi-platform transmedia functionality to film).[14][15][16][17][18][19][20]

Imprints and PartnershipsEdit

Halo-8 comicsEdit

In June 2008, HALO-8 debuted a new comic book publishing arm at Wizard World Chicago with Godkiller (written by Matt Pizzolo, illustrated by then-newcomer Anna Muckcracker).[21]

The following February at Wondercon, Halo-8 unveiled its "illustrated film" format that fuses comic books with cinema and explained Godkiller would be released simultaneously as a print comic book and as episodic illustrated films on shortform DVDs.

In April 2010 at C2E2 in Chicago, Halo-8 premiered the collected Godkiller illustrated film and announced several new comic book series: The Long Knives (a giallo-style revenge adventure written by Pizzolo, illustrated by newcomer Ana Ludeshka), Loaded Bible 2 (continuing the acclaimed Jesus vs vampires series by Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash)), Medusa: Year One (a re-invention of the mythic character as a misunderstood heroine), Godkiller 2 (reuniting Pizzolo and Muckcracker), and Black Sky (a Band of Brothers vs Cthulhu series by Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night)).

First annual Halloween multi-filmmaker showcase DVDEdit

In October 2008, HALO-8 debuted a unique, multi-filmmaker showcase project called Slumber Party Slaughterhouse: The Game, a horror DVD game where each death scene is directed by a different HALO-8 filmmaker and stars actors and actresses from various HALO-8 films. Participating filmmakers included Matt Pizzolo, Doug Sakmann, Joanna Angel, Ramzi Abed, and Kurly Tlapoyawa. Participating actors and actresses included Tiffany Shepis, Masuimi Max, Joanna Angel, Melissa Bacelar, and Katie Nisa. The project premiered at the Halo-8: Films That Kill Halloween festival in Hollywood, where live hosts Joanna Angel, Matt Pizzolo, and Daisy Sparks MC'd the event that mixed pub-trivia style gaming with Rocky Horror-style audience participation.[22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30]

Partnership with Epic Level Entertainment for XombieEdit

In November 2008, HALO-8 announced the acquisition of the Xombie web-series produced by James Farr and Epic Level Entertainment's Cindi Rice and John Frank Rosenblum. The March 31, 2009 release date of the Xombie: Dead on Arrival collected series DVD marked HALO-8's entry into distribution of animated films, which was followed by anime-style adaptations of the comic book series currently published under HALO-8's publishing arm.[31]

Illustrated filmsEdit

Pizzolo and Giberson began developing what they termed "illustrated films" in late 2007, citing influences Liquid Television, the MTV cartoon adaptation of The Maxx, the Berserk anime series, Chris Marker's La jetée, the motion comic Broken Saints, and the experimental cinema of Ralph Bakshi. Since Pizzolo started out as a playwright he was interested in using voice performances to drive the pace and action, while composing the visuals from sequential art illustrations in an experimental cinema style utilizing only subtle pans and zooms. Giberson, an Emmy-winning TV producer, pushed Pizzolo to integrate more elaborate animation. The two developed a style that mixed simple limited-animation puppetry with moments of fully animated 3D-CGI. Pizzolo (a longtime comic book fan who previously worked at St. Mark's Comix and Village Comics in NY) decided the sequential art should be composed as a comic book because it was the ideal workflow for creating sequential art. Pizzolo has made clear that this was all theoretical and they might never have executed on the illustrated film style if he had not discovered Anna Muckcracker and recruited her to illustrate the first project, Godkiller.[32]

Pizzolo told Horror News:[33]

There are lots of reasons [Godkiller was made as an illustrated film], but I think the most important one was really being inspired by Anna Muckcracker's gorgeous artwork. Brian Giberson (my partner at Halo-8) and I had been experimenting with the illustrated film format for a while, but we might still have gone with traditional animation for Godkiller since it's really risky to experiment with a crazy story and a new filmmaking format at the same time. But once I saw Anna's art I knew that no traditional form of animation could do justice to the grimy, textured, surreal aesthetic she created. It was really an artistic choice, because from a business point of view it's just so risky.[34]

Pizzolo has also clarified that the term "illustrated film" was not intended to be a snipe at motion comics, saying he was aware of Broken Saints and has always cited it as an influence but feels motion comics are only one element of the evolving illustrated film style, which is intended to be a constantly evolving multimedia format whose elements are determined by the story rather than the workflow.. He even told Bloody Disgusting that upcoming ill-films may integrate heavily textured live action and be composed for 3D viewing. Pizzolo also says he is a fan of the Watchmen Motion Comic, but that it hadn't been released yet when he, Giberson, and Muckcracker were producing Godkiller. Pizzolo points out that the contemporary motion comics wave is largely influenced by the Watchmen Motion Comic, so motion comics and illustrated films developed simultaneously but separately from one another. He told Bloody Disgusting, "Godkiller was just a slower production than Watchmen because we had to create 200 pages of art and story from the ground up first, rather than starting with one of the greatest comic books ever made as source material. Plus we had a dozen voice performers instead of just one."[35]

Wired asked Pizzolo to explain the differences between motion comics and illustrated films:

In illustrated films, we drive the pace of the storytelling with the dramatic voice performances and the sound design, so that allows us to showcase the illustrations in a way where you can really take a moment to absorb the art in the same way you can when reading a comic book ... Motion comics are closer to a form of limited animation that uses comics as source material. Illustrated films are closer to the experimental cinema of Ralph Bakshi's work, Chris Marker's La jetée or animation like Liquid Television.[36]

Pizzolo, Giberson and actresses Danielle Harris and Tiffany Shepis presented two exclusive preview clips of the Godkiller illustrated film at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors in Los Angeles on April 18, 2009.[37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47]

Due to overwhelming retail demand far beyond studio expectations, the first episodic DVD's street date was delayed a week until October 6, 2009, so enough DVDs could be manufactured to supply stores. Due to retail holiday conflicts, this delay rescheduled the entire release to: Episode 1 Oct 6 2009, Episode 2 Jan 26 2010, Episode 3 April 16, 2010 (with day & date theatrical release of full feature), Complete film on VOD May 25, 2010, and on DVD July 20, 2010.[48]

The complete 75-minute feature Godkiller: Walk Among Us premiered at the C2E2 comic con in Chicago on April 16, 2010, before playing theatrically in 10 cities. On May 25, 2010, it was distributed via cable VOD to 75 million homes.[49][50][51]

Growth of illustrated films divisionEdit

Following the success of Godkiller, HALO-8 ramped up the illustrated film line by growing the slate of its comic book publishing division while also entering into partnerships with other comic book publishers and creators. HALO-8 announced deals to produce illustrated film adaptations of Loaded Bible and Xombie: Reanimated.[52][53]

Shortly after HALO-8 announced the Xombie: Reanimated illustrated film, it was announced DreamWorks SKG is developing a live-action Xombie: Reanimated film to be produced with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.[54]

During Halo-8's panel at WonderCon 2010, Pizzolo unveiled a first look at his giallo animation The Long Knives, which had recently begun production.[55] Two weeks later during Halo-8's panel at C2E2, Pizzolo confirmed his collaboration with Tim Seeley on Loaded Bible[56] and then unveiled two new projects in development: Medusa: Year One[57] and Ben Templesmith's Black Sky.[58][59] In September 2010, MTV Splash Page announced that Pizzolo will direct an illustrated film adaptation of the popular comic book series Hack/Slash.[60] In December 2010, a teaser-trailer was released for the illustrated film Black Sky, illustrated and created by Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Welcome To Hoxford, Choker) and directed by Pizzolo.[61]


In November 2009, HALO-8 launched branded-apparel division H8LA, enlisting stylist Aubrie Davis (formerly of Hot Topic and H&M stores) to join the team as Creative Director. Davis began with a line of T-shirts based on Godkiller. Actors Bill Moseley, Danielle Harris, and Tiffany Shepis served double-duty on Godkiller, performing in the film and modeling the T-shirts for H8LA.[62][63]

Affiliated production companiesEdit









In developmentEdit

External linksEdit

  • http://www.halo8.tv Official site


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