Interview with Mike Pecci | By Shawn Sixx
Veteran photographer and director Mike Pecci is embarking on a new feature film called 12 Kilometers. The horror film is based off a flood of nightmares Pecci suffered from after a recent accidental head trauma. The film takes us back in time to an 80’s era Russian drilling team that has gone deeper than the world has ever gone. Deep in the strata though lurks a true nightmare, one that is just waiting to hear our screams.
With 13 years of critically acclaimed work behind the lens as a photographer and film director, Pecci is no stranger to the world of art through film and images. Producing some of the most conceptual and introspective video work out there recently, Pecci has been the partner in crime with veteran and acclaimed Boston musician, producer and director Ian McFarland at McFarland and Pecci studios. Their work has been honored with placement within the MTV Top 25 Hard Rock music videos for 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 along with being part of the website Video Static’s top 20 videos for 2011. That put their work up there with the likes of videos for artist such as The Foo Fighters and Beyoncé. To top it off, their most recent production of the video “In Due Time“ for Boston based metal band Killswitch Engage was nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award! Along with many other projects and ventures for leaders of industry and regional music cultural media outlets, this team is leading the way for the next wave of art legends.
Now as anticipated as this project is and world renowned as the studio is, Pecci, McFarland and crew could use some help from YOU. They have a kickstarter fund going to help offset some of the cost to make this film the unnerving shit you have even experienced. Go to the link below and help be part of it!
I also had a moment to ask Mike Pecci a few questions about his project too…be on the look out for further features on Mike and the great team at McFarland and Pecci.
Out of an injury this all started, you slipped on the ice? What happened?
Well, to be honest, it all started with a girl. (Laughs) Isn’t that how every one of these stories starts? My girlfriend wanted me to go ice staking with her, and I had been avoiding it simply because at 35 years old, I had never been ice-skating. Ever. After much prodding I slipped on the ice skates and looked out on the busy ice rink. I watched 10 year olds skate past, twirling, and jumping. “I can do this!” I stepped out on the ice and a moment later my feet slipped out from under me and I heard a noise that sounded like an old oak barrel cracking. I opened my eyes, in what seemed to be seconds later, and found myself in intensive care. That was the beginning.
Do you believe that something was stirred up in your body that brought this imagined nightmare to light, kinda like the characters in the film stirred up the black fluid?
I believe that I had all these ideas floating around in my brain for years. The accident just brought them all together. The dreams. The hallucinations. The nightmares. They all became the thread for these stories I wanted to tell.
Why the 80’s? Is there something that just felt like 30 years prior or was there some part of your subconscious that associated this type of nightmare to that time?
I was a kid in the 80’s. That’s when I saw my first horror films. Now whenever I sit down to watch an old John Carpenter movie or the original Nightmare on Elm Street I feel like I’m a kid again, waiting to be scared. I want the film to scare me. So the 80’s was a no brainer. Now the events that the film is based on, the drilling the deepest hole known to man, well that also happened in the 80’s in Russia. Perfect right? Yea, that’s why I’m excited!
Tell me about what you are bringing from the music video world to this film.
All those cool tricks that we have learned. I started as a horror director, so when Ian McFarland and I teamed up to direct music videos that was always in my brain. Watch Fear Factory’s “Fear Campaign“ video or the “Bleed“ video we did for Meshuggah. I learned a lot about how to scare folks with a limited budget. All those tricks are circling around in the ol’ noggin while I plan out this movie.
Is there a risk of music video overtones to this project?
One of the big parts about this prologue is the sound design. The monster is awakened by sound. I need to create a sound so frightening, that the audience covers their ears. Will that be influenced by music? Yes. Are we talking to some amazing musicians to help us? Yes. Can I tell you who? Not yet. Did that answer your question? (Laughs)
You say you are using retro image style to this film, like it could be on an 80’s era Video shelf. How does the microphotography blend into that?
Microphotography introduced us to this unknown world that exists all around us. Under our fingertips, on the surface of tables, and under your shoes. It’s a germaphobe’s worst nightmare! Shooting everything in camera gives us the opportunity to be inspired by mistakes. I don’t know how many times we have accidentally stumbled across the coolest shot while setting up for something else. Hell, the shot in the films teaser, where we pan across the macro-landscape was a total find on set! I feel like a lot of the effects from the 80’s were found that way too. An effect that reacts differently, a stunt that goes wrong, and it ends up being the awesome part of the movie. A lot of films today and filmmakers are trying to make shit too perfect, too wrinkle free. They iron the life out of their films. Kill the originality. Watch the new teaser we released and let me know what you think:
There are some big names associated with this film. Can we expect any well know cast members? Anyone from you and your partner (well- known Boston musician) Ian McFarland’s music connections?
We are definitely working on some cameos, but since the film takes place in Russia we are casting Russian actors. A few fantastic ones! It’s a great chance for actors who are normally cast as a henchman, or a bad guy, to play some interesting roles. But don’t be surprised if you see some familiar faces. I love working with musicians. I recently did a commercial that starred Jesse from Killswitch Engage. That dude is fantastic!
Do you think there is a connection to music and horror in the Boston area?
Boston or Massachusetts rather has always had a great metal scene. A few years ago I was asked to be a part of the Rock & Shock convention and that was a wild mix of horror and rock and roll. The fans definitely cross over. Look at Rob Zombie!
When can we expect this feature film to be completed and released if all goes well and according to plan?
First step is shooting the prologue. The Russian story is a 22-minute backstory that will be used to help finance the feature. The feature film script is almost complete and I hope to jump into that after we finish the prologue. We start shooting the Russian segment in October, and it will take a few months to turn around. All the folks that pledge to be a part of “The Directors Inner Circle” on the kickstarter get to go on the ride with me through the entire process. It’s a blast!
Have the nightmares stopped yet?
No. They continue. Continue to inspire. Continue to scare the shit out of me!
Donate to the 12 Kilometers Kickstarter: