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Max Cerchi Chats About His Movies & His Deal with Sub Rosa Studios PDF Print E-mail
Written by by Wendell Redding   
Jan 07, 2005 at 02:00 AM
Dark Gallery) You were born in Italy. What was your childhood like and how did you get bitten by the 'film bug'? What filmmakers inspire you the most? Max Cerchi) My childhood was a typical childhood. I always liked playing with the "Big Jim" (older version of the now famous G.I. Joe) and I loved to create horror stories. I remember that I always liked the villains and the hero was always losing after some incredible torture ! When I was 13 my father gave me for my birthday a videocamera and was then the "film bug" bitten me !
The filmmakers who inspired me the most were Tobe Hooper, sam Raimi and Wes Craven (The Hills have eyes) ; I remember seeing Michael Berryman in that movie for the first time and I always wanted to meet him. He's now one of my best friend !

DG) You moved to LA when you were 17 and learned the business of producing and directing because you had such a passion for it. What movies did you work on and whom did you work with?
MC) When I moved in LA for studing movie production, I already read almost everything that my hand (and money!) was able to acquire. I studied with Dov S-S Simens now founder of The Hollywood Film Institute and I realized many short film shoots on video (Hi-8). My first full-length movie was shot on the same format, the title was "Brain Master" and was shoot in Italy, in Italian, and still not released in the USA.

DG) Your first flick was the 35mm PLANKTON, which you went back to Italy to shoot. What was that film about and how did you raise the money to get it filmed?
MC) After I came back from LA, I moved in Rome and I produced the above mentioned movie "Brain Master". I needed some special effects and I meet Alvaro Passeri, who had (and still have!) a very big studios near Rome. When I went there, I saw that he was starting to prepare his first movie (Plankton) and he was the producer/writer and special effect artist on this one. I told him if I can be the director on his movie, I explained him that I just came back one month ago from LA and he was interested, the only 2 options were : a) I will be not getting paid and b) I will be un-credited since he wanted to have his name on the credit as director as well. Since that was my first movie on 35mm I accepted. Plankton is now disitirubted on DVD under the title "Creature from the Abyss"

DG) After PLANKTON, you ended up in NY and continued making films. Tell us about the movies you shot and what format(s) you used.
MC) I moved in NY and there I opened my company, Rounds Entertainment. The first movie that I shot was "Satan Claus" (Hi-8) After that I shot HELLINGER (digital) and than Kendall Ransom : Bounty Hunter (still not released)

DG) What inspired SATAN CLAUS? It looks like a throwback to the classic slasher Santa movies like SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT and other axe-wielding Santa movies.
MC) Satan Claus is exactly a throwback to the classic slasher Santa Movies. The thing that inspired me to shoot it was that I wanted a movie that will keep renting (and selling) every Christmas,hopefully to a cult status, a sort of the movie Halloween that is rented every Halloween.

DG) Like many indie filmmakers, you ended up forming your own production and distribution company (based out of Las Vegas) called ROUNDS ENTERTAINMENT. How did that evolve?
MC) My first company was based in Rome under the moniker FilmVision, then in NY became Rounds Entertainment. The reason why I opened, at the time, the distribution division, was that I was bored with the distributors that try to rip you off. I had a very bad experience with Troma, they wanted the movie, Lloyd was co-producer with me but when the movie was finished, it was put on the shelf waiting for the "right time" to be released. Since acting like that was a breach of contract, I asked for the movie back but I was told that the movie will be released to me if I will give them 3 thousand dollar for "expenses" (!) Since no expenses were made, I contact my lawyer and I was able to have my movie back !

DG) You also acquired many films like FEEDERS and did quite well with them. Tell us about your experiences in the distribution world. You've done some phenomenal numbers with some of your titles, getting them into some of the bigger video chains...
MC) Rounds Entertainment was, at the very beginning, born to be an international distirbution company. We attended the Mifed in italy and the AFM in LA (and was in both market that I made all my contacts!) we were handling movies for Salt City Home Video (the now Sub Rosa) and J.R. Bookwalter (Tempe) plus other producers. With time we were able to have some of our titles in videostores, our biggest hit is our CARANGE ROAD, we have sold more then 10 thousand units , mostly through Hollywood Video, and we are still selling it !

DG) How many movies have you written and directed yourself up to this point and which one is your favorite?
MC) I have a total of 25 movies (most of them still on paper though!) and 3 of them are my favourite : The action-western "The Last Round" ; the horror "Necrodemon" (starring Michael Berryman) and Carnage Road. The first two are still screenplay, sooner or later they will be (hopefully!) shot.

DG) What formats do you shoot your movies on, and what are the pros and cons of using this equipment?
MC) I shot all my movies on digital video. I'm using a Sony VX-1000 with separate mic and recorder (minidiscs). All my movies are edited on AVID machines. The pro are the low cost for making them. The cons are that are not shot on film ! ?

DG) One of your recent films, CARNAGE ROAD, looks to be a throwback to the old 70's slasher flicks like HILLS HAVE EYES and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. There's also a killer called Quiltface in it. Tell us about this movie and how it came about. And will there be a sequel?
MC) The story of CARNAGE ROAD came to me in one night. I sat down in front of the computer and I had it done in 3 hrs. I then sent the story to my friends Mark and John Polonia. John was interested and he wrote the screenplay for me in 3 days. It was shoot 2 month after and, to date, it's my favorite movie ! The sequel is ready on paper, my good friend Gary Lumpp wrote it for me and it will be shot soon ! I have in mind to shoot another mvoie before it, it's called PURGATORY and it will be a "mental abuse" movie. I can't say more !

DG) It was recently announced that SUB ROSA STUDIOS would be acquiring most of your catalog product and distributing your future stuff. How and why did this come about? Are you exiting the distribution business to concentrate more on filmmaking?
MC) That's correct. I know Ron Bonk for 8 yrs now and I had no problem giving him ALL my catalog for distribution, since I will be concentrating more in the production field and international disitribution. I just signed a contract with a company from Thailand that want me to produce/direct 4 movies at year (horror) just for the Asian markets plus I will produce (hopefully!) 4 more movie at year for the american and international markets.

DG) You've noted that you'd also like to do movies in other genres, such as Westerns. What's the future hold for you in terms of filmmaking?
MC) Hopefully a good future. I really enjoy what I do and I have no problem working for what I believe in !

DG) Anything you'd care to add?
MC) Support the independent filmmakers!

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