Q&A: Tony Trov and Johnny Zito of Alpha Girls
"There was a ton of research. We spent months playing beer pong, listened to tons of dub step and entered several pillow-fighting competitions."
Q&A: Tony Trov and Johnny Zito of Alpha Girls
As the world's oldest, most exclusive sorority churns out tons of celebrities and politicians, a new young batch of sisters discovers the secret power behind their rituals is actually demonic and a tad bit murderous. No, this isn't a hidden legend of UPenn past, but the plot in local production company South Fellini's Alpha Girls, shot entirely in Philadelphia. With a world premiere at 7 p.m. tomorrow at The Balcony, last summer's production will soon be splattered on screens across the East Coast and elsehwere. Tony Trov and Johnny Zito, the comic artist duo that wrote and directed the film, took time out to sit with City Paper for a brief, snark-tastic gab fest.
City Paper: How much research and first-hand experience went into accurately representing sorority life?
JZ: There was a ton of research. We spent months playing beer pong, listened to tons of dub step and entered several pillow-fighting competitions.
TT: Not to mention the countless panty raids. These were all difficult hurdles but we managed to overcome.
CP: More importantly, what demonic rituals did the crew participate in in order to accurately depict an ancient cult?
TT: Just the usual: burning effigies of Lloyd Kaufman and drinking lots of Kool-Aid.
JZ: Plus we played the White Album backwards after every day of shooting.
CP: With occasional exceptions, females have long been represented as sexualized, helpless victims in the horror genre. How do your lead characters challenge the stereotypical roles of women in these films?
JZ: We try to set character motivations apart from gender. The Alpha Girls are driven by greed — they want the same thing as everyone else: money and power.
TT: The actresses get to be more than victims of torture. Each girl deals with these temptations according to their personality and it gets a few of them killed.
CP: What else sets Alpha Girls aside from the tedium that today's horror flicks have fallen into?
TT: When you tell people that you made a horror film people automatically assume it's some sort of gore porn type of thing. So we stylized our effort with the pink and argyle — made it artsy.
JZ: Alpha Girls is a horror movie with a monster, but it's also about how awful we people can treat each other. Some of the hazing stuff is worse than death.
CP: Many infamous actors and actresses litter the realm of B-movies, especially horror. If you could cast anyone, who would it be?
TT: Debbie Harry.
JZ: Pam Grier.
CP: Has working independently on a low budget or with reliance on Kickstarter hindered your vision?
TT: Working on low-budget projects really forces creativity.
JZ: Embracing our environments instead of fighting them is the best way to make a film.
CP: Tell us about your biggest on-set disaster(s).
JZ: Where to start ... We spent some serious time strapping a camera to a car and when it was finally time to shoot, the car broke down.
TT: Our box truck was towed on the last day and the rental company would not rent us a new one.
CP: Given Philly's reputation for attitude, what was your experience shooting an independent feature in the city?
TT: As long as you lay low and be honest with what you're trying to do, most people are very accommodating.
JZ: This project could never have worked outside of this community of artist and filmmakers. Alpha Girls could have only been made in Philly.
CP: How has the current state of distribution and exhibition influenced your strategy in the release of Alpha Girls?
TT: Our time in comics taught us that everyone consumes media differently and you have to make your product available in as many formats as possible.
JZ: I am a child of the digital revolution. There's no room on my shelf for DVDs but I stream Netflix 24 hours a day. It's all about convenience.
CP: South Fellini has been tied to Philadelphia for years. Is there a possibility of moving on elsewhere?
TT: We want to be the biggest thing in Liechtenstein.
JZ: All my stuff is here.
CP: What future projects can audiences look forward to from South Fellini?
TT: Our first graphic novel was just released though Image Comics. It's called D.O.G.S. of Mars.
JZ: [Cue the action music as he reads description] "Isolated on the farthest frontier of civilization, nocturnal monsters stalk Captain Zoe and the crew of Mars Base Bowie. Lines are drawn and loyalties are tested as dissent grows within the ranks. Faced with mutiny, death and dishonor, Zoe must sacrifice her humanity if she hopes to survive."
CP: Horror geeks might sniff out Alpha Girls' biggest inspirations, but what films were you most determined to AVOID the influence of?
JZ: Schindler's List.
CP: Any surprises in store for the premiere at The Balcony?
TT: A world premiere of Scott Johnston's "Green Slime" monster-music video.
JZ: The first 100 people through the door will receive an Alpha Girls poster signed by the artist, Rahzzah Wundabar of the Philadelphia Wundabars.
Alpha Girls premieres Wed., Oct. 3, 7 p.m., $5, The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St.
- Arts Events
- First Person Fest
- Last Chance
- On the Fringe
- Philly Artists
- The Curator
- Visual Art
- Arts News
- Artist Profile
- Arts Preview
- Street Art
- Been There, Done That
- Big Ups
- LOL With It
- Critical Mass
- Friday Fill-in
- Ice Cubes
- In Memoriam
- Just Do It
- Just Opened
- Art Phag
- Film Fest
- Movie Review
- On set
- 10 Track Mind
- Album Review
- Concert Review
- Local Support
- Now Hear This
- One Track Mind
- Philly Bands
- Somebody Else Was There
- The Showdown
- concert photos
- DJ Nights Blogged
- Night Watch
- Now See This
- Poetic License
- Printed Matter
- What We Heart
- Idol Hands
- Mad Men
- True Blood
- Useless Lost Recaps
- Couch Potato
- Shore Trash
- Turned ONN
- Video Games
- Free Online Game
- PlayStation 2
- The 1-Upper
- Web Junk
- CAGE MATCH
- Free Online Toy
- Weekend Omnibus