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Interview with Tom Botchii, director of Artik
By James Whittington, Wednesday 2nd October 2019
Tom Botchii

Grimmfest 2019 begins tomorrow and Horror will be there bringing you news of all that happens as well as three Facebook Live events on the 4th, 5th and 6th of October.

One of the movies showing is Artik from director Tom Botchii so we chatted to him about this superb, brutal shocker.

HC: Where did the idea for Artik come from?

TB: The idea of Artik came from two things -
1) Getting my car broken into and seeing the initials A-T-K tagged on the wall behind it. When discussing with police they said that stands for a local gang member named ARTIK and when he spray paints ATK it means that you're marked and he or one of the other gang members is coming back to break into your car or house as a means of gang initiation. So, I thought, "whoa what if that's how a serial killer operated?" And that's how Artik came about.
2) Fandom culture and how sometimes people tend to obsess over comic book films even though their life is spiralling out of control. Like they have no base for reality since they are so consumed with their entertainment, they forget they have bills, and a family to care for. So, I wanted this to be part of Artik's story.

HC: Did the script change much during the writing process?

TB: No, I pretty much knew that I wanted a very specific story and the only thing that really changed was the film's presentation once I started the post process.

HC: How did you go about casting the movie?

TB: I just had always wanted to work with Chase Williamson and Lauren Ashley Carter and wanted to see them do a film together. So, I used Artik as the reasoning. Sent a few emails off and we were a go!

HC: The film is bold with lighting that reflects the artwork of the main character, was this hard to achieve?

TB: Yes, this presented a heavy challenge because we were working in very big spaces and needed to shut down lots of incoming light. The goal was to have a look reflective of City Of The Lost Children or Amelie, but dirtier and kind of make it look like it had been ran over by a 70s Grindhouse Film!

HC: This is your first full-length feature, were you nervous your first day on set?

TB: Not really, more so somewhere in the middle of the production. I think when it came to laying out the fight scenes and the heavy stunt work is when I panicked. I hadn't done it on that scale and just wanted everything to go smoothly.

HC: Who drew the artwork?

TB: A great artist named Behnam Merabiani.

HC: The score is amazing, how involved were you with that?

TB: Thank you!! Yes, I got to do a lot on the score. How it'd typically work is I would lay something down and then Corey Wallace would come in and make his magic. A lot of the bigger scores I'm happy to say I had a huge role in, usually coming up up with the guitar lines and sometimes the other elements. Corey tied everything together and definitely took the score to the next level.

HC: You had multiple roles on Artik, how did you manage to juggle them all?

TB: Honestly, it was a lot of work but the truth was the thing that helped me the most was waking up at 4:51am (no really, and yes, I know it's stupidly specific) every day, and working 'til my eyes would start bleeding. So, by trying to do two shifts a day, handling all the annoying work before anybody else woke up and then collaborating when people got up.

HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?

TB: I'm working on a political thriller right now that I'm really excited about, and, there is a short called Goldblooded (about a homeless man that discovers gold flakes in his blood) I did awhile back that I'd love to turn into a feature. So, hopefully I can luck out and one of those projects gets off the ground. I never even thought that I'd get to make one feature, so everything else is a bonus.

HC: Tom Botchii, thank you very much.


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