Armed Response: Producing Action for the Web
This session is presented by SXSW Film and is open to Interactive, Film, Gold and Platinum badges.
Armed Response is an action series about a SWAT team battling a Mexican cartel at the Port of Long Beach. The series is told from the POV of helmet and security cameras. The idea is to combine a video game aesthetic with the amateur news genre popularized by Wikileaks or the Thai/Japanese tsunamis, to create a new take on found footage genre and a more authentic and lower cost way of producing action for the web.
This panel will include director Justin Lutsky, writer Matt Michnovetz (24), and execs from SXM and Break Media to discuss producing action on low budgets, capturing the young male audience and combining popular genres unique to the internet such as citizen journalism, combat footage and first person shooter machinima. Armed Response was produced by SXM in October 2012, it will be released by Break Media in 2013 but not before SXSW so this panel will be an exclusive opportunity to debut/announce the series and show clips from the series itself.
Greg Siegel is SVP Entertainment Development at Break Media, where he leads the company’s entertainment partnerships, premium content production, and film & television initiatives. Greg was previously a talent agent for twelve years at the Endeavor Agency.
Justin Lutsky is an accomplished filmmaker, passionate about storytelling with a particular enthusiasm for the action/thriller and action/comedy genres. An Orange County native, Lutsky graduated from Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts summa cum laude in ’05 where he was mentored by acclaimed directors William Friedkin and Carl Franklin. In 2007, Lutsky was hand selected by Steven Spielberg as one of the top 20 filmmakers from over 12,000 applicants to take part in Mark Burnett’s new reality television show “On The Lot” airing on FOX. In 2009, he premiered his action-comedy short film at Paramount Pictures Studios, “The Action Hero’s Guide to Saving Lives” starring Patrick Warburton and shortly thereafter found representation with managers at Heroes and Villains. His body of work has been recognized for its excellence and ambition by industry icons such as Rob Cohen, Brett Ratner, Carrie Fisher, Garry Marhsall and Jon Avnet and has screened in festivals around the world and for audiences at the Director’s Guild of America.
Most notable awards include the LA Comedy Shorts Fest Funny or Die Best-of-Fest award, the Houston WorldFest Special Jury award, the June Lockhart Special Achievement in Film award and numerous festival Best Short Film and Director’s Choice awards for his action-comedies, “Bon Appetit” and “The Action Hero’s Guide To Saving Lives”.
Most recently Lutsky completed directing the Break.com web-series "Armed Response". He also worked with Quirk Books to created a series of on-line book trailers, including the hugely-popular “Night of the Living Trekkies”, he collaborated with acclaimed director Rob Cohen as an editor on several Coca-Cola commercial spots as well as a pilot for the Speed Channel, and he served as 2nd unit director on the highly-anticipated web-series “Dr0ne” produced by Justin Linn. Currently, Lutsky is developing a number of feature length screenplays and high-concept web-series with plans to direct.
Matt Michnovetz is currently the Head Writer for the television series, "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." He is also the writer for the forthcoming Lucasarts videogame, "Star Wars: 1313." Previously, he was a Writer and Story Editor for the Emmy-winning series "24", also nominated for the WGA Award for Best Dramatic Series.
He recently completed writing and producing the Break.com web-series "Armed Response", as well as the Sony Crackle web-series "The Unknown" and My Damn Channel’s web-series, "Dicki." He has been published in Esquire magazine as well as 24: The Official Magazine.
Matt graduated from Emerson College in Boston and now lives in Los Angeles.
Thomas Bannister founded SXM in 2008. He recently created Break Media's Armed Response and VEVO's upcoming series The Comment Show. Through SXM Thomas has also produced top digital series including CTRL, Fact Checkers Unit, Easy To Assemble, Matumbo Goldberg, Kitchen Jam, Diagnosis Stories, Extreme Retreat and a series of high profile Samsung commercials starring and directed by James Franco . Thomas has worked with companies such as Disney,NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, IKEA, Samsung, Intel, Coca-Cola and Smuckers. His series have received awards at BANFF, NATPE and The Webbys.