Exclusive: Matty Beckerman Talks Alien Abduction and The Brown Mountain Lights Phenomenon

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matty beckerman - Exclusive: Matty Beckerman Talks Alien Abduction and The Brown Mountain Lights PhenomenonMatty Beckerman’s unsettling extraterrestrial thriller, Alien Abduction, will be landing on VOD and in limited theatrical release via IFC Midnight on April 4th and we had a chance to catch up with the director and discuss all things extraterrestrial.

Based around the real-life Brown Mountain Lights phenomenon down in North Carolina, a vacationing family winds up taking a much longer ride than they had planned for. Below, Beckerman himself talks in detail about the film and what inspired him to look up to the stars to find his latest inspiration.

DC: I’ve seen a lot of found footage movies, more than I care to even mention, and few of them were as effective as this one actually is. The Brown Mountain Lights are based on an actual phenomena, correct?

MB: Oh yeah, it’s very very real. I’ve seen the lights myself and taken video of them and pictures of them. It’s completely real.

DC: In the film, when the family first encountered the lights when they’re woken up in the middle of the night… is that how the lights actually appear or is that more of your spin on things?

MB: No, that’s what they look like. They are about four or five feet wide and they shoot off in different directions and they float above the mountain line. It’s completely freaky.

DC: When you decided to do a movie about this, what made you feel like the found footage way was the way to go as opposed to more of a narrative structure?

MB: Well, I met with a psychologist who had a patient that was autistic and this patient brought a video camera everywhere he went. That was the way he was able to communicate with the rest of the world and really connect with people was by using this video camera. And I thought it was a terrific medium to tell this story.

DC: It was one of the few found footage movies I’ve seen where there was actually a reason for the camera to be rolling. In terms of creature design, they were all practical, right?

MB: Yeah, everything we did, we had such a small budget we couldn’t afford CG. So, everything we did was all practical and I like the practical stuff more. It looks more authentic and you get that real feeling that something’s actually in the room, it doesn’t move awkwardly. It’s a completely realistic feeling. The actors can react to it the right way, too.

DC: Speaking of the actors, in a lot of found footage some of the dialogue is improvised. Was this scripted? Did you give them an outline?

MB: We had a whole script written but we went off script I’d say 90 percent of them time. We had to get from point A to point B and we gave the actors enough room to improvise and really get into who these characters were. And most of these characters are really just the same people who were the actors. There’s no real difference between them and the people they were playing. It was easy for them to do this ad-libbing.

DC: It all comes off as very natural. Joshua P. Warren, a noted Brown Mountain Lights investigator, appears in the film… did you interview him specifically for the movie or was that pre-existing footage?

MB: No, I interviewed him and all the locals up there, and the scientist at Appalachian State University – the Professor of Physics and Astronomy. Those are real people who have witnessed the lights and know all about it. I interviewed a bunch of locals, too, who claim they’ve been abducted there, who know the lights. That’s all real footage, it’s all authentic … Some people refused to let me put it out because they claim they’d been abducted there, including police officers. These aren’t people who are wacko’s, they’re people who have jobs and who have lives.

DC: Was the flick filmed on location?

MB: It was. Everything was filmed where the real lights are see: Burke County, North Carolina; in Avery County, North Carolina; in Watauga County, North Carolina; and in Bryson City.

DC: Did you guys see anything while you were filming?

MB: Yeah! Totally. I took the whole crew there and we witnessed the lights one night and actually took pictures of it. I put the pictures up on my personal website and put a little blog together on it and the pictures are up there, you can take a look.

DC: Will we be seeing some of this stuff on the DVD extras when we cross that bridge?

MB: I hope so. I just put this EPK of behind-the-scenes stuff together and we’ll see what makes it and what doesn’t.

Again, Alien Abduction, will be landing on VOD and in limited theatrical release via IFC Midnight on April 4th. Don’t get abducted!

Written by Robert Lewis, Alien Abduction stars Katherine Sigismund, Corey Eid, Riley Polanski, Jillian Clare, Jeff Bowser, and Peter Holden.

A terrifying sci-fi story inspired by dramatic found footage, Alien Abduction preys on our fear of the unknown as we follow an average American family who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

While driving to a campsite in the Brown Mountains of North Carolina, the Morris family’s GPS malfunctions, and they are lead to a remote tunnel surrounded by abandoned vehicles. The father, Peter Morris, is abducted, leaving his traumatized wife and children to flee and seek refuge in a nearby cabin. There they are horrified to learn that strange lights in the nearby mountains have been linked to alien abduction and human sacrifice for centuries.

When their attempts to alert the authorities are intercepted by the deadly extraterrestrial threat, the surviving members of the family find themselves under siege. A brutal and bloody attack unfolds as we witness the horrors through the lens of the youngest child’s video camera.

Learn more over on Alien Abduction‘s viral website!

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Written by Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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