Amityville Horror's Shattered: Director Ryan Katzenbach Hopes -Part 2 (PHOTOS)

The continuation of Part 1's interview with filmmaker Ryan Katzenbach on his new documentary Shattered Hopes: The True Story of the Amityville Murders (Part 1 found here) continues below. "It depicts the goings-on inside the Amityville, and specifically DeFeo family story, like no film before it," says Katzenbach.

Alexandra Holzer: You have a long and wonderful friendship with the long-time running, all-around amazing veteran actor Edward Asner who narrates this film. How did you two meet?
Ryan Katzenbach: Honestly, I can't even remember the exact details. It was through the "network." Everyone in LA knows someone who knows someone, and someone had told Ed about a script I wrote and he called me ... and I was totally taken aback by the call. So I sent him the script, he liked it, and he committed himself to doing a part in the script. That was about seven, maybe eight years ago, and I am ever amazed and honored and proud to have Ed as a friend, and I am astounded whenever he agrees to do participate in my insanity. I laughed once, when something was going awry on a project, and I said to Ed "I am shocked you sign on for more of my insanity," and he looks at me, and very dry, says "So am I, Katzenbach, so am I."  The first time I met Ed, it was at a bar on Sunset Boulevard in the months after he had read my script. I was very nervous and I walked up to him and introduced myself and he immediately says "Oh, grab a seat and sit down."  He's a very approachable guy, very humble, very generous. In every project I do, there will always and forever be a spot for Ed Asner, should he continue to tolerate the craziness of my endeavors. I've always admired and appreciated the old school Hollywood folks. They're who I really take a shine to. These are the guys like Robert Evans, and of course Ed, and directors like Garry Marshall ... the guys who know that you can have all the stars you want in a project, but if, as Robert Evans says, "it isn't on the page, then you have nothing." There was a great commitment to the material itself ... the story was king and these people were true artisans to their craft. 

AH: What other projects do you have coming in the Hollywood Pipeline and do you see yourself sticking to directing and producing?
RK: I've already started working on 6:38 which will be my next project, which is another documentary I will direct and produce. I began laying groundwork on this over the past months, and feeling my way around this new story. It's a much smaller, more intimate project with less demands than Amityville, so far, anyway.  As far as directing or producing, I can only say that I love both equally. On one token, producing is like a big scavenger hunt .... a hunt for money or resources or equipment or talent ... and that appeals to me .... taking an idea, on a limited budget, and seeing just how resourceful you can be and how far you can take it. But directing is very cool, too. I was really getting my feet wet with Shattered, and I learned a lot about how to direct, and how not to direct. But I enjoyed every moment of working with my actors and my small crew. In the future, I see myself sticking with documentaries, for the time being, though I do have some feature scripts I'd like to pursue, too. I am very much at home with the documentary format, and I'd like to continue to develop my own style for documentary film. In this business, you can never really plan, I guess. You just engage a project, run with it, and see where it carries you ... who can say how far it will go or what doors it might open?


Below, Shattered is broken out into three DVD's and the summaries are as follows:

PART I • FROM HORROR TO HOMICIDE -- A brief recap of the events that made the story famous, before launching into the history of the DeFeo family. Along the way, we hear from close personal friends and a narrative of others who were involved, in some manner, in the case. Part I brings us to the catastrophic events of November 13, 1974.

PART II • MOB, MAYHEM & MURDER -- From the start, Part II is a marathon of narrative by those who investigated the DeFeo mass murder. It is a vivid recounting of the murders, the events that followed in the hours after the discovery of the body, and we segue into the justice system that would come to prosecute Ronald "Butch" DeFeo Jr. for the crime.

PART III -- FORENSICS & FRAUD - Part III engages the viewer with an in-depth forensic autopsy of the case while exploring the hoax that evolved as "The Amityville Horror" and put the village of Amityville forever on the map.

The film features nearly twenty interviewees, all associated with the case in some manner.


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