Dan DiFelice: Johnny Bang Reilly “Carved in Mayhem”
NYC director and former VFX artist Dan DiFelice sculpts a beautiful and redemptive film from a raw and powerful poem by Johnny “Bang” Reilly, a 51-year-old UK fighter, filmmaker and VO artist – with Framestore handling the VFX.
Dan DiFelice: “When I first heard Johnny’s narration in a project, I remember the description that immediately came to mind was ‘honest.’ Shortly after I found out he wasn’t just a voiceover artist, but rather a man who shoulders the unique burden that comes from living decades against the current.
“Like many of us, he is on a search for peace and truth, however, his path to this point is what sets him apart. His life has arched from receiving abuse to giving forgiveness, incarceration to liberation, hate to gratitude: trading in a sealed fate for an accidental destiny.
“The main VFX shots in the film are the CG statues. I knew when approaching this that the only real way to draw on the parallel between Johnny and the statues would be to achieve these Renaissance period masterpieces in visual effects.
“Unfortunately the passion-project budget doesn’t really allow for us to ship these priceless works of art! Originally I did some tests to try and sculpt these statues using photogrammetry and while that process is pretty spectacular, it didn’t really allow us to get up close in detail and still required a ton of modeling time afterward.
“Framestore London stepped in and brought an incredible realism to these stoic sculptures. We had shot HDR’s for every shot on set, built a small reference structure with lighting and tracking ref, all of this giving Framestore a pretty good place to start.
“Regardless of this, when the first renders came through of the statues, I was blown away by the lighting and the emotions that these statues brought to the piece: hate and redemption. I come from a background in VFX and typically if we do our jobs well the audience doesn’t notice us. For ‘Mayhem’, we were lucky enough that the VFX quietly worked in the background to emphatically support the narrative.”
Carved in Mayhem
I got to a point in my existence
with my head insisting i live to kill
Spilling my ills…I was engulfed to go public and show my life was rubbished. Everything about me obsessed to mess a man’s life up
and leave his family with the knowledge i cut his head off
I preserved me…to decay them
I carved me in my mayhem, a stone cut from the same element.
My mother gave birth to a story that will shame men, this became my importance. every day that came and went
venting mentally my mentality.
I sedated my impatience with drugs and booze.
I stalked and wrote the horror story.
Lies gave me my act as an asset
my ego relaxed in the sociopathic…
Every day i fight with my lack of patience, so i sedate me, making me weak That don’t work.
How can i have my dream to be a nightmare?
I’m not sharp and my body is not prepared…so i cleaned my act.
Trained hard to let the steam off,
cleaned my diet to strengthen my mean heart,
but it cleaned my heart.
Thoughts were feeding my fed up,
love was fixing my head up.
A new story was starting to write itself
I was liking myself
I realized I was not going to just kill him…I was going to kill me Fuck that.
Now I live to shine
relax my spine in the quiet of the divine that gives the sky
To cover my life I live like I don’t want anyone to die.
Vibrant I feel facilitated for no reason other than something loves me to be alive… I oblige
With body heart and mind…
I have found my spirit
my creativity is how I live
my life realizes it.
Read my manifest manifested,
from cursed to blessed…
the hand of the divine
gave me time to rise and rest.
I eat sleep train and move
to be the best version of me my children can get and our love can ensue… blessed…
not hate obsessed.
My life was carved from a stone,
52 years was never too late to begin again.
A Neighborhood Film Co. Production
Producer Dan Walser
Directed by Dan DiFelice
Poem Written/Performed by Johnny Bang Reilly
Cinematography by Khalid Mohtaseb & Dan Stewart
Production Design by Joe Sciacca
Visual Effects by Framestore London
Original Score by Luke Atencio
Color by Tom Poole + CO3
Sound Design by 1-Louder
Edit by Dan DiFelice