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Filmmaker with local ties working toward second film as part of ‘Radio Silence’

August 1, 2013

Punxsy native Chad Villella is a part of the film-production group Radio Silence, pictured here on the set of their latest feature for 20th Centry Fox in New Orleans in April. Pictured (from left) are Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Villella and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin. (Photo courtesy of Michele K. Short)

LOS ANGELES — We all have dreams, and for some, those dreams become a reality.

For one Punxsy native, his dream was to one day make films.

And with hard work and determination, he has successfully achieved that goal.

In 2012, Chad Villella and his production team, Radio Silence, got the chance to premiere their horror anthology film, “V/H/S,” at the Sundance Film Festival.

The team was quite surprised when it became a fan favorite and the first horror film ever to be purchased by a film distributor.

The film was picked up by Magnolia Pictures, which released it in October 2012, to be played in select theaters nationwide.

After a successful run with his first film, Villella and his team are currently working on a second film.

Villella got his start not as a filmmaker, but as an actor.

Raised in Punxsutawney, he is a graduate of Punxsutawney Area High School, and after that, he attended Mercyhurst. It was at Mercyhurst that he fell in love with acting.

He found some acting jobs in Pittsburgh, where he did commercials and radio.

Wanting to pursue an acting career, he headed out to a bright and sunny world where many seek fame and fortune — Los Angeles.

It was while taking some acting classes there that he met up with a couple of guys who would help him find another passion — filmmaking.

Trying his hand at the newfound passion, he teamed up with friends Matt
Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez and Rob Polonsky and started doing movie shorts online.

They created their own YouTube channel — Chad, Matt & Rob — a channel that now has over 135,000 subscribers.

Its videos currently have over 100 million views.

The videos blend comedy with action and horror; however, the group’s most successful videos have proven to be the "interactive adventures."

After Polonsky left the group, Villella and his pals formed the new group Radio Silence.

With the help of the producers from Bloody Disgusting Selects, they filmed “V/H/S.”

"We have really lucked out with the horror genre," said Villella, adding that the group also does a little bit of science fiction.

Villella said that a sequel to “V/H/S” has already been out in independent theaters. However, he and his team weren't involved with the sequel, but are instead working on a new film.

"V/H/S has been great for us," Villella said.

Villella said his new film, "Devil's Due," is being made through 20th Century Fox.

He is currently directing and executive producing the film, which will be released in 2014.

"We shot ‘Devil's Due’ in New Orleans for three months," said Villella, adding that the filmmaking process is quite long.

Villella went on to explain how exactly that process works:

• A producer selects a story;

• Then, a writer writes it;

• The production team comes on board;

• A studio agrees to do the film;

• The producer starts filming;

"A lot of people contribute to a film," Villella said, adding that all those involved work as a team.

"I love the whole process of acting, writing, producing and directing," he said.

He and his team worked with some other up-and-coming directors, with each one doing a segment for “V/H/S.”

Radio Silence not only directed the last segment "10/31/98," but its members even acted in it.

Villella said that they will appear briefly in “Devil's Due,” but they will be in the background.

Villella wouldn't give any details on the new horror film except to say that he and his team are having a blast with it.

The film has landed a few well-known actors such as Zach Gilford, whose television credits include “Friday Night Lights,” “Off The Map” and “The Mob Doctor.”

Also appearing in the film is Allison Miller, whose television credits include “Terra Nova” and “Private Practice.”

"Things are looking pretty good," said Villella. "We hope to do a lot more films in the future."

Fans of the horror film “V/H/S,” or those interested in viewing it, can now find it on DVD.

"Devil's Due" will be out in theaters in January of 2014.

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