One of our interns mentioned the film “Father’s Day,” and it brought back happy memories…not of my actual dad since that’s a whole other story, but of the Canadian film production company Astron-6 that produced the film. If you get all mushy about the upcoming Father’s Day holiday, this film won’t be for you.

If you’re more on the twisted side of things, then “Father’s Day” will be perfect for you.

We did an interview way back in 2012 with Adam Brooks, Conor Sweeney, and Matt Kennedy from Astron-6 that stood out for many reasons. Not just because it was more of a fun free for all (see their classic hilarious video interview with Matt and Conor Sweeney that talks about Fathers Against Father Rape just below: WARNING: if you’re on the PC Police squad, we don’t recommend watching this at all or even reading this interview.), but it showed them as true indie horror filmmakers that loved what they were doing. How many of you can say that you love what your do?

It’s been six years, but Astron-6, Adam Brooks, Matt Kennedy, and company are still going strong pulling in killer reviews for their films and still enjoying life. Seeing this excites me as it’s not an easy industry and to keep making the films they love is very refreshing to see.

Here’s the interview before Astron-6 went on to be included in the Toronto Film Festival line-up and made more films you need to check out here. In February they felt the YouTube censorship hammer slam down on them for their Divorced Dad series.  Seems that an ISIS joke doesn’t go over well there, but they are more than fine with violent and extreme videos depicting much worse.

Enjoy.

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Astron-6 formed in 2007 and has grown a cult fanbase after their fake trailer for ‘Father’s Day‘ caught the attention of Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman who put up the funding to turn it into a feature film that hits theaters this month. Adam Brooks, one of the Astron-6 shows that success surely isn’t spoiling him.

Astron-6 are the combined talents of Matt Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski who first met at the Winnipeg Short Film Massacre. Yes, that only adds up to 5 people, but they feel that the 6th and most important person to finish out Astron-6 is you the viewer. As Adam Brooks has quite the caustic side, I’m sure he’d have plenty more to say on that as he did in our interview on most subjects.

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In 2010, they created a fake trailer entitled’ ‘Father’s Day‘ about paternal love taken to some pretty extreme limits and the F in FF has now been switched out from Fist to Father. I know many of you readers will understand that one. This caught the attention of Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman who offered the quite the micro budget ($10K) to turn it into a feature film and they would distribute it. While some may wonder how you can pull off a feature film on a budget like that, Astron-6 did it and ‘Father’s Day‘ looks like a much bigger film that the budget would imply.

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Photos: Astron-6
So here’s a quickie description of each member of the Astron-6 collective:
  • Matthew Kennedy, a comedian and actor
  • Conor Sweeney, a comedian, actor and film student
  • Adam Brooks, a painter and filmmaker
  • Jeremy Gillespie, a graphic designer and musician
  • Steven Kostanski, a filmmaker, animator and special effects artist

astron 6 adam brooks matthew sweeney interview mttg

How did you all come together as a group?

Adam Brooks: we assembled like Voltron.

How did your first project start?

Brooks: jer and i wanted to make a webseries called goreblade about a sword and
sorcery type fantasy character living in the mundane, modern world.  we
figured we’d try to get matt and conor to add their hilarity to it, and
steve to add his amazing fx makeups/stop motion.

With several people in Astron-6, is it hard to make sure that everyone’s voice gets heard?

Brooks: yes it is.  behind the veil of democracy i dictate what is best for the
group.

What the creative process you go through coming up with a project?

Brooks: we sit around and try to make eachother laugh.

What filmmakers have served as role models for all of you?

Brooks: for me – michael haneke, quentin tarantino, paul thomas anderson, george
romero, david lynch, john carpenter, orson welles, and woody allen.

As a filmmaker myself, I’ve learned a lot from watching bad films on what mistakes to avoid.  Are there any specific films or filmmakers that have done this for you?

Brooks: bad films are often more fun than good films.  there are far too many to
begin to list here, but some of my personal favourites were made right
here in winnipeg!

Now on to ‘Father’s Day’.  Did you make the trailer for this thinking that it might lead to getting financing for a feature film like ‘Hobo With A Shotgun’?

Brooks: No.

Who came up with the story for ‘Father’s Day’ or did it just evolve as it developed?

Brooks: we all came up with the story for the film, but the idea for the trailer
came straight from matt and conor. they wanted to make a movie about a dad-rapist and a one-eyed vigilante
and the three of us made up the trailer as we went along.  later when
troma offered to produce the film the five of us sat around and figured
out the story.

Your projects are pretty twisted and fucked up.  Who’s the designated ‘twisted fuck’ of the group?

Brooks: tough call.  matt and conor are both pretty twisted.  steve is maybe least
twisted although he does create most all the monsters and gore for the
movies.  jer’s humour is usually pretty monty python, and whatever
involves suicide was probably my idea.  the real guts, and the penis
mutilation were my idea too… maybe i was watching too much
internet porn?

astron 6 breakfast club spoof images

Astron-6 formed in 2007 and having several creative types get along for even one year can be a task.  How do you all deal with any disagreements that arise?

Brooks: good old passive aggressive behaviour.  another method i found was to
ignore what the rest of the group wants and just do what i want.

Do you still have your day jobs?

Brooks: ha.  as of this interview, Astron-6 has only COST each of us money.  i
have yet to make a penny off this shit.

How did you get the attention of Lloyd Kaufman?

Brooks: i emailed him asking for a promo for our next dvd.  later we were
contacted by matt manjourides who offered us distribution of our short
films.  after we signed that deal, he sent us the offer to produce
father’s day.

With only having a $10K budget, how were you able to make the film look more like it was made on $11K?  Actually, it looks really good, and definitely a lot more than $10K.

Brooks: good question.  i spent a year of my life figuring this out.  i wanted to
make sure we outdid ANYBODY with a similar budget, and i think we did.
the easiest thing is to STEAL LOTS OF INTERESTING LOCATIONS!  all of us
live within an hour drive of some cool locations, so use them!  nothing
more boring than a whole movie shot in some suburban house.
the next trick was to RISK OUR FUCKING LIVES!  we did all kinds of stunts
ourselves because we couldn’t afford stunt people.  i lit myself on fire,
jumped from moving vehicles and ran along the edge of a very high damn,
among other things.  nobody else should ever do this!  i am just stupid
enough.
the next trick is to HAVE STEVE KOSTANSKI ON YOUR CREW.  steve is now a
professional makeup/fx artist on real movies, and he designed and built a
giant monster suit among other fx that you just don’t see in movies that
cost less than a million dollars.
the final trick is to trick amazingly talented/famous people into
contributing to your project.  we got jim rugg, akiko stehrenberger, dan
bern, tom hodge, paul joyce, brian waicek and bob wiseman to contribute
music/art etc, either for free or for MUCH less than they would usually
make… somehow we convinced them that this project was worthwhile.  i
will always be grateful to them for their generosity.  google their names,
check out their work.  they are all amazing!

’Father’s Day’ actually looks more slick than most Troma films so I’m assuming Kaufman just left you all to your own devices.  Did he have any input or just let you have at it?

Brooks: ultimately he let us have at it, and for that i am grateful.

How do you think you’ll do if a studio begins sniffing around wanting to work with you, but most likely wanting to make those famous changes down the road?

Brooks: i’ll do fine if they pay me.

What actor/actress would you be most afraid to cast in one of your films fearing that you’d be so distracted wanting to sleep with them?

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Which one would you cast solely hoping that you could sleep with them?

Brooks: either charlize theron or matt kennedy.

Since ‘Father’s Day’ has been around for a little while, I’m sure you all have other projects you’ve either completed or are working on.  Can you tell us about them?

Brooks: got a script for a summer camp horror, and a treatment for a western and a
talking dog movie.  but realistically i’ll probably be working at Rona for
minimum wage in a year, and all of this will be over.
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