Q&A with Matthew Kennedy from Astron-6

Cult Projections: How did Astron-6 come about? What is the origin of the name?

Matthew Kennedy: Astron-6 (the name) came from a collective love for 80s VHS distribution companies. We were all competing filmmakers in a Winnipeg short horror film festival. We were hard on each other because we were all envious of one another's work. Eventually we decided to join forces (I think it was Adam that extended the olive branch). The rest is genre history.

CP: How does the writing and directing duties get shared in pre-production, on set, and in post?

MK: We all tend to have a shared vision and similar sensibilities. We agree on basically everything and the responsibility sharing comes naturally from that. Typically one or two of us are the champions of a project or concept and the rest of the group will fall in to help anyway they can.

CP: What formal training, if any, have you had?

MK: Conor and I studied film and acting. Steve took a few film courses. Adam and Jeremy are self-taught.

CP: What five filmmakers do you hold in high esteem? Why?

MK: David Lynch, P.T. Anderson, David Wain, Alex Cox, John Carpenter. I think most people know what there is to like about these filmmakers.

CP: Your movies fuse and meld genres and tone. Is this something you will continue to do or will Astron-6 one day make a straight genre flick?

MK: We like mixing tones and I'm sure we will always do that to an extent. We're not against making any kind of movie though and would make a straight movie if the inspiration were there.

CP: What five gialli do you consider essential viewing?

MK: Tenebre, The Beyond, The New York Ripper, Blood and Black Lace, Opera.

CP: Are there taboos still in cinema? As horror and transgressive filmmakers how important is it to push the boundaries?

MK: We aren't really interested in pushing boundaries or being taboo for the sake of being taboo. We just want to do what's never been done. We also just want to make movies we want to watch.

CP: What are five of the most "shocking" movies you can think of?

MK: American Pie, American Pie 2, American Wedding, American Reunion, Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom.

CP: What five elements are the most important when making a low-budget horror or exploitation flick?

MK: Good practical FX, drive, perseverance, low self-esteem, free food.

CP: How important is nudity? Eroticism? Sleaze?

MK: It's not, but helps with production value and exposition. People take a film with nudity in it a little more seriously.

CP: How important is the realism of violence on screen?

MK: If you want it to be bothersome it has to be real.

CP: If Astron-6 were given the chance to remake any movie, what would it be? Would there be a completely new angle?

MK: We'd like to remake any of the movies that have been remade and do it right. We'd also like to remake Crocodile Dundee, but set it in Canada ... at a Subaru dealership?

CP: Ha! Thank you for your time!

An Evening With Astron-6 with special guests Matthew Kennedy and Conor Sweeney - short films and Q&A at A Night Of Horror International Film Festival, Dendy Cinemas Newtown, Sydney, Monday, November 24th, 9pm.

At Monster Fest: The Monster Fest Academy Of Horror And Mayhem featuring Matt Kennedy and Conor Sweeney, Wednesday November 26th, 11am, AND Father's Day screening with live commentary from Matt Kennedy and Conor Sweeney, Friday, November 28th, 10am, Monster's Lair, Yah Yah's, Collingwood, Melbourne.