Interview with Divorced Dad’s Matthew Kennedy of Astron-6
Matthew it is great to get some time during this busy period for you and Astron-6 with the release of the trailer for “Divorced Dad”! Thanks for taking the time…
TT: Astron-6 has been on the scene in short films, features (Manborg, Father’s Day and The Editor) and now a web series for well over a decade. What kind of mark and impact have you and the Astron-6 crew (Adam Brooks, Connor Sweeney, Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski) made on indie filmmaking?
MK: Our impact has been pretty significant for how small we are and how few resources we typically have to work with. It keeps growing and I hope that growth continues until I have a yacht instead of a used Hyundai.
TT: Astron-6’s latest entry “Divorced Dad” is a disturbing yet brilliant return to the cable access days when we sat up late nights and watched the insanity! Tell us about “Divorced Dad” and how much cable access TV influenced you as well as warped you?
MK: Since the life of an indie filmmaker is one of low financial benefit, I am actually currently working in the cable access world. I assist in the production of a couple of community shows so that is a huge influence over the style of the show. Beyond that, we all had a certain fascination with the cable access shows we would watch as kids because it seemed so cool that your town and people that you saw at the grocery store could be on a TV show. The production value was always low and the hosts were not screen-ready but it all had a real charm to it.
TT: What went into the trailer for “Divorced Dad” on the technical side and why go with this as the next project after the love you got overall with “The Editor”? What does the overall support for the trailer mean to you?
MK: We all just love comedy and to do comedy in the film market without a lot of money doesn’t make a lot of financial sense because marketing low budget comedy is next to impossible. For that reason, we’ve decided to create a series. Divorced Dad is a concept we’ve been playing with for a while and there is a funding model in Canada we are hoping to take advantage of to really develop the series the best way that we can. The support thus far has been amazing and it goes a long way towards helping us secure financing to complete the series.
TT: For “Divorced Dad” you are on both sides of the camera again. As a part of the any indie film project, you have to wear just about every hat to make sure it comes to a conclusion. Talk about your favorite aspect of the process and your love affair with acting?
MK: I do like acting but acting on your own projects is never all the enjoyable because, as you said, you are wearing so many other hats. I would say that probably my favorite part of the process is the writing because at that stage, no idea is too big. Once you get on set with your limited resources, every idea is too big and becomes a hell to accomplish.
TT: “Divorced Dad’s” insanity, twisted humor, passion and energy is some of the signatures of Astron-6, however you bring aboard two Canadian legends with writer/director Guy Maddin and film professor, turned director, Rachel Talalay. How did this partnership come about and how much of an influence are they? Talk about the experience of working with them?
MK: Talalay would more correctly be classified as Director/Producer turned Film Professor turned Director. She has a long and amazing history in the film industry, from working with John Waters, producing and directing chapters of the Nightmare on Elm Street film series to most recently directing Doctor Who. She has always been a massive supporter or our work, as has Guy Maddin. With the help of the funding we are going after, Maddin will be guest directing an episode of the series, which will be a dream come true for us.
TT: Congratulations on “The Editor” getting distribution with “Shout! Factory”. I know the road is long and hard from birth to conception for each film including finding a permanent home. How has your previous DVD and Blu-ray releases affected your promotion and planning for “Divorced Dad”?
MK: All of our previous releases have helped us to grow our audience and to form crucial relationships that all help to promote new projects like “Divorced Dad”.
TT: The films of “Astron-6” are cult favorites for fans, critics, and film festivals. Talk about that love for the work you guys put out and how it affects you with each project? Also, touch on the learning dynamic from failure?
MK: We really try to only work on material that we love and that’s been pretty easy since we’ve only directed things that we created ourselves. As far as learning from failure, that’s all we do. We fail and fail and fail and learn and learn and learn. Then we fail some more.
TT: Finally, you are a proud poppa. Getting married, having a family and starting a new chapter in your life, does this change how you see filmmaking and your work going forward?
MK: It makes making money high up on the priority list that is for sure. It’s easy to slum it when you have only yourself to worry about but once you have a family, you need to really start thinking about your financial survival. I’m still trying to figure out how one accomplishes that. I don’t think it changes my view of filmmaking or the kind of projects I enjoy; it just makes me think about it all a little bit more from a business perspective.
We all want to make something with heart and my want for that increases more with a new baby girl in my life, I will admit.
TT: Where can they find out more about “Divorced Dad” and of course Astron-6?
Facebook, twitter, YouTube, etc etc.
Thank you again so much Matthew for your time!
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