Astron-6 is a five-man diaspora of Winnipeg-bred filmmakers all intent on recreating the filmic classics and atrocities of their youths.
Starting with self-produced short films, mostly parodies of ‘80s genre flicks, the collective made a name for itself with last year’s Father’s Day, which garnered international praise among the genre film community with distribution from Troma.
The group’s latest effort is Manborg, a retro-futuristic sci-fi eyeslam, mostly the brainchild of their resident FX wizard, Steve Kostanski.
Variety called it “enjoyably ridiculous,” while Horrorsquard says, “if (it doesn’t) make your day, I kindly ask that you not bite me, for you are already a zombie.”
The Uniter asked Kostanski some questions via email.
The Uniter: With Father’s Day, direction and writing was shared among the whole A6 crew. How did you find handling all that solo on Manborg?
Steve Kostanski: Manborg was actually shot before Father’s Day, back when we used to do most of our movies solo. It was the same unorganized process as the other Astron shorts I directed, except it took years instead of months. Though there was a script, I was pretty much making it up as I went along, much to the chagrin of everybody else involved. A lot of it was decided in editing as well, when I realized most of the movie didn’t make sense. It was a tough experience all around, since I was the one setting up/tearing down the studio every shooting day, as well as prepping effects and gluing back together the smashed costume bits from the previous nights of shooting. All in all, (it was) an experience I have no interest in repeating.
You handle almost all the special effects for Astron-6 movies. How did you get interested in special effects?
When I was a kid I was always making things: model kits, Lego cities, clay monsters, robots out of beer bottle caps, etc. This would all be done while watching VHS movies in my parents’ basement. Movie effects always mesmerized me, and I remember spending most of my time watching the Star Wars trilogy, Ghostbusters, Aliens and the Terminator movies. My parents’ also rented me more obscure stuff like Robot Jox and Guyver 2. Eventually this transitioned into me making crappy monster masks out of masking tape and hot glue, and shooting my own little short films with my friends in an attempt to create my own movie magic. I also started bringing some of my creations to life using stop-motion animation, on an old Super 8 camera that belonged to my dad. I started working in prosthetics right out of high school, since I’d already had years of amateur experience making all this random stuff.
What’s next for Astron-6?
We’re all scrambling to get projects off the ground. The only issue is trying to get somebody to pay for them. I’m sure you’ll be hearing some big news soon.
Manborg is playing Friday, Oct. 26 to Saturday, Oct. 28 and Thursday, Nov. 1 at Cinematheque. Anchor Bay will be releasing the film in Canada early next year. You can also go to www.manborg.com to find out more about the film.
Published in Volume 67, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 24, 2012)