“You have got some balls to make this”: Gary Stretch on the Brave Vision of My Father Die

Shots of an Alligator open Sean Brosnan’s feature directorial debut My Father Die (2016). The rage associated with the predatory reptile is fitting for a film that has such venomous emotion coursing through its veins. A “nihilistic” film in the words of its writer-director, it is a powerful vision of self-expression in a genre that has worn a path amongst the many tombstones of its fallen characters. An assured debut it is an amalgamation of the poetic and mythological, action and characterisation that feels unique, even if it does deal with age old themes of vengeance, transformation and fate.

Ivan (Gary Stretch) is the human incarnation of this rage, a man forged in the fires of Vietnam who enters into a destructive duel with his son Asher (Joe Anderson). If Brosnan crafted a film with the deliberate intention to cultivate the polarised reactions of love and hate, Stretch’s own words about his character echo his director’s sentiments: “It’s not my job to make you like him. I’m not capable of that. You either do or you don’t.”

In conversation with FrightFest, Stretch discussed the making of My Father Die as a process of freedom with parameters, and the manipulation of the director as controlling yet flexible. He also reflected on his lack of control over the audience’s response and the impermanence of the spectatorial experience, as well as the inevitability of change through the artistic and human experience.

Read the full interview at FrightFest Gore in the Store.

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