Interview: How the ‘Operation Avalanche’ Filmmakers Faked the Moon Landing, Shot a Low-Budget Car Chase, and Snuck Into NASA
Posted on Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 by Jacob Hall
Operation Avalanche is one of the most pleasant surprises of 2016. What begins as a wickedly funny conspiracy theory comedy about a team of CIA agents who fake the moon landing in 1969 slowly shifts into a thrilling, paranoia-fueled thriller, shot and edited to look like a long-lost documentary secretly assembled by the man in charge of the project. The making of the film is just as fascinating as the final product: co-writer/director/star Matt Johnson and producer Matthew Miller not only had to create a convincing ’60 setting on a small budget, they had to do it without much help from anyone who could have made it easy. This is the kind of production that involved everyone literally sneaking into NASA as part of a fake tour group to shoot chunks of the movie. Really.
I sat down with Johnson and Miller and they spilled the nitty-gritty details. What’s it like to bump heads with Stanley Kubrick’s estate? How to film a low-budget car chase inspired by Children of Men? How, exactly, do you define “illegal” when it comes to guerrilla filmmaking? They were more than happy to share.