The Force (And A Lenkyne Disney) Is With ‘Star Wars’ Fan Filmmakers

For the first time in a decade and a half, without a new “Star Wars” film, a planned halt has coincided with the epidemic. But across YouTube, there are a lot of movies set in a far-off galaxy: those made by fans. Instead of the sci-fi Gaga’s familiar titles Crawl and Brassey Score, however, his work usually begins with the notice that the rights to the story belong to Lucasfilm.

Such films have been around for a long time as a franchise. Early examples were spoofs, such as the 1978 short “Hardware wars“And the Stormtropper-centric dispatcher of 1997 “police” Called “The soldiers. “Lucasfilm hosts annual fan-film competitions in the decade before Disney Acquired the company in 2012. But Disney’s stewardship has inaugurated a new era of fan creativity with the widespread availability of high-quality moviemaking tools.

“Whatever, it’s more alive than ever,” said David Ortiz, a filmmaker. “You’re all high budget fan films you didn’t have 10 or 15 years ago, and people have easy access to things like VFX, 3-D modeling, and Blender,” a free digital animation software. “I think that right now, if someone’s fans want to film, it’s time to do it.”

Far from the amateurish, camcorder-in-the-wood aesthetic of some past endeavors, recent productions feature intricately plotted live action digital shorts created with motion-capture suits. Sometimes months of projects from industry professionals, a growing number of feature supports, special effects or original scores that approach studio quality.

Some filmmakers attribute Disney to increasing viewership for their tribute. A New York Times analysis of nearly 150 fan films on YouTube with at least 100,000 views found that “more than 75 percent were uploaded in the six years since the trailer for the first film.”The Force Awakens, “The first entry in the latest trilogy. And many Popular Examples The new films have built keenly on the characters and lore.

But others were against the choice of Disney fiction. Some have revived the characters and the storyline that the studio dropped or “Star Wars” reverted to the old era of filmmaking. In a moment of both widespread excitement and deep disillusionment with the franchise, these works flex the flexural muscle in a creative tug-of-war to which the galaxy actually belongs.

“Many people were really disappointed with some films” in Disney’s trilogy, said Jason Sutherlund, a professional writer and director who made in 2019 A live-action about Obi-Wan Kenobi Set during the Jedi Master’s exile on the desert planet Tatouin. “We wanted to recreate that love when we first saw ‘A New Hope’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.”

Satterlund called “Kenobi”, which has more than 5.7 million views on YouTube, “an opportunity for fans to cash in on the franchise”. “George Lucas created something that we loved so much that we don’t want to ruin it,” he said. “If we feel that someone is violating it, it can have a very severe reaction. And I think that is what you are seeing. “

Satterlund was quick to add that his lack was not to provoke “negativity” toward Disney or to implement its narrative choices. But on YouTube response videos and elsewhere, audiences can’t help but compare. “People said, ‘Wow, I haven’t felt that much emotion in this universe for a long, long time.”

Ortiz acknowledged the enthusiasm for his project, which is based on the 1996 story line that Disney de-canonized, came from partially disappointed fans. He said that he saw those reactions warily. “I don’t want anyone to knock on my door and say, ‘All right, you have to stop this.” Because there is a history where if you hit Disney too much, they will come and bite. “

Disney said it encouraged fan creativity and disagreed over its creative options. Lucasfilm’s spokesman, Lynn Hale, said, “One of the beauties of ‘Star Wars’ is that it evokes that kind of dialogue and such passion.”

But there can be a dark side to the discourse. After the recent trilogy, women and people of color were far more focused than “Star Wars” films, with some fans fueled Online Harassment Female characters from cast or reviewers Wrong way.

Some fan films deliberately dismiss that toxicity. More diverse casting means “richer stories, more nuanced stories and new perspectives within the galaxy,” said Stephen Witley, who “directed”Hoshino, “2016 short about a female Jedi – played by Anna Achana – Whose hypocrisy of misusing his lights costs his eyesight.

Carry fans of Other fantasy franchises They have complex relationships with companies they own, and “Star Wars” fan films run into legal trouble. Disney Asks They should be clearly marked, do not raise funds through crowdfunding, exclude copyright media, and do not benefit from ticket sales or online advertisements. The company does not discriminate between fan films made by professionals and films made by amateurs, provided they follow its rules. “There’s a point where you have to protect your copyright,” Hale said.

Not everyone complies. An Indiegogo campaign for “Kenobi” finance got help From James Arnold Taylor, who voiced the character in “Star Wars” Animated television show. (He also played the villainous role in “Kenobi”) Others have turned to Kickstarter to get involved in their work.

And some who try to follow the rules have got into trouble. Warner / Chappell, who shares some “Star Wars” music rights with Lucasfilm, claimed more than one copyright in 2019 Darth Vader fan film, “Shard of the Past,” posted on YouTube. a Gush Of Online Criticism Subsequently, accusing the company of profiting from fan work. Lucasfilm eventually intervened to raise the claim. (Hale said she could not comment on the copyright claims.)

As technology enhances the capabilities of fan storytelling, there may be little questions of justification. many The movies Hungarian University student Peter Cicicus combines digital assets from the official “Star Wars” video game with original motion-capture animation. Csikasz said the developers of the games were aware of his work, even repeating the “Star Wars” video game by a fan Close bottom.

As these films develop technically more artistically, they have also become more expensive. a Two minute animated film It can cost more than $ 5,000 to produce. The $ 100,000 budget for “Kenobi” came, Sutterlund said. (Expensive expectations can be prohibitive: Last month, Ortiz suspended his project indefinitely after failing to raise $ 20,000 through crowdfunding.)

Disney’s rules mean that many fan films are a financial loss, but a well-executed production can drive YouTube customers, attract sponsors for future work or open doors to professional opportunities. “It lowers the wheels,” Sutherlund said of his lack. “It helps get me in the room to talk to someone.”

Disney’s ambitions Expand franchise further The new show was announced in December – there may be more creative differences with parts of its audience. But there are also signs of mutual appreciation. Earlier, the company confirmed long-running rumors that it would develop a streaming series focused on Obi-Wan Kenby. Sutherlund said he hoped the official spinoff would explore a thematic area similar to his short.

He called that prospect exciting – and flattering. “It would be a great honor if they used something that came with us,” he said. “Better, even, if they call me in. If Disney called and said, ‘We want you to join the team, I will be tomorrow.”

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