INTREPID releases their newest short film: “DUTY OF CARE”!

Based out of Scotland, the fan series formerly known as STAR TREK: INTREPID has been releasing fan films continuously since 2007.  With the new guidelines stating that Trek fan films cannot include the name “Star Trek,” this celebrated fan series has shortened its name simply to Intrepid.

But the creative team remains the same, led by fan filmmaker extraordinaire (and awesome bloke) NICK COOK.  Their latest offering, “Duty of Care,” is just under eight minutes long and features a small cast shooting outside on location.  I won’t spoil anything about the plot, but it is a quiet, introspective story focusing primarily on two characters who become very well developed in the short amount of time they appear on screen.

You can keep up with all the latest Intrepid news on their Facebook page.  And you can watch “Duty of Care” below…

ALEC PETERS discusses AXANAR’S FINANCIALS and his REVIEW COMMITTEE! (Interview)

Readers of the FAN FILM FACTOR comments sections know that I’ve spent months begging ALEC PETERS, executive producer for AXANAR, to discuss his production’s financials with me on an interview.  A few weeks ago, he finally agreed!  This is NOT that interview.

That interview is still coming.  Before I conduct it, I want to invite interested people to submit questions to me that I can then present to Alec.  (Yes, that means detractors, too.  Just be aware that questions that are rude and belligerent won’t make it past the airlock.  You have a question you want Alec Peters to answer?  Fine.  Just be polite when you ask it.  It IS possible, folks.)  I’ll be inviting people to submit questions to me next week after Alec releases his financial summary to donors–and therefore, to the public–and folks have had a chance to review it.  No sense in asking questions when you haven’t seen the document yet (so stop typing, people!).

In preparation for what’s coming next week, I sent Alec a few questions via e-mail a few days ago, asking him to provide some information about the upcoming financial summary, how it is organized, and a little about the committee that was assembled to review it.  Those answers just came back from Alec, so I’m copy-pasting them here to share with all of you (along with some brief IMing I just did to clarify a few points)…

Continue reading “ALEC PETERS discusses AXANAR’S FINANCIALS and his REVIEW COMMITTEE! (Interview)”

JUDGE issues TENTATIVE rulings on EXCLUSIONS in the AXANAR LAWSUIT! (Part 2)

Yesterday in Part 1, we began looking through Judge R. Gary Klausner’s TENTATIVE (important word!) rulings in the AXANAR lawsuit regarding the exclusion of evidence and witnesses from the jury trial.  The rulings were issued to the attorneys early Monday morning (before oral arguments, which is standard practice) and released to the public the following day.

Court-watchers on both sides of the case (pro- and anti-Axanar) were left confused and somewhat speechless, and neither side knew whether to gloat or mope.  Some of the rulings seemed to slam the hopes of the defense, while other rulings seemed to cripple the chances of the plaintiffs.  And a few of the rulings even contradicted each other!  (We’ll look at an example of the latter in just a moment.)

Yesterday, we began with the plaintiffs’ motions in limine (to exclude evidence and testimony).  All but one defense witness was tossed out (I was tossed out–bummer!).  And the plaintiffs were able to get the judgeto exclude any script version and any other piece of evidence produced or created after the lawsuit was filed on December 29, 2015.  But confusingly, the judge allowed Alec Peters’ revised and audited financial statement (which wasn’t produced until just two months ago).  The plaintiffs also received a nod from the judge preventing the defense from bringing up Alec Peters’ previous professional working relationship with the studios prior to his making of Axanar.  And the judge is still considering whether or not to allow the defense to mention the existence of other Star Trek fan films.

All in all, if I had seen only that, I’d have said it’s pretty much over for the defense (assuming all these TENTATIVE rulings stand, which is fairly unlikely).  Some of those exclusions are potentially devastating (especially if the judge rules the defense can’t bring up other fan films…even though the judge himself did on page 14 of his Order on Motion for Partial Summary Judgment).

But then I read his TENTATIVE rulings on the defense’s motions, and it suddenly seemed the plaintiffs could be in major trouble, too!  So today, we go through those…

Continue reading “JUDGE issues TENTATIVE rulings on EXCLUSIONS in the AXANAR LAWSUIT! (Part 2)”

JUDGE issues TENTATIVE rulings on EXCLUSIONS in the AXANAR LAWSUIT! (Part 1)

Okay, nobody cheer, nobody panic!  These are all TENTATIVE rulings in the AXANAR lawsuit.  Judge Klausner himself even made sure to put the word TENTATIVE in ALL CAPS in his ruling yesterday:

The Court makes the following TENTATIVE rulings on the Motions In Limine:

  • Plaintiff’s Motions In Limine No. 1 – Denied
  • Plaintiff’s Motions In Limine No. 2 – Granted
  • Plaintiff’s Motions In Limine No. 3 – Granted
  • Plaintiff’s Motions In Limine No. 4 – Granted
  • Plaintiff’s Motions In Limine No. 5 – Granted
  • Plaintiff’s Motions In Limine No. 6 – Under Submission
  • Plaintiff’s Motions In Limine No. 7 – Granted
  • Plaintiff’s Motions In Limine No. 8 – Granted
  • Plaintiff’s Motions In Limine No. 9 – Denied
  • Plaintiff’s Motions In Limine No. 10 – Granted

 

  • Defendant’s Motion In Limine No. 1 – Granted
  • Defendant’s Motion In Limine No. 2 – Denied
  • Defendant’s Motion In Limine No. 3 – Granted
  • Defendant’s Motion In Limine No. 4 – Granted
  • Defendant’s Motion In Limine No. 5 – Granted
  • Defendant’s Motion In Limine No. 6 – Granted
  • Defendant’s Motion In Limine No. 7 – Denied
  • Defendant’s Motion In Limine No. 8 – Denied
  • Defendant’s Motion In Limine No. 9 – Granted

So what the heck just happened?  Well, first of all, each party submitted motions in limine to Judge R. Gary Klausner on December 16 asking for certain pieces of evidence and witnesses (including me!) to be excluded from being presented or mentioned during the trial.  I wrote about all of those 19 motions in a 4-part blog starting here.  (It’s nice light reading.)

Then, last Friday, both the plaintiffs and the defense submitted 19 separate OPPOSITIONS to those 19 motions in limine…which I’ve collected for your reading pleasure into this single 143-page PDF: Oppositions to Motions In Limine.  (Yeah, talk about light reading!)

I’d actually begun preparing one of my meticulously entertaining  (or entertainingly meticulous) blog analyses of those oppositions, but I got sidetracked on blogs about the Judge’s ruling on fair use last Wednesday , the likelihood of a successful appeal, and a possible trip to the Supreme Court.  And and much as I was looking forward to reading through and summarizing 143 pages of dense legal arguments, that all seems like “old news” now that we’ve got this TENTATIVE (ALL CAPS!!!) ruling to look at.

So let’s look, shall we…?

Continue reading “JUDGE issues TENTATIVE rulings on EXCLUSIONS in the AXANAR LAWSUIT! (Part 1)”

TRISTAN Production Crew releases new episode: “BETWEEN TWO WORLDS”!

Okay, time to stop calling it STARSHIP TRISTAN.  Show-runner RANDY LANDERS told me there are no series or episodes, there are only individual fan films made by the various creative teams working under the POTEMKIN PICTURES “umbrella”: Tristan, Deimos, Kupok, and Endeavour.  The reason for this nominal change, of course, is the fan film guidelines that prohibit a fan film from releasing more than two 15-minute episodes of the same story “…with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.”

So the “elephant in the living room” (or “mugato in the cave”) question that I asked Randy was: if you’re being so careful to follow the guidelines, then why is this fan film 30 minutes long and not broken into two 15-minute parts?  Randy’s answer:

It was filmed over a year ago, and it is our understanding that the guidelines probably wouldn’t apply.

Fair enough (at least as far as I’m concerned).  Randy went on to tell me a little more about the making of this episode:

It was actually one of the first episodes we began filming once we moved here.  Nearly all the dialogue shot at the park had to be ADRed…

[re-recorded and dubbed over later – Jonathan]

…and in some cases dubbed by a different performer.  It was a challenging experience.  We had folks recording their lines on phones. That’s where you can really tell.  We’d’ve rather they’d returned to the studios for ADR, but that just wasn’t possible.

This is just a hobby for us, and real life and real jobs have to come first.

I always keep that last fact in mind when I watch the “low-budget” fan films.  While not as slick and polished as the studio-made films and series with the professional actors and production crew, fan films like those coming from Potemkin Pictures show heart and dedication and, most of all, fans just having fun.  For me, that’s extremely important.

Randy says the Tristan creative team currently has two films completely shot and now in post-production.  And there’s three more films in pre-production for 2017.  In the meantime, you can watch their latest release “Between Two Worlds” below or visit the website of Potemkin Pictures to catch up on all the episodes of their various series…oh, excuse me…to see all the independent fan films from the four creative teams.

 

AXANAR lawsuit SUMMARY JUDGMENT Order – THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY! (Part 2)

In Part 1, we began looking at the hard-hitting, 15-page Order on Motion for Partial Summary Judgment issued by Judge R. Gary Klausner in the AXANAR lawsuit early on Wednesday morning.  It was mostly bad news for the defense, although not fatal.  The judge didn’t grant either side’s motions for summary judgment, leaving the jury to decide whether Axanar is similar enough to Star Trek to qualify as copyright infringement.

The judge did rule that, in his opinion, Axanar was “substantially similar” to Star Trek and should be considered contributory and vicarious infringement.  So that’s definitely bad for the defense, since it pretty much rejects a good portion of their motion for summary judgement.

However, he also didn’t grant the plaintiffs’ requests to declare Axanar to be infringement (which would have taken the decision away from the jury) or to issue an injunction against Alec Peters of his associates producing anything else Axanar.  So that was good for the defense.  Also good was the judge’s opinion that given the benefit of the doubt, “…Peters’ actions demonstrate a respect for Plaintiffs’ intellectual property that makes a finding of willfulness on summary judgement inappropriate.”  If the jury agrees, the judgment against Alec Peters (if he loses) could drop from the seven-figure range down to the five-figure range.

But then things got UGLY.  The judge nixed the “fair use” defense completely.  But is he allowed to actually do that?  I’ll go through what the judge actually said first, and then tomorrow we’ll look at how he may have actually given the defense a gift (of sorts) if and/or when it comes time to appeal.

Here we go… Continue reading “AXANAR lawsuit SUMMARY JUDGMENT Order – THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY! (Part 2)”

AXANAR lawsuit SUMMARY JUDGMENT Order – THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY! (Part 1)

Okay, we now know one very important thing that we’d only suspected up until now: Judge R. Gary Klausner is a closet Trekkie (or possibly, it’s one of his law clerks)!

Before I start a deeper dive into the judge’s 15-page Order on Motion for Partial Summary Judgment issued on Wednesday morning, I’d just like to share a few quick quotes from it:

Like many other Star Trek fans, Peters wants to make his own Star Trek production.  However, going where no man has gone before in producing Star Trek fan films… (Now, I would have said “where no fan has gone before” but still, nice way to start off.)

Thus, the copyright infringement claim can live long and prosper if the Axanar Works are substantially similar to the Star Trek Copyrighted Works.  (I seem to recall seeing that one before in the judge’s denial of the defense’s motion to dismiss…but wait, there’s more!)

Sometimes a feeling is all we humans have to go on.  (Kirk said it first in “A Taste of Armageddon,” but now Judge Klausner–or one of his clerks–has said it, too, on the bottom of Page 4.)

 These works have transported the hearts of a legion of fans to the Star Trek universe.  (I can’t believe the word “transported” was coincidental, folks.)

Defendants’ attempt to treat the Battle of Axanar as a private little war is unpersuasive.  (Seriously, now someone’s just showing off!)

Peters “was interested in creating alternative ways for fans to view Star Trek” – the way to Eden perhaps.  (And…..no.  Sorry, that one was too much of a reach.  Herbert!)

Okay, enough of the cutesy stuff!  It’s time to take a look at the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY…and Axanar certainly got a little of each (and more of some).  Shall we begin?

Continue reading “AXANAR lawsuit SUMMARY JUDGMENT Order – THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY! (Part 1)”

OFFICIAL STATEMENT from ALEC PETERS…

This morning, Judge Klausner made a ruling that the case will go to Jury Trial to determine if Axanar is “substantially similar” to the CBS copyrighted works. If it is, then the jury will have to find if the infringement is “willful” or “non-willful”, and Judge Klausner already stated that “Peters’ actions demonstrate a respect for Plaintiffs’ intellectual property that makes a finding of willfulness on summary judgement inappropriate.” If the jury does not find “substantial similarity” then the case will be dismissed.

Depending on the outcome of the trial, Axanar may choose to appeal the verdict to the Ninth Circuit, where Erin Ranahan is 5-0. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is also known to favor artist rights.

So the story of Axanar continues…

JUDGE issues ORDER ON MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT in AXANAR LAWSUIT!

Judge R. Gary Klausner has just issued his Order on Motion for Partial Summary Judgment in the AXANAR lawsuit.  I’m reading it over right now, and I’ll have a more comprehensive analysis in the next few days.  But on first glance, it seems to be much more of a blow to Axanar than to the studios.  However, it is not a knockout blow in that the judge has not issued any rulings that end the case in favor of the plaintiffs.  Unfortunately for the defendants (Axanar Productions and Alec Peters), though, the judge has essentially tossed out Axanar‘s best hope for a “win” by declaring that fair use is invalid in this particular situation.  That’s a biggie, but Axanar can still argue (according to the judge) that Prelude to Axanar is NOT substantially similar to Star Trek…which might be an uphill battle.

All in all, not a good day for Team Axanar, but the game isn’t over yet (and it could have been).  More to come after I have a chance to read and discuss things further…

STARBASE STUDIOS completes move to ARKANSAS and reaches $3,500 funding goal!

The year ended on a VERY happy note for the folks from STARBASE STUDIOS, the only full TOS bridge, transporter, and sickbay sets open to any fan film to use at any time they want to schedule to shoot their production.

You might recall from my previous blog that Starbase Studios lost the use of their warehouse location in Oklahoma City after nearly half a decade of enjoying free rent.  The building was being sold, and Starbase Studios had until the end of the year to get all of its amazing set pieces removed and transported to a new location.

Dan Reynolds offered studio space that he owns in northern Arkansas to be the new home for Starbase Studios…also rent free.  And although staying in Oklahoma City would have been preferable, nothing beats free rent!  So the decision was made to relocate.  But deciding is easy…actual MOVING is the hard part!

Super fan and fan filmmaker Glen L. Wolfe stepped forward to handle the move, paying the costs up front for trucks and gas and driving the 6-hour (one-way), 333-mile distance back and forth himself…and it was more than just one trip (five actually!).  The hope was that $3,500 could be raised from donations to a GoFundMe campaign to reimburse Glen his out-of-pocket expenses…’cause Glen ain’t exactly part of the 1%.

That $3,500 goal was reached on December 30, just as the last of FIVE TRUCKLOADS of set pieces were being loaded for a December 31 journey to Mountain Home, Arkansas.  So STARBASE STUDIOS got out in time, funded its move, and all the set pieces arrived safely in their new home.

So what’s next?

Continue reading “STARBASE STUDIOS completes move to ARKANSAS and reaches $3,500 funding goal!”