The Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS return for 2023…submissions are now OPEN through MAY 31!

With the conclusion of the DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS two weeks ago (click here to view the winners), it is time to enter the next big award show devoted exclusively to fan films: The Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS!

As the name implies—and unlike the Directors Choice Awards—the Showrunner Awards are open exclusively to ONLY Star Trek themed fan films. Also as the name implies, our judging panel is made up of Showrunners from Star Trek films and series (as opposed to just directors). Like last year, we have a panel of twelve judges, although a few stepped down and a few new judges were added. I’ll be doing a blog spotlighting all of our judges in the next couple of weeks.

For me personally, I think one of the most interesting aspects of the Showrunner Awards is that they cover a period of FIVE YEARS of eligibility. Most fan film award shows are open to fan films released solely within the previous year. But this year, for example, any Star Trek fan film released between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2022 qualifies for entry should someone wish to submit it. In this way, a fan film gets “a second chance” (or a third or even fourth chance) to win. And since no film is allowed to win in the same category more than once, the field is cleared somewhat each year, and a fan film doesn’t suffer from “bad timing” because it happened to come out the same year as a really strong and dazzling fan film.

Another unique aspect of the Showrunner Awards is that each category has THREE winners: Admiral (1st place), Captain (2nd place), and Commander (3rd place). This increases the number of happy faces by 50% over award shows that feature only a single winner and single runner up.

The submission period is now open through May 31, 2023. After that, judges will have until the end of August to view and vote for their top five fan films in each category, with the most points going to each judge’s top choices. A showrunner judge is not allowed to vote for any of their own fan films in any of their top three slots.

Anyone can submit a nomination using the following form page:

The cost is $10 per submission to enter for Best Fan Film, and then any other specific category—like best director, best music, or best scene—is an additional $1. (This is how entries are structured in independent film festivals…they just have much higher prices!) This year, we are adding FOUR new categories, which I will spotlight in an upcoming blog.

Winners for 2023 will be announced on September 8, 2023…the anniversary of the first airing of Star Trek. Good luck to all entrants!

A look back at the final season of PICARD…and proof that it was WELL-WRITTEN! (editorial review)


It leaves me scratching my head that people are still complaining about STAR TREK:PICARD…even after an extremely satisfying conclusion. Did the season have some shortcomings? A few here and there. But on the whole, this was a solid piece of television entertainment aimed squarely at longtime fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

My friend ADAM “MOJO” LEBOWITZ (who worked on DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise…along with Babylon 5 and the Battlestar Galactica reboot)), summed up his feelings about Picard’s final season in this way…

My point is the overall story and plot were just not that great. After ep 9, pretty much everything that happened prior was meaningless. If the show didn’t feature the TNG cast and had every easter egg you can think of, no one would be raving about the show. In fact, the ONLY thing anyone talks about is seeing the old cast, the old ship, and all the easter eggs.

That doesn’t make a it a good show.

I told Mojo that I thought he was totally missing the point. The whole reason for doing this final season was to celebrate the seven seasons and four feature films of Star Trek‘s longest-running television series (in terms of number of episodes produced)…and to honor the actors and actresses who portrayed the seven main characters (as well as a few unexpected guest appearances) with one final, heroic adventure together.

Mojo and I went back-and-forth, as people on Facebook do (I wish I could provide a link to the discussion, but it’s not accessible publicly), but it got me thinking enough that I decided to dedicate my final review to this question:


I mean, what were people’s expectations for this final season? I think those who found things to complain about were coming in already primed for disappointment. In Mojo’s case, he went on to say this…

From my point of view, the writing just wasn’t that good. If the words had been spoken by a different cast, no one would care. NO ONE is talking about the story or amazing new characters – just the nostalgia factor. That’s not a sign of a great show.

Personally, I’ve seen people talking about the story and new characters. Heck, I was lobbying for STAR TREK: SHAW until they killed TODD STASHWICK’s incredible character. I loved AMANDA PLUMMER’s portrayal of Vadic. And I certainly had a lot of things to say about the story (more than 30,000 words as of this blog!).

But putting all of that aside, in my opinion, this finale season was written specifically to be about the nostalgia factor! Picard never needed to be Hamlet (SIR PATRICK has done that to death anyway, as has Star Trek) nor even “the best Star Trek ever.” It needed to tell a decent story that allowed our seven characters to be the heroes and have an uplifting send-off, saving the Federation/Galaxy/Universe one last time. It needed to be Star Trek…pure and simple. And gosh darn it, it was!

Continue reading “A look back at the final season of PICARD…and proof that it was WELL-WRITTEN! (editorial review)”

Assuming no one RUINED THE SURPRISE, you probably loved the penultimate episode of STAR TREK: PICARD! (editorial review)


I had already been told by a close friend that he’d seen some photos from the set of STAR TREK: PICARD‘s second-to-last episode, “Võx,” but if I saw them, it would give away a huge surprise. “NO!” I texted back. “No spoilers!” I had my day all planned. NO FACEBOOK until after I had watched the episode! No e-mails, no phone calls, I wasn’t even going to check texts!

But something in me knew, the night before, that a big surprise would be ruined for me…despite my bests efforts to be careful. Yes, I could have stayed up late to watch after midnight, but I was going to be visiting a friend in the hospital the next morning, and I wanted to be rested.

My alarm went off twice, and the second time, I dragged my sleepy butt out of bed, groggily grabbed the iPhone, and headed for the bathroom. I wasn’t really thinking yet. Taking a seat, I glanced at the phone to use facial recognition to turn it on. The phone immediately showed me a Facebook IM received just after midnight…

Oh, FFS!

I had no idea (yet) exactly what the IM meant, but I obviously couldn’t unsee it. And from the time stamp, the person who sent it (I’m not sharing his last name) hadn’t even possessed the consideration to give me the benefit of watching it as soon as it was available. Had I been awake, I would have had 11 minutes to watch a 47-minute episode!

Several hours later, after watching the episode and knowing, as the shuttle entered that Starfleet Museum Spacedock, what I would next see inside before I saw it, I told my friend that he’d effectively ruined the surprise for me. Dave apologized, saying it was “an accident” and “I got caught up in the moment.” I responded, “Well, at least one of us did.”

The more I thought about it, the more angry I became at what was such a selfish thing to do to a friend or, really, to any fan. Whatever the excuse, the same surprise reveal that had gotten my friend so giddy and ecstatic had now forever been taken away from me. I would never experience the shocked joy and jubilation that he had felt…ever…because he decided to ruin it for me.

I’m not going to end the friendship over it. Mistakes happen and people do stupid, inconsiderate things sometimes. But I’ve seen so many people on Facebook doing this same thing, STEALING that magic moment from others—even in the first 24 hours after the episode dropped—that I wanted to share my own story and the stinging sense of loss that I feel because of the thoughtless and selfish actions of another. With luck, this will NOT happen again next week to anyone (but sadly, I doubt it).

And now I will move on…

Continue reading “Assuming no one RUINED THE SURPRISE, you probably loved the penultimate episode of STAR TREK: PICARD! (editorial review)”

BORG HUNTERS films on a 24th Century set that’s really an…OPTOMETRIST’S OFFICE??? (interview with DAVID CHENG, MIKE LONGO, and MARK LUM)

Last year, STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTIONS INTERNATIONAL released their seventh fan film in three years, BORG HUNTERS. Their previous films covered quite a wide variety of themes and locations, mostly during the TOS movie era:

 THE HUMAN ADVENTURE was a very rare Star Trek: The Motion Picture era fan film, shot and released in late 2019. Showrunner DAVID CHENG played Admiral Nogura and MIKE LONGO played Admiral Kirk, with several other cosplayers appearing in the seldom-seen TMP-style uniforms.

LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAY, released in June 2020, was one of the first “fandemic” films, essentially an interstellar “Zoom call” between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy…who were also separated and looking forward to the day them could reunite.

I AM SPOCK, released a few weeks later, featured JENS DOMBEK, known internationally as “The German Spock.” A very stylized 90-second vignette shot against a stark black canvas background with only Spock and a series Vulcan props, Jens’ monotonal voice-over and minialist music track created a haunting and intimate look at this unique character.

UNREST was yet another “fandemic” film released in October of 2020 and featuring, for the first time, actors in front of green screens with chroma-keyed Star Trek backgrounds. David Cheng again played Nogura and Mike Longo played Kirk, with KEN HAYASHIDA debuting as Captain Hikaru Sulu aboard the U.S.S. Excelsior.

PEACE AND GOODWILL was released that Christmas, a third “Zoom call” style film as the lockdown continued…this time with a cast of six actors, their largest yet.

OUTRAGED, released in June of 2021, was still shot during lockdown but was their most ambitious project yet, with wide-framed green screen shots, a cast of 15 characters, and some scenes compositing two characters together at the same time.

And that leads us to April of 2022, and their first post-quarantine fan film. BORG HUNTERS was shot on a futuristic set with multiple actors on screen at the same time. Set in the 24th century after Voyager‘s return, David and Mike are back in front of the camera again, but this time they are playing different well-known characters: Harry Kim and Chakotay, respectively. As usual, the cosplay-quality Starfleet uniforms are impeccable, as is an amazing Borg outfit.

At this point, I’ll just let you take a look…

David and Mikey were joined by MARK G. H. LUM, who was previously a part of both The Human Adventure and Outraged, returned to roles both in front of and behind the camera, as Mark played Dr. Leland Tam as well as directing, editing, and being director of photography.

I got the three fans to sit down to answer some questions about their latest project, including finding out where this impressive 24th century set was located and how they came to shoot on it…

Continue reading “BORG HUNTERS films on a 24th Century set that’s really an…OPTOMETRIST’S OFFICE??? (interview with DAVID CHENG, MIKE LONGO, and MARK LUM)”

STAR TREK: PICARD’s eighth episode, “SURRENDER,” recovers strongly after last week’s minor stumble… (editorial review)


Before I begin this week’s blog, I have to mention my dismay (although not shock) at how many people skewered me for even suggesting that the previous episode of STAR TREK: PICARD, “Dominion,” had a slight stumble. Slight! But sacrilege that I even SUGGEST the series isn’t perfection. Here’s a few of my favorite zingers:

  • I love other people’s opinions. Just kidding! Zip it!
  • Bullshit!!!…was a great episode!
  • Wrrrrong
  • Why would anyone search for the negative while millions of us are thoroughly enjoying this?!!!
  • I don’t feel the need to dissect every aspect of every scene and character. Relax and enjoy.

Almost no one who took issue with my post actually bothered to read what I wrote (and they’re probably not reading this either), and certainly no one seemed to care that I’d posted six weeks of POSITIVE reviews before finally critiquing one episode.

But what I find the most amusing is that, for those first six positive reviews, almost no one blasted me for LIKING Picard‘s third season! It was only when I dared even lightly suggest criticism that the arrows started flying.

Now compare that to all of my critical reviews of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY and several of the episodes from Picard‘s first two seasons. Finding fault when those aired seemed fine with most people. In fact, people would often complain when I LIKED an episode!

But now? Heaven forbid someone speak ill of this season! Sure, there are still some fans who haven’t been enjoying these last eight episodes as much as most of the rest of us have, but it seems that fandom is speaking up loudly and proudly in favor of Picard‘s final season and jumping quickly to defend its honor against any who dare complain!

Quite a difference, huh?

Anyway, onto the eighth episode, “Surrender,” perhaps one of their most watchable. That doesn’t mean it was the best episode (so far, for me, that was episode #6, “The Bounty”), and this one had a few issues, which I’ll discuss below. But generally, it was a good, old-fashioned good-guys-versus-bad-guys struggle where we know exactly whom to root for and whom to jeer. There were no gray areas, and when the good guys finally win, we feel like cheering. There were also some really strong dramatic moments for just about every major character (except Beverly, Sidney, and Alana) and a few tour de force moments. It was fast-paced, suspenseful, perhaps a wee bit predictable, but oh-so-satisfying to watch.

Get the popcorn, and let’s discuss…

Continue reading “STAR TREK: PICARD’s eighth episode, “SURRENDER,” recovers strongly after last week’s minor stumble… (editorial review)”

Announcing the WINNERS of the 2nd annual 2022 DIRECTORS CHOICE fan film awards!

Beginning last year, there are now multiple annual awards shows open exclusively to fan films. Some are specific to just Star Trek fan films, but the DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS are open to fan films from any franchise or genre that were released in the previous calendar year (in the case of the current awards, the year was 2022).

Created and administered by GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of WARP 66 STUDIOS in Arkansas, the showrunners behind THE FEDERATION FILES “fanthology” series, the cost to enter was $10 per film, which included consideration in up to six categories (chosen by the submitter at the time they filled out the entry form). The judges were the directors of those submitted films, and casting a ballot was required in order for a director’s film(s) not to be disqualified. Also, a director was not allowed to vote for their own fan film (lest the final tallies wound up with each film getting one vote each!).

This year, Dan and Glen sweetened the pot a little (okay, a lot) by adding a $250 grand prize for “Best in Fest,” determined by which fan film received the most total votes across all categories.

The idea behind contests like these, in addition to honoring the fan filmmakers and their work, is to provide more exposure for these productions. So hopefully, you’ll check out at least a few of these fan films to see something you might like a lot. I did and was pleasantly surprised by more than a few of them!

Glen Wolfe concurred…

My goal was to bring some publicity to all of the fan filmmakers out there, and it looks like this is helping with that. I have received several comments from fans and fan filmmakers that, because of this award show, they viewed films that they would otherwise have been unaware of. From my perspective, I am very happy with the diversity of the films entered into the contest this year, as well as the diversity of the winning films. So hopefully that continues, and we will have a even more diverse field next year.

For a list of all 53 fan films that were entered, all of the nominees in each category, and all the winners, you can watch their presentation video. Below is a list of the winners and runners up in all the categories, along with YouTube links to those specific fan films. There’s also a list of MVPs (most valuable producers) supplied by the entrants themselves to acknowledge someone in their cast and/or crew whose contribution to the project was significant enough to merit special recognition.

And finally, at the bottom on this blog page, there’s a list of fan films voted the best for each franchise, the winners for best foreign and domestic fan films, and at the very bottom, the $250 winner for Best in Fest…

Continue reading “Announcing the WINNERS of the 2nd annual 2022 DIRECTORS CHOICE fan film awards!”

STAR TREK: PICARD stumbles slightly with their seventh episode “DOMINION”… (editorial review)


Each week, I read around a half dozen (sometimes more, if I’m late) online reviews of the latest episode of STAR TREK: PICARD. I do this mostly to make sure I’m not just saying the same thing everyone else is, but I also like to get an idea whether I’m in the majority or minority when it comes to my reactions to what’s just aired.

This week’s “consensus” seemed to be that the seventh episode of season three, “Dominion,” was decent but nothing as awesome as last’s week’s episode “The Bounty.” One reviewer called it “a solid base hit rather than another home run.” A second reviewer, who has given nearly every episode this season a rating of 4 to 5 out of 5 stars, gave “Dominion” a 3.5 score.

And I pretty much agree.

It wasn’t that this was a “bad” episode. In fact, “Dominion” was significantly better (in my opinion) than any episode of DISCOVERY to date and the entire first two seasons of Picard…plus a few STRANGE NEW WORLDS episodes. But in my opinion, season three has set the bar sooooo high that, even with all of those favorable comparisons, “Dominion” just seemed weak and problematic.

That said, there were certainly some very well-executed and memorable scenes, including Seven’s verbal sparring match with “Tuvok” before discovering that he was a Changeling infiltrator, and the scenes between Geordi and Lore/Data were awesome.

On the other hand—and especially upon a second viewing—there were intrinsic aspects of the episode that just felt, well, SLOPPY and RUSHED. And by “rushed, ” I don’t mean that not enough time or care was put into creating a quality production. Each episode has shone brightly (except for the dark lighting…which seems to have gotten somewhat corrected on the broadcast/streaming side) in that department. Instead, I mean rushed as in the episode was edited so as to be fast-moving and exciting at the expense of some plot logistics that the viewer was left to figure out for themselves. For example, who here understands how the Titan was able to find a nearly-destroyed Vulcan vessel and fake a communication from it in the short time they had while the minutes were ticking away to Frontier Day?

But for me, the issues with sloppiness of writing and storytelling were the most frustrating. And so I am about to do something I haven’t yet indulged in this season and write a blog filled with complaints!


Continue reading “STAR TREK: PICARD stumbles slightly with their seventh episode “DOMINION”… (editorial review)”

For longtime fans, PICARD’s latest episode, “THE BOUNTY,” was a real quicker picker-upper! (editorial review)


In the late spring of 1977, I did something that I’d never done before. I exited the movie theater on East 87th Street in New York City and and immediately walked back to the entrance on 3rd Avenue. Then I went up to the box office, bought another ticket, and headed back into the theater to watch the same movie again. Most of the audience did the same thing.

It wasn’t just that Star Wars was really good. No, it NEEDED to be watched again…to take in everything it was showing us, to catch things we probably missed, and just to try to process this life-altering, even world-altering cinematic experience.

While I’m not saying that the sixth episode of STAR TREK: PICARD‘s third season, “The Bounty,” is another Star Wars, the fact remains that for the first time in I-can’t-remember-how-long, I finished watching a Star Trek episode and immediately began watching it again. There was just so much to see, to experience, and yes, to LOVE about these 52 minutes, and even after two viewings, I’m still trying to process it all!

So rather than trying to find some unifying theme for this blog, I’m just going to watch the episode for a third time and write down my thoughts as I have them…


One of the “bibles” for Hollywood screenwriters is a book by BLAKE SNYDER titled Save the Cat! It literally argues that all movie scripts have the same basic story structure, and one of the common elements is when the main character “saves the cat” (like Ripley did the movie Alien) that shows the viewer that the main character, for all their flaws, is inherently a good person and worthy of being the protagonist of the film. Watch for it, and you will almost always see a “save the cat” moment.

After reading his book, I realized that there is also a technique used by writers that I like to call “kill the cat.” The villain does something nasty and vile, often to someone who doesn’t deserve such harsh treatment. The bad guy beats up or kills an innocent victim…or maybe they even shoot one of their own henchmen. “Yeah, this is one bad dude!” You’ll see this a lot, too, if you watch for it.

And in fact, Vadic “kills the cat” when she shoots one of her own Changeling henchmen (or rather, has one of her other henchmen do it) simply because he’s disagreeing with her. So, yes, we’ve now established what a truly evil baddy she is! (By the way, please excuse my pronouns. If you think about it, any Changeling really should be a “they.”)

But here’s the problem with that scene…

Continue reading “For longtime fans, PICARD’s latest episode, “THE BOUNTY,” was a real quicker picker-upper! (editorial review)”

Star Trek’s JAMES VAN OVER needs OUR HELP to afford home care during treatment for BRAIN CANCER…

If you don’t know the name JAMES VAN OVER, SR., then you haven’t been reading the credits for Star Trek: DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, Star Trek Generations, First Contact, Insurrection, or Nemesis very carefully. Or maybe you didn’t look closely enough at the dedication plaques of the Enterprise NX-01, Columbia NX-02, Enterprise-B, or U.S.S. Defiant seen in DS9‘s “The Die Is Cast.”

Of course, those plaque names very often matched the Star Trek credits as a way for the creators to “sign their work” and honor those dedicated people putting their heart and soul into making this show that we all love so much.

James Van Over joined the scenic art department team under MIKE OKUDA at Paramount in early 1994, just as TNG was wrapping, DS9 was finishing season two, Voyager was ramping up, and Generations was in pre-production. Mike was super-busy and needed a new graphic artist to help make all of those LCARS displays and animations and anything else that needed to adorn the many, many sets that the various Star Trek series and movies featured.

In fact, one of the people Mike offered that job to was me (I turned it down…here’s the story of that decision). But a couple of months later, Mike hired Jim, and he ended up working on the ensuing Paramount Star Trek series and movies until Enterprise was canceled in 2005. Jim also worked on the STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES episode “To Serve All My Days” (the one starring WALTER KOENIG as Chekov and written by DOROTHY FONTANA).

I first met Jim at the “SAVE STAR TREK” rally at Paramount when he and many others on the production crew and writing team came out to see hundreds of Trekkies with picket signs protesting the cancelation of Enterprise. Jim and I got to talking, and when I learned of his job title and hiring date, I said, “Oh, you got the job I turned down.” And he replied, “Then I need to thank you for my house!”

A man in his sixties with two grown sons—Jim, Jr. and Jason—Jim, Sr. is wonderful, warm, and very funny guy. We’ve remained friends ever since meeting that day at Paramount, even going to Disneyland together a few times with other local Trekkers…

Van Overboard!

It was during his time working on Star Trek that Jim met the love of his life, NIKI ROSENBLUM DeMAIO, a wonderful woman who shared Jim’s life for two magical decades before tragically passing away last summer. But just as Jim was finally beginning to get over her loss (at least a little), he was taken last Friday to the E.R. with with mobility issues.

While at the hospital for several days, Jim had countless tests, an MRI, and a brain biopsy (his scalp looks like Dr. Frankenstein worked on him!). Unfortunately, a malignant tumor was found, and Jim is going to need some serious treatment, the details of which are still being determined.

Continue reading “Star Trek’s JAMES VAN OVER needs OUR HELP to afford home care during treatment for BRAIN CANCER…”

I almost had ONE complaint about this week’s episode of STAR TREK: PICARD…ALMOST! (editorial review)

No, it wasn’t that I saw a red door and wanted to paint it black…although I kinda did…didn’t you? And it wasn’t the dark lighting—which seemed to be a little better this week, did you notice?

If you want to know what almost bothered me about the fifth episode of season three of STAR TREK: PICARD, “Imposters” (and how I mentally overcame that complaint), you’re gonna have to read till the end. Or of course, you could just scroll down and skip the rest of the blog…that’ll work, too!

First, however, I want to tell you all what I didn’t complain about and, in fact, really LOVED about this latest episode.


It’s funny, but after four episodes of intensity, I wasn’t sure what to expect from episode five. However, I quickly forgot about those first four episodes because they seem like only a light appetizer! The main course is now being served, and…holy crap!

In many ways, the first four episodes served as the first “act” of this amazing play. They were, for the most part, a self-contained mini-story of the Titan engaging Vadic and the Shrike, Picard learning about his son Jack and connecting with him (or at least starting to), Riker getting his groove back, Seven (re)gaining some self-respect, and Captain Liam Shaw convincing fans that it’s not only okay to use swear words in the future but that we actually kinda like this “dipshit from Chicago.” And of course, there were mysteries to set up and begin to explain, like the antagonists being rogue Changelings and that a major weapon has been stolen from Daystrom Station. Oh, and we got to watch the events leading to Raffi teaming up with Worf.

But all of that pretty much wrapped up by the end of episode four. The Titan escaped, the crew was safe (for now), the Changeling on board was killed, and the only real “cliffhanger” was a strange reddish vision (red matter, red angel, red shirts…always red!) that Jack Crusher had at the very end. And considering that there’s only ten episodes total, I suspect that five-thorough eight will work together as a “second act,” setting up a big two-part finale of both Star Trek: Picard and the saga of the Next Generation characters.

And I am totally fine with that story structure. In fact, this second act brought in a whole bunch of new stuff that I honestly did NOT see coming, and it all kept me on the edge of my seat. Let’s take a look at what blew me away…

Continue reading “I almost had ONE complaint about this week’s episode of STAR TREK: PICARD…ALMOST! (editorial review)”