FARRAGUT moves FORWARD into post-production while trying to reach the $50K crowd-funding limit…can they make it?? (interview with JOHNNY K.)

Back in 2016, CBS and Paramount placed a $50,000 limit on public crowd-funding in their fan film guidelines. Since then, only one Star Trek fan film (that I know of) has reached that limit. And while a handful of fan projects have made it into the tens of thousands, most top out in the four-figure range. So when a crowd-funded fan project starts realistically knocking on that $50,000 ceiling, it’s certainly newsworthy!

And that brings us to FARRAGUT FORWARD, the sequel fan film to the beloved fan series STARSHIP FARRAGUT that produced five full-length episodes, three short vignettes, two animated episodes, and one comic book between 2004 and 2016. The TOS sets that Starship Farragut constructed went on to be used for the entire run of the series STAR TREK CONTINUES and live on still as NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA, providing the starship setting for such fan series as DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, TALES FROM THE NEUTRAL ZONE, AVALON UNIVERSE, and a host of other Trek fan films and series. The proud legacy of Starship Farragut and the team behind it has benefited the entire Star Trek fan film community for two decades.

But the man behind FARRAGUT FILMS, JOHN BROUGHTON, wasn’t content to just wrap everything up back in 2016. In late August of 2021, John announced a new Farragut project (originally conceived years earlier) that would move Farragut FORWARD into the 1980s movie-era of Star Trek. Such fan films and series are a rarity in the community because of the challenges involved building both the sets from that era as well as the precision required to create those elaborate “monster maroon” uniforms that fans love so much.

But John was up for the challenge, as was his newly-chosen director for the project, JOHNNY K. of KAOTICA STUDIOS. Johnny’s Batman fan film The Oath has already won multiple film festival awards, and he was eager to tackle Farragut Forward.

Director Johnny K. (seated) and executive producer John Broughton on the set of Farragut Forward. Photo credit: Britt Dvorak.

Their Indiegogo kicked off in February of 2022 with an ambitious goal of $30,000. It was definitely a campaign done right, with frequent updates, photos, videos, interviews, and other features letting fans and donors know exactly what was being done and planned for. The Indiegogo fully funded on March 25, and by its “end” date of April 2 had taken in a staggeringly impressive $33,005 from 139 backers!

I put “end” in quotation marks because Indiegogo has a feature that allows campaigns that reach their goals before the deadline to continue fundraising with InDemand status, and that’s exactly what Farragut Forward has done in the two years since. Another $10K in donations has been raised in the last two years, bringing the campaign within just $7K of the $50K guideline limit, and the race isn’t over yet. Farragut Forward is continuing its crowd-funding efforts, having published this recent blog and released the following video after wrapping up its final major location shoot last month…

If you’d like to help Farragut Forward with a donation—or a second or third donation if you’ve already contributed—here’s the link to their Indiegogo campaign…


Continue reading “FARRAGUT moves FORWARD into post-production while trying to reach the $50K crowd-funding limit…can they make it?? (interview with JOHNNY K.)”

The Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS return for 2024…submissions are now OPEN through MAY 31!

Earlier this month, the winners of this year’s DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS were announced. Now it’s time for the other major award competition dedicated exclusively to fan films to kick off: the annual SHOWRUNNER AWARDS.

Unlike the Directors Choice Awards, which are open to fan films from any genre, the Showrunner Awards focus EXCLUSIVELY on Star Trek fan films…allowing our little niche of a niche of a niche both to shine as well as providing a friendly venue for Star Trek fan filmmakers to compete directly against each other.

As the name implies, the judging panel for the Showrunner Awards is made up of a dozen fan film showrunners, and I’ll spotlight them in an upcoming blog. Another unique aspect of the Showrunner Awards is that each of our nearly two-dozen categories recognizes THREE winners, with the top film in that category earning an Admiral Award, the second-place finisher receiving a Captain Award, and the third highest judged film winning a Commander Award. Each award is personalized for that fan film and sent to the entrant as a digital printable certificate.

A final element that distinguishes the Showrunner Awards is that the eligibility window for submission is more than just a single year. In fact, it is currently 5 years (anything released between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2023), giving a fan film that may not have won in a previous year because of strong competition additional chances to earn an award (no film is allowed to win twice in the same category).

That said, it’s been recommended that we shorten the window from 5 years to a less expansive 3 years, and that will happen for next year’s awards. I was going to do it this year, but one of our judges rightly pointed out that such a major change should be announced beforehand just in case a filmmaker was waiting to enter an older fan film. So next year the window will shrink from 5 to 3 years, but we’re still at 5 years this go around.

As always, the cost is $10 per entry plus $1 for each category beyond Best Fan Film that the submitter wishes to enter—things like best director, best actor/actress, best VFX, best music, etc. This year, we’re adding a new category for Best Green Screen Compositing, bringing the total number of categories to 23.

The submission period is now open through May 31, 2023. After that, judges will have until the middle 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.) Winners will be announced, as usual, on September 8, the anniversary of the first airing of Star Trek on NBC back in 1966.

Anyone can submit a nomination using the following form page:


Good luck!

Announcing the WINNERS of the 3rd annual DIRECTORS CHOICE fan film awards for 2023!

There are currently two annual contests open to any fan filmmaker where their production(s) can be judged exclusively by a group of their peers. One of these is the SHOWRUNNER AWARDS, which is dedicated exclusively to Star Trek fan films and judged by a panel of fan film showrunners. And the other is the DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS, where the judges are the directors of the submitted films. Unlike the Showrunner Awards (which begin taking submissions later on this month), The Directors Choice Awards are open to fan films in any genre, not just Star Trek.

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). Each director of a submitted film was required to cast a ballot in order for that director’s film(s) not to be disqualified. Also, a director was not allowed to vote for their own fan film(s).

As happened last year, this year’s winner for “Best in Fest”—determined by which fan film received the most total votes across all categories—received a $250 grand prize.

Glen Wolfe was very pleased with the depth and variety of applicants for the awards that covered fan film releases in calendar year 2023…

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.

For a list of all the 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.

Continue reading “Announcing the WINNERS of the 3rd annual DIRECTORS CHOICE fan film awards for 2023!”

DEFENDERS OF THE FEDERATION shows what STAR TREK might have looked like during the early 1970s… (an interview with JEFF NORD)

Two years ago, Los Angeles-based filmmaker JEFF NORD released an intriguing fan film: COMMANDERS OF STARFLEET. Although less than six minutes in runtime, the short film did a brilliant job of reinterpreting Star Trek as a black and white 1930s/40s-style sci-fi adventure. It was a truly fun viewing experience and excellently crafted to look and feel like Star Trek meets the original Flash Gordon movie-matinee serial.

When Jeff announced that he was working on yet another reimagining of Star Trek, many of use expected 1940s or 1950s-style sci-fi. Instead, DEFENDERS OF THE FEDERATION turns out to be early-1970s in look and concept. Check it out…

Of course, “reimagining” Star Trek in the 1970s isn’t really necessary. The animated series aired in 1973-74, and of course, Star Trek: The Motion Picture caught the last few weeks of the 1970s be debuting on December 6, 1979. That said, there was a tremendous difference between the kind of sci-fi you’d see in the early versus late 1970s, and Defenders of the Federation is definitely in the earlier category.

Nevertheless, I was curious to find out why Jeff decided to “fast forward” the era. And that brings us to part one of a really fascinating interview with LOTS of behind-the-scenes photos…!

Continue reading “DEFENDERS OF THE FEDERATION shows what STAR TREK might have looked like during the early 1970s… (an interview with JEFF NORD)”

THE FEDERATION FILES: “MOTHER” is based on STAR TREK screenwriter LARRY BRODY’s unsold story idea for VOYAGER! (video interview with DAN and KELLY REYNOLDS)

This is pretty cool! Back in 1968, with a newly-sold novel under his belt, LARRY BRODY (and his wife) moved to Los Angeles to see if he could break into Hollywood as a writer. A science fiction fan, Larry was soon pitching stories for the third season of Star Trek. Although none of his ideas was optioned, in 1972, legendary story editor DOROTHY “D.C.” FONTANA bought Larry in to pitch directly to GENE RODDENBERRY for the upcoming Star Trek animated series.

One of Larry’s stories—which ultimately became “The Magicks of Megas-Tu,” the eighth episode of the animated series that aired in 1973—intrigued Gene, who had wanted to do an episode about the Enterprise encountering God. Ultimately, the network wasn’t comfortable with featuring God in a children’s cartoon, and so the main omnipotent alien became the devil instead.

By that point, Larry’s notoriety as a Hollywood screenwriter was flourishing, and by the end of the 1970s, he was also a producer on the TV series Police Story. Over a multi-decade career, Larry would produce for eight other television series as well as writing dozens of scripts for shows like The Six Million Dollar Man, The Streets of San Francisco, Police Woman, The Fall Guy, The New Mike Hammer, Automan, Walker: Texas Ranger, Diagnosis Murder, Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Silver Surfer, and Spawn (to name a small few!). And in 1995, Star Trek: Voyager was added to that list with a second season episode about Chakotay titled “Tatoo.”

Larry Brody isn’t the first Star Trek scriptwriter to also work on a Star Trek fan film. That list also includes the aforementioned Ms. Fontana along with tribbles-creator DAVID GERROLD and TNG and DS9 episode writer MARC ZICREE. But since the fan film guidelines came out in 2016, no Trek writer has been associated with a Star Trek fan film…until now, that is.

THE FEDERATION FILES is a “fanthology” Star Trek fan series created by DAN REYNOLDS and GLEN L. WOLFE, co-owners of the TOS sets at WARP 66 STUDIOS in northern Arkansas. Since 2016, they have released fourteen fan films spanning the long history of Trek‘s prime universe from the 20th-24th centuries:

Their fourteenth release, the first since December of 2022, was an adaptation of a story that Larry Brody pitched for Voyager titled “MOTHER.” Set during the TOS-era, their latest production has a very Star Trek “flavor”…

While Larry himself was not available for an interview, I did have a chance to sit down with Dan Reynolds and his wife Kelly to discuss how “Mother” went from Voyager story idea to fleshed-out script to full TOS fan film. The following video also includes a fun rarity in our community: a fan film blooper reel. You can watch that segment starting at the 19-minute mark of this interview…


In Part 1, I began talking to “Time & CGI Master” SAMUEL COCKINGS about his latest two TREK SHORTS releases DESTINY CALLS (which premiered on November 30 of last year), and BACK TO YESTERDAY (which was posted this past February 10).

They join a looooooong and ever-growing list of Trek Shorts that Sam has written, produced, often directed, and provided jaw-dropping VFX for (along with his team). Indeed, last year alone, in addition to Destiny Calls, Sam released no less than EIGHT other Trek Shorts—almost one per month…!

You can watch all 20 of Sam’s Trek Shorts releases, dating back to 2021, on this YouTube playlist. Meanwhile, here are Sam’s latest two productions, both dealing with time travel in some way, if you haven’t seen them yet…

Sam and I have already discussed Destiny Calls in Part 1 of our interview. So now we shift our focus over to Back to Yesterday

Continue reading “It’s TIME for two new TREK SHORTS: DESTINY CALLS and BACK TO YESTERDAY (interview with SAMUEL COCKINGS, Part 2)”


Give your time to SAMUEL COCKINGS, and he will give you his time, and we will all have a great time watching fan films about…time!

Time to cover another couple of TREK SHORTSDESTINY CALLS and BACK TO YESTERDAY, the latest two releases from the time lord of Trek CGI in the UK, everyone’s good buddy, Sam Cockings.

Last year, Sam managed to release nearly one fan film per month…!

That’s a whole lotta blogs, let me tellya—so many, in fact, that I had serious trouble keeping up with them all! In fact, just two weeks after my most recent blog about his September and October releases, Sam premiered yet another new fan film on November 30, the aforementioned Destiny Calls, which turned out to be one of my favorites so far. Take a look…

While I loved the CGI renders of all of the ships and shuttles, as I always do, this time what I enjoyed even more was seeing different versions of the same character from various times interacting with each other. This was certainly not the first time Star Trek has ever done this (most recently, Captain Pike encountered his future self—granted, from an alternate reality—in the season one finale of STRANGE NEW WORLDS , and of course, Admiral Kathryn Janeway went back in time to have a little encounter with her past self in the Voyager series finale “Endgame”).

But Sam’s offering was fun in that there were actually FIVE separate versions of his character, William Davis, each plucked from different points of his Starfleet career, each wearing a different uniform but also with different memories of this same event. It was a “small” story (as Trek fan films are limited in run-time by the guidelines), but it didn’t really need to be any bigger. Indeed, as a piece of a much larger tapestry of fan films with many ongoing plotlines, Destiny Calls was just long enough to be enticingly intriguing.

Sam took a well-deserved break in December and January, not releasing any new Trek Shorts. But on February 10, 2024, Back to Yesterday premiered, starring NICK COOK from the long-running Scottish fan series INTREPID playing his character of Captain Daniel Hunter. But this Captain Hunter was from a later time in his career, commanding a different starship. And like William Davis in Destiny Calls, Hunter travels through time himself—backwards about a century or so—to meet an ancestor of Davis who, as it happens, is again played by Sam. It’s less complicated than it sounds, but you can watch it here…

Sam’s father, STEVEN COCKINGS, also appears in yet another Trek Shorts, reprising his role of Lee Galloway from last February’s This Side of Morality.

Anyway, with so much time travel, the time had come to once again chat with Sam. The first part of this interview deals primarily with Destiny Calls

Continue reading “It’s TIME for two new TREK SHORTS: DESTINY CALLS and BACK TO YESTERDAY (interview with SAMUEL COCKINGS, Part 1)”

STARFLEET [JOBS] looks at STAR TREK from a fresh, new perspective… (video interview with STEVE SHIVES)

One of the great things about Star Trek fan films is that many of them approach Star Trek from new and fascinating directions…whether it’s a fan series about a crew of Klingons or Romulans on board a warship, a look at classic TOS episodes from the point-of-view of a redshirt ensign sitting in her quarters on deck 7, or a Star Trek parody featuring talking puppets rendered out in 3D.

Oh, the creative possibilities of fan films are nearly endless!

And the latest fresh idea comes from YouTuber and Podcaster STEVE SHIVES, whose channel has nearly 200K subscribers and more than 3,500 videos!!! Most of his videos deal with pop culture, sci-fi, politics, religion, and of course, Star Trek…nothing that anyone would ever get particularly passionate about, right? But the guy is REALLY hilarious and deeply insightful. If you’re a liberal (like me), his political content is totally on the money. And if you’re a conservative, well, stick to the Star Trek stuff (trust me on this).

Anyway, in April of last year, Steven began releasing what he describes as Star Trek “skits” but I’ve decided to classify as Star Trek fan films because, honestly, they totally are. His first one, STARFLEET LAWYER, was a 15-minute “interview” with Commander Richard Tuckman, Esq., an officer and attorney in the Starfleet Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) corps. Steve plays the role with a sardonic, amusingly resentful flair, as an attorney on a starship turns out to be one of the least respected individuals in the crew. It turns out that captains and first officers always seem to think they’d do a better job as lawyers than someone who is actually trained in law (think: “The Measure of a Man”). As the interview goes on, Tuckman gets increasingly drunk, increasingly sardonic, and increasingly hilariously resentful.

Two months later, Steve was back as Chief Petty Officer Jimmy Gruniger, the Chief Custodian aboard the U.S.S. Knoxville. About as different from lawyer Richard Tuckman as you can get, Gruniger loves his job, even though it’s one of the messiest ones on a starship. But this STARFLEET JANITOR is about as lovable as can be, and just as hilarious as his high-brow predecessor from the previous skit. Take a look…

In October, shortly after the Writers Guild strike ended but while the Screen Actors Guild was still striking along with the United Auto Workers, Steve introduced us to Crewman First Class Albie Milano, STARFLEET UNION REP for the enlisted personnel in the Vehicle Maintenance Department. “Wait!” you say. “How is there a union rep if the Federation doesn’t use money in the future?” Steve deals with this question by setting this interview shortly before the launch of NX-01 in the 22nd century. But it isn’t just about the money. It’s about safety initiatives like installing inertial dampeners and gravity nets throughout the entire ship, and a host of other reasonable concerns. And everything is delivered with an Italian flavored Bronx accent by yet another unique and lovable character.

Continue reading “STARFLEET [JOBS] looks at STAR TREK from a fresh, new perspective… (video interview with STEVE SHIVES)”

AXANAR finally WRAPS principal photography!

It’s a moment that many Star Trek fans thought would ever happen. This past weekend, AXANAR finally wrapped filming for ALL 19 actors set to appear in the two upcoming Axanar sequel fan films!

After a seven-year delay from the originally-scheduled start of principal photography back in February of 2016—interrupted by a year-long copyright lawsuit that ultimately settled, a move across country from California to Georgia, the departure of two directors, the passing of cast members RICHARD HATCH and (very recently) GARY GRAHAM, a pandemic lockdown that prevented filming for over a year, a second move to a smaller and less-expensive studio space, an 8-month cancer treatment and recovery by studio manager DANA WAGNER that delayed reassembly of the bridge set, and simply synching the schedules for more than 50 production crew, cast members, and extras —all the necessary filmed footage of the actors for Axanar is now “in the can,” as they say in the business.

This final shoot was intended primarily to film just two actors, one of whom offered to return to redo their lines while the other had been unable to attend the previous full studio shoot at the end of September 2023. That was an all-hands-on-deck, 3-day production weekend filming scenes involving 7 different actors, a number of whom required significant amounts of prosthetic alien makeup. Compared to that, this final shoot was a much smaller affair, with “only” about 20 people there making up the cast and production crew.

Reports from folks in attendance at ARES STUDIO for this past weekend’s shoot said that it went off without a flaw. MARK EDWARD LEWIS (co-director) and GEOFF FAGIEN (director of photography) oversaw the visual aspects of the shoot—lighting, shot framing, camera motion, etc.—while TED BRUNETTI (co-director) coached the actors through their performances. Alec is keeping the identities of these final two actors confidential for the moment, their names to be revealed at the premiere later this year.

There was also time available for Alec himself to do a few pick-up lines as Captain Garth, lines that were shot previously, but it was felt they could be delivered better (which, reportedly, they were). I actually have some behind-the-scenes footage of some of Alec’s time in the command chair, complements of JEFFERSON KELLEY from BEYOND TREK PODCASTS. The video below doesn’t show either of the two “mystery” actors, but it does give a flavor of how Mark and Geoff collaborated behind the camera while Ted worked with the actors. There’s also a quick 30 seconds at the beginning showing the green screen setup…

Continue reading “AXANAR finally WRAPS principal photography!”

The 13-YEAR mission of STARSHIP ANTYLLUS is nearing its end… (interview with GEORGE KAYAIAN, part 2)

In Part 1, I introduced you to GEORGE KAYAIAN, the showrunner behind the long-running (since 2013) fan series STARSHIP ANTYLLUS. But George really needs no introduction, as he’s been making Star Trek fan films almost non-stop for 32 years (since 1992)!!

For George, fan filmmaking has always been a family affair—with his parents and brother William helping him for the first decade and a half, and his daughter Anya helping him with Antyllus starting when she was only four years old and continuing through today. Anya handles script continuity as well as playing multiple characters in the series. She even appears briefly as herself (without makeup or mask) at the end of their most recent release, “Isolation’s Echo,” their twenty-fourth episode overall…

And now, back to our interview with George, already in progress…

JONATHAN – Between your previous fan films and the twenty-four episodes (so far) of Antyllus, you’ve written a staggering amount of content over the decades! What influences you when you write your Antyllus episodes?

GEORGE – It’s totally subconscious. For me, the story writes itself. When I conceived my Antyllus series, I knew the whole story—and where I wanted it to end—from the very beginning. What remained was filling in that story with characters and specific events to make it happen. I’ve been fortunate when it comes to creating my films. The ideas are always there. Obviously, I’m aware of the original Star Trek format, so I would cite that as my major source of inspiration and influence.

JONATHAN – You not only write every episode but you also star in and direct each one. What unique challenges do each of those tasks bring with them for you?

George Kayaian

GEORGE – Each task is unique in importance. The writing is the key foundation—everything that is created from this point hinges on how well it was conceived. One advantage to being the writer, in addition, is how I understand perfectly what needs to be accomplished in the telling of my
tale. Directing is the forming of the ideas into concrete actions. The vision of the concept springs forth and becomes tangible. And acting is the reality and manifestation of the ideas brought to life.

And because I like to give credit where it’s due, DAVE EVERSOLE conceived the majority of Episode 17. I had to do a rewrite on that one to add elements that he wasn’t aware of since he wrote it before my show started filming! And VANCE MAJOR did the heavy lifting on episode twenty—which he really wanted to do—and I simply included elements to tie it back into my show to keep it on track.

JONATHAN – You mentioned earlier in the interview that you’ve done other non-Trek projects, as well as Star Trek fan films. Can you talk briefly about them?

Continue reading “The 13-YEAR mission of STARSHIP ANTYLLUS is nearing its end… (interview with GEORGE KAYAIAN, part 2)”