Lightning strikes AGAIN as WARNER BROTHERS allows another high-quality HARRY POTTER FAN FILM to be produced!

The news has been spreading through the fan film community faster than a snitch through a quidditch match!  According to a rapidly-expanding plethora of online sources, Warner Brothers studios, which owns the movie rights to the HARRY POTTER franchise, have given approval to the producers of a high-quality fan film titled VOLDEMORT: ORIGINS OF THE HEIR to be made.  The only conditions: the producers must make no profit, and the completed project can only be shown for free via YouTube.

This didn’t seem to be the case last July when Warner Brothers shut down the Kickstarter page for this project.  The production had already successfully funded a $30,000 campaign, but faster than you can say “Expelliarmus!” all trace of the campaign was gone, replaced by a pretty harsh sounding notice:

Description of infringing material: It recently came to our attention that users on your site, at the link(s) below, were contemplating a project that violates Warner Bros.’ rights. We have discussed it with the users who have agreed to remove the project from the site and have requested that we send this notice so that the project is removed. I have a good faith belief that the project is not authorized by Warner Bros., its agent, or the law. Accordingly, please act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the URL listed below.

In fact, some fans actually thought there was some sort of litigation (apparently, there wasn’t), and even Wikipedia erroneously reports that in their entry.  (Look quick, before they fix it!)

But then this happened…

Continue reading “Lightning strikes AGAIN as WARNER BROTHERS allows another high-quality HARRY POTTER FAN FILM to be produced!”

DEIMOS Production Crew releases their fifth episode: “No Greater Love”!

Anyone who says that Star Trek fan films are “dead” needs to get that message out to the fine folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES!  These guys continue to churn out new releases with the constancy of the north star and the inevitability of death and taxes!

Currently, two Potemkin Pictures production teams are working on a series of fan films featuring two different Starfleet crews.  Over in Georgia, the Starship Tristan production crew is currently in pre-production on their NINTH fan film.  And in Pelham, Alabama, the STARSHIP DEIMOS production crew has just released its FIFTH episode, the 14-minute “No Greater Love.”

Both productions use actors enrolled in drama programs at nearby academic institutions, along with other actors from local community theater.  As such, the performances of many who appear on camera in these two series tend to be slightly more elevated than your typical Trek fan film that uses only fans who are usually untrained in the performing arts.

“No Greater Love” is no exception.  Constrained by budgets, Potemkin Pictures concentrates primarily on character and st0ry-driven scripts.  The result is a fan film without the glitz and sizzle of the sleeker, higher-budget fan productions, but with a lot of heart and soulful performances.

So no, my friends, Star Trek fan films are not dead…not if Potemkin Pictures and show-runner RANDY LANDERS have anything to say about it!  You can read a 2-part interview that I did with Randy last year by clicking here.

And you can watch “No Greater Love” below…

THE ROMULAN WARS releases PART 1 of their FINAL EPISODE!

On May 13, 2005, Star Trek: Enterprise aired its series finale, “These Are the Voyages”–completely skipping over a half-decade of the much anticipated Romulan War with Earth and the Coalition of Planets.

Many fans were, quite understandably, disappointed.  In addition to strengthening the alliances that would form the Federation and shaping the very direction of Starfleet technology from pure exploration into vessels that could also fight and defend, the very nature of the Romulan War promised action and drama that the fifth Star Trek television series (sixth if you count the animated series) had not previously been able to develop.

Two and a half years later, on November 23, 2007, Star Trek fans began to fill in that missing half decade with a new fan series: STAR TREK: THE ROMULAN WARS.  Led by show-runner LEE GARTRELL, this Arkansas-based production didn’t have the financial resources or the professional polish of a Star Trek: New Voyages or Starship Exeter, but what they did have was passion and commitment.  They sewed their own costumes, built their own simplified sets, green-screen composited in backgrounds behind their actors, and created their own VFX.

It was a labor of love that didn’t always have the best lighting or sound quality, but you could still see how much time and effort went into this fan series which was, at the time, the only fan production that attempted to tackle the 22nd century NX-01 era of Star Trek.

Over the course of the next eight years, The Romulan Wars would release nine full-length episodes ranging in length from 22 to 45 minutes (nearly four and a half hours of content!).  Their previous offering, a prequel episode entitled “The Atlas,” was released a year before the fan film guidelines were ever announced.  At the time, Lee Gartrell was planning for a full run of 16 episodes to finish up the war.

Unfortunately, Guideline #1 prohibits continuing series.  So The Romulan Wars is wrapping up with their tenth episode, a two-parter entitled “The Tunnel at the End of the Light.”  Part 1 has just been released, with Part 2 planned for posting within the next week or so.  Part One runs 23 minutes (longer than the 15 minutes permitted by the guidelines), but the first four minutes doesn’t really count.  And if Star Trek Continues can release 45-minute episodes post-guidelines, I doubt 19 minutes for a non-crowd-funded fan film will wake the sleeping giant.

You can view all the previous episodes here.

NOTE: Part One of the series finale, “The Tunnel at the End of the Light,” was later replaced by the entire completed episode…

“BOLDLY GO!” – the Star Trek MUSICAL moves from STAGE to Youtube VIDEO! (feature)

You don’t have to be a theoretical physicist to write a Star Trek musical…but it sure helps!

BOLDLY GO! – Where No Musical Has Gone Before didn’t start off as a fan film.  In fact, it was only performed six times in front of audiences in late February and early March of 2016 in Pasadena, CA at the Ramo Auditorium at Caltech.  But last month, a year after its too-short theatrical run, the full two-and-a-half hour live performance was posted to Youtube…and now I consider it officially a “fan film.”  And not only that, but it’s one to which I am giving a rating of “Highly Recommended +” because it’s REALLY good!  (And if you don’t want to commit that much time, at the end of this blog, I’m including time codes to skip to the four best musical numbers that are MUST SEE/HEAR.)

The musical is set in the prime TOS timeline with Kirk, Spock, Bones, and the rest of the original crew.  There’s Klingons, Andorians, and all the wink-wink references to that Star Trek trivia you know and love—from Khan Noonian Singh and Sulu’s love of botany to Elaan of Troyius and the Space Hippies…and even a poke at the Kelvin-verse timelime!  There’s also satirical chuckles to many of the tropes of musical theater, with 19 different song and dance numbers ranging in style from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Gilbert & Sullivan to doo-wop, gospel, tango, and even Motley Crüe (and don’t blink or you’ll miss a quick nod to West Side Story).

Now, if you’re expecting to see something on par with the likes of Hamilton or Les Miserables, I need to mention that this cast is made up of students, faculty, and alumni from the California Institute of Technology plus scientists and engineers who usually build interplanetary space probes for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory!  In other words, set your phaser expectations to “This is musical theater, not rocket science—and these are rocket scientists.”  But really, when you think about it, who better to put on the world’s first-ever full-length live Star Trek musical?!

And who better to direct it that a guest star from an actual episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation?  But more on that later.  First, let’s travel back in time (with the help of the Guardian of Forever or a slingshot maneuver or Q or whatever) to see how this ambitious production came to be…

Continue reading ““BOLDLY GO!” – the Star Trek MUSICAL moves from STAGE to Youtube VIDEO! (feature)”

AKIRA YOSHIMURA reprises his role as SULU on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE…41 years later!

Does a SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE sketch count as a Star Trek fan film?  Aw, who cares?  This is still a really fun story…

The earth date was May 29, 1976, and Saturday Night Live (SNL) was about to air the 22nd episode of their first season.  The cutting-edge sketch comedy series had become a late night TV hit, and Elliott Gould was the host for that week’s show.  The writers had come up with a clever skit (that has since become a true classic) entitled Star Trek: The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise.  The legendary JOHN BELUSHI played an over-the-top, Shatneresque Captain James T. Kirk.  CHEVY CHASE played a perfectly deadpan Mr. Spock.  And the awesome DAN AYKROYD played both Dr. McCoy and provided a voice-over of Scotty on the com from Engineering.

During the skit, the Enterprise is chased by a 1968 Chrysler Imperial with a tinted windshield, registered to a 20th century corporation known as “NBC” (which, according to the ship’s computer, used to manufacture cookies).  The starship is boarded by Elliott Gould and Garrett Morris, two executives from the network announcing that Star Trek has been canceled due to low Nielsen ratings.  Hilarity ensues…mostly thanks to the brilliant performances of the main actors.

DORIS POWELL as Uhura, CHEVY CHASE as Spock, John BELUSHI as Kirk, and AKIRA YOSHIMURA as Sulu.

There was only one problem at the time: SNL didn’t have an Asian comedian or actor available to play Sulu.  Rather than leave the helm seat empty (which wouldn’t work anyway, as Kirk orders evasive action during the sketch), the producers grabbed one of the production designers, a Japanese-American named AKIRA YOSHIMURA, to play Sulu.  There also wasn’t a black woman available to play Uhura, so a production assistant named DORIS POWELL was put into a red uniform (with the wrong rank braids).  Both people were given a bit of of dialog to speak, although Yoshimura got nearly a dozen lines (and flubbed two of them)…but hey, at least he was willing to be on camera in front of millions of people!

Flash forward to May 6 of 2017.  Actor CHRIS PINE (who plays James T. Kirk in the rebooted Star Trek movie series) was the SNL host, and the writers decided to once again feature a Star Trek skit.  There was only one problem: it was four decades later and Saturday Night Live STILL didn’t have an Asian comedian or actor available to play Sulu!

Continue reading “AKIRA YOSHIMURA reprises his role as SULU on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE…41 years later!”

2017 Independent Star Trek Film Awards (now the “BJO’s”) WINNERS ANNOUNCED!


Hollywood has the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Golden Globes.  Now Star Trek fan films have the Bjos!

Last year at the TREKLANTA Star Trek Convention, the second annual INDEPENDENT STAR TREK FAN FILM AWARDS were presented by none other than BJO TRIMBLE and her husband JOHN TRIMBLE.  As most fans know, Bjo Trimble is celebrated as being the woman who saved Star Trek from cancellation in 1968 by organizing the great letter-writing campaign (among other achievements).  She told Treklanta organizer ERIC L. WATTS how impressed she was with the entire awards program.

After the ceremony, Eric asked Bjo if she would endorse the awards by allowing them to be named in her honor, and she humbly agreed.  So now we get to save a bit of time and typing and just call them “The Bjo’s.”

The 2017 Bjos were presented at and by the Treklanta Star Trek Convention last Sunday in Atlanta, Georgia. The panel of judges included Diana Dru Botsford, Keith R. A. DeCandido, John DeSentis, Matthew M. Foster, Andrew Greenberg, Robert Greenberger, Cheralyn Lambeth and Archie H. Waugh.  Each judge had to watch through a combined total of nearly TWELVE HOURS of 33 different Star Trek fan films and rank them in twelve different categories!

The Masters of Ceremonies were Eric L. Watts and Brian Holloway. The presenters included David Gerrold, Gary Graham, J. G. Hertzler and James Horan. The award plaques were sponsored by Lawrence L. Fleming.

All of the entrants for the 2017 awards needed to have been released to the public during calendar year 2016.  For a full list of rules, entrants, and winners from previous years, click here.

Eric posted this 15-minute video to announce the winners…along with photos of all of the judges and a full list of film entrants selected for review.  But if you’d prefer a quick text summary of just the winners, here it is after some spoiler space…

Continue reading “2017 Independent Star Trek Film Awards (now the “BJO’s”) WINNERS ANNOUNCED!”

MELBOURNE – Interview with VANCE MAJOR, Part 2

Last time, we took a closer look at the new fan series MELBOURNE, shot at STARBASE STUDIOS and produced by VANCE MAJOR.  This low-budget production has guest cameos from and shout-outs to SEVEN other fan films and series, tying a fair portion of the fan film community together with some shared continuity.

In Part 1 of our interview, Vance talked a bit about his own background as a fan and a filmmaker, and how his experiences with other fan productions led him to create his own.  In the conclusion, we discuss more about the Melbourne project itself—its cast, production and post-production, and plans for the future.

So let’s get right to it…

Continue reading “MELBOURNE – Interview with VANCE MAJOR, Part 2”

ALEC PETERS discusses the new ATLANTA location for AXANAR! (interview)

Yesterday, I was told by several folks to look at this posting from CARLOS PEDRAZA’s Axanamonitor.com blog site. In it, he had had the “scoop” on where the new AXANAR PRODUCTIONS studio would be located, how big it was, the amenities it offered and didn’t offer, and even photos of the outside and inside.

There was only one problem: that WASN’T the new studio.  It wasn’t the right building; it wasn’t even the right city!  Carlos listed the new location as Gainesville, GA: “…about 55 miles northeast of Atlanta, actually a bit closer to the South Carolina border than to Georgia’s capital.”

Now, I’m not sure where Carlos got his information from, but for the last two weeks, I’ve been preparing an interview with ALEC PETERS about the new Atlanta facility, and I already had a whole bunch of information and photos…and they didn’t match what Carlos had posted at all.  This seemed, to me at least, both curious and a bit troubling.  One of us had the wrong information…and I really hoped it wasn’t me!

So I contacted Alec.  I asked him if he’d made any last-minute changes to the location of the space that he’d be leasing.  He said no, he was still leasing the same place—the lease was signed, sealed, and delivered—and no, it was not the same one that Carlos was reporting on Axamonitor.com.

Then I asked Alec if he would mind moving up our interview so I could get the correct information disseminated before people started thinking that Axanar was moving into some dumpy building in an economically depressed town more than an hour away from Atlanta.

DON’T BE FOOLED!!! This building shown on the Axanonitor blog site is NOT the building that Axanar Productions will be moving to. The correct image is the red brick building featured at the top of this web page.

Originally, I was planning to publish my interview with Alec sometime next week when the moving trucks are supposed to arrive.  But I heard that Alec has a whole slew of local volunteers lined up to help unload the trucks and unpack things, and to be honest, I was worried that some of the volunteers might get confused and think they’d accidentally shown up at the wrong building…as the one in Carlos’ photo isn’t even the right color!

Anyway, Alec agreed to expedite his answers to my interview questions, and I just received them. So here is the CORRECT information about the new facility in Atlanta…

Continue reading “ALEC PETERS discusses the new ATLANTA location for AXANAR! (interview)”

MELBOURNE – Interview with VANCE MAJOR, Part 1

At the end of March, a new Star Trek fan production titled MELBOURNE (just that, no “Starship” in front of the name) posted its debut fan film: “Storm Front, Part 1.”  One of several fan series shot on the sets of STARBASE STUDIOS (while they were still in their previous Oklahoma City location), Melbourne initially released two ultra-short vignettes, “Pen Pals” and “Pen Pals 2”.)  But fans were really waiting for their first full episode to see what this new fan production would be all about.

Most successful Star Trek fan projects have a driving force behind the production, and in the case of Melbourne, that driving force is show-runner/producer/writer VANCE MAJOR (his friends call him “Vman”), who lives in Kansas with his wife of 17 years and his newborn son, Royce.  I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Vance for a very friendly interview.  In fact, “friendly” is one of the best adjectives I could use to describe this warm and humble film producer from the Sunflower State.  Since having our interview, we’ve actually become good friends, have spent hours on the phone talking Trek and swapping “Daddy” stories, and he’s invited me to appear on camera in an upcoming episode of Melbourne anytime I can get myself over to Arkansas (the new home of Starbase Studios).

So here’s what Vance had to say…

Continue reading “MELBOURNE – Interview with VANCE MAJOR, Part 1”

ALEC PETERS answers READER questions about the AXANAR FINANCIALS!

Last month, I published a blog where I provided a copy of the AXANAR financials, along with reporting on the go-forward plans for AXANAR PRODUCTIONS and INDUSTRY STUDIOS.  Obviously, those plans have changed quite a bit over the past few weeks—as Tuesday’s blog pointed out—but the financials remain constant because they’re now a matter of public record.

In that same blog from last month, I also invited readers to submit their own questions for Alec via the comments section and received dozens of inquiries.  It was a mix of questions from supporters and detractors, some about the financials and some about other things, but I submitted every one to ALEC PETERS, requesting that he try to respond to as many participants as he could.

It’s been a busy few weeks to be certain (with the Indiegogo campaign and finding new studio space in Atlanta).  But a few days ago, Alec submitted his answers back to me.  And so, without further ado, let’s see what he had to say…

Continue reading “ALEC PETERS answers READER questions about the AXANAR FINANCIALS!”