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…

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BLADE OF HONOR launches their NEW INDIEGOGO with a touching tribute to the late RICHARD HATCH… (I cried.)

Damn, I miss RICHARD HATCH.

For most sci-fi fans, he will always be Captain Apollo from Battlestar Galactica…and possibly even Tom Zarek from the new Battlestar Galactica.  For followers of fan films, Richard Hatch will be remembered for the intensity of his performance as the Klingon Commander Kharn in Prelude to Axanar.  But soon fans will be able to see Richard Hatch’s final performance in front of the camera, filmed a mere five weeks before his tragic and untimely death from pancreatic cancer.

I first featured BLADE OF HONOR here on Fan Film Factor nearly a year ago in a 3-part interview with RYAN T. HUSK, the Executive Producer of this independent fan series.  No, it’s not a Star Trek fan film, but it does feature Tim “Tuvok” Russ and Aron “Nog” Eisenberg plus a number of other actors, producers, and VFX luminaries from such Trek fan productions as Renegades, Horizon, Axanar, and New Voyages.  So yeah, I still consider Blade of Honor appropriate to cover here on Fan Film Factor.

In their first Kickstarter last summer, they set a goal of $30,000 and managed to raise more than $51,000.  This allowed them to film their pilot episode and to do a fair amount of editing and sound engineering.  But they need a bit more funding to complete post-production with:

  • Space Battles, starships, spacescapes, etc..
  • Special effects, airbending, landscapes, etc.
  • Green screen composition
  • Music and scoring
  • Sound effects and foley
  • More editing
  • Color Correction

This time, they are using Indiegogo with a goal of $28,000.  Pre-launch outreach to previous donors (like me!) has already brought them nearly 20% of the way to their goal with a full month left.  If you want to make a donation yourself or learn more about the production, please click here.

And if you’re wondering whether or not you should donate to help complete this production—Richard Hatch’s final cinematic performance—and turn it into the best independent film it can possibly be, please watch this touching tribute to Richard by the cast who were the last actors to ever work with him…

This final funding effort will push Blade of Honor into a different stratosphere, and really allow us to make the final product huge, jaw-dropping, and something we can all be proud of.

FAN FILM FOLLIES looking for CONTRIBUTORS and PARTNERS

Well, it turns out I’m not the first or the only fan film blog site to have a name that abbreviates to FFF!  Recently, I was contacted by fellow blogger CHRISTOPHER MOSHIER asking if I wanted to collaborate in some way to synergize our two blog sites.

It was an intriguing idea, although I pretty much only have time to focus on Star Trek fan films here on Fan Film FACTOR, while Christopher’s Fan Film FOLLIES covers all genres of fan films—including Star Wars, superhero, fantasy, Indiana Jones, James Bond, and a host of others.

We’re not sure yet how we might work together in the future, but opportunities abound.  For now, though, Christopher has placed a graphic referral link to Fan Film Factor along his “Related Sites” sidebar and is featuring my blog site in his news links.  And since I don’t have that kind of cool stuff on my modern-stone-age WordPress blog site, I have offered instead to post Christopher’s recent blog post requesting contributors and partners for his blog site.

Christopher isn’t simply looking to publish other people’s content from other blog sites.  He’s interested in building up a team of like-minded fan film fanatics and followers who want to be part of a blog site to explore and promote the entire world of fan films of all genres.

And with that, I will hand the microphone over to Christopher Moshier…

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J.G. HERTZLER discusses AXANAR and ALEC PETERS!

Well, it’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks for news about AXANAR, as literally every other blog entry I’ve posted over the past 12 days has involved that particular fan production in some way.  So heck, let’s keep the momentum going for one more day!

But seriously, folks, there’s an interesting bit of news about Axanar coming from Atlanta…but NOT from the new studio in Lawrenceville.  Instead, it happened during a panel yesterday at Treklanta, a small but well-attended annual Star Trek convention in the Atlanta area.  And the panel featured J.G. Hertzler, who famously played General Martok on Deep Space Nine (along with a few other Trek roles).  But his most recent Trek-related appearance came playing the character of Samuel Travis in the fan film Prelude to Axanar.

After Tony Todd’s public announcement that he had chosen to part ways with Axanar and not appear in the feature fan film after his mesmerizing performance as Admiral Marcus Ramirez in Prelude to Axanar, some were wondering if any of the cast and crew would be sticking with ALEC PETERS to continue their participation.  The late RICHARD HATCH was always very supportive of the project and of Alec himself, but with Richard’s recent passing, fans wondered if any of the former cast members would be making a return for the 2-part sequel allowed by the settlement.

Now, I knew that J.G. Hertzler and Gary Graham were both interested in reprising their roles, as I spoke with both last summer in Las Vegas.  But I’m just one blogger-guy, and those weren’t on-the-record interviews, just casual conversations at their tables in the autograph room.

But now, we’ve got the first public indication that at least one of those actors is still very much supportive of both the project and of Alec Peters himself.  Yesterday, J.G. Hertzler took time during his panel discussion to specifically address this beleaguered fan film…

Hoist with his own PICARD? (editorial)

Earlier this week, someone played a practical joke on CARLOS PEDRAZA of axamonitor.com.  Many think it was ALEC PETERS or perhaps one of his associates (not me, people!), although it’s looking like a “he said/she said” situation.

In short, here’s what we know happened…

Axanar Productions is moving to a new studio in Atlanta.  Carlos Pedraza, for some reason, was pushing hard for any information he could find out about the new facility.  I was sent screen captures of the following two Facebook posts from Carlos, although there may have been more…

I’m not sure why it was so crucial for Carlos to get information about the new studio, but that’s not really important.  What is important is that, apparently, he found a “mole” willing to funnel him information from Alec Peters (despite Alec’s request to volunteers not to share information yet about the new facility).

I’ve since been told by a few detractors in comments posted to Fan Film Factor that the name of this mole is Brian Hartsfield, and on Wednesday at 1:46PM, he received an e-mail (allegedly) from Alec Peters saying the following…

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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…

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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…

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DS9 show-runner IRA STEVEN BEHR discusses the FAN FILM GUIDELINES! (audio interview)

Last year, Justin Lin and J.J. Abrams both went on record as being supportive of Star Trek fan films and that the fans should be encouraged to make them.  A month later, CBS and Paramount issued a set of fan film guidelines that shocked many fans and angered others with their restrictions on length, shutdown of continuing fan series, and moratorium on participation by anyone who had previously worked on any studio-authorized Star Trek project…from movie and TV series to video games and even package design.

On the one hand, it was nice to finally have a set of guidelines that clearly defined what the fans would be allowed to produce without the fear of getting sued.  On the other hand, a good number of fans familiar with fan productions felt that certain of the guidelines (like the ones I just listed) had overshot the mark, landing in a place of being too constraining and unnecessarily Draconian.

However, unlike a year ago when big names like Abrams and Lin spoke out on the fan film issue, no major names in the world of Star Trek have commented on the new guidelines other than John Van Citters (who was one of the people responsible for writing them).

But now that has changed, as I was able to interview Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Executive Producer STEVEN IRA BEHR and ask him directly, on the record, how he felt about the guidelines.  Granted, I don’t expect Ira to rush out and rally for the guidelines to be revised and loosened.  But I was curious if we fans who feel so negatively toward some of these guidelines are justified in feeling that way or not.  Would Ira agree with us….or would he think that we’re just being petulant (or crazy!) to have any problems with these reasonable studio rules?  You can find out below…

And for anyone curious how a small-time blogger managed to score an interview with Ira Behr and get him to speak on the record, I donated to the Indiegogo campaign for his Deep Space Nine documentary “What We Left Behind,” which blew through its initial $150,000 goal to reach nearly $650,000!  (Click on the above link to learn more about this exciting project.)

The perk I donated for was a 10-minute call with Ira Behr where I could ask him anything.  I cleared with his assistant beforehand that I’d be able to record the call and post it on my blog site, and last week, we spoke for more than 15 minutes.  It was a really great conversation.

And here’s what we talked about…

A FAREWELL TOUR of INDUSTRY STUDIOS! (editorial and video)

This past Saturday, my son Jayden and I drove to Industry Studios in Valencia to help pack up the Axanar Productions items for a move east to a new production facility in Atlanta, GA.

It was a sad day for me because I really loved Industry Studios.  I’d loved watching it evolve from a stark, gutted building with no individual offices and a huge, echoing warehouse with loud concrete floors…into what looked like (to my eyes, at least) a high-end Hollywood studio and sound stage.

Jayden and I had watched for months with excitement as piles of stacked wood were cut, molded, and sculpted by industry professionals, slowly morphing into a starship bridge, a turbolift, a transporter, captain’s quarters, and a Klingon bridge.

Even though my visits weren’t particularly frequent, I still felt as though I were a part of Ares Studios (later renamed Industry Studios)—helping to fund it, volunteering to do everything from carrying carpet rolls up the stairs to assembling IKEA furniture, and even sorting and packing perks.  I watched all the work that went into making the dream of a studio dedicated to Star Trek fan film-making (not just Axanar) grow and take shape from basically nothing into a facility that fans could be truly proud of.

I can already hear the detractors typing feverishly about the hubris of starting a “for profit” studio based on donations obtained from unapproved use of copyrighted material owned by a Hollywood studio.  And I’m sure others out there are already halfway done with comments about the folly of signing a 3-year lease on a location with a $12,000 monthly rent when all Alec Peters ever needed to do was make a simple fan film, not build a full sound stage!

All are fair points when viewed with 20/20 hindsight—and all are arguments made and countered hundreds of times over.  But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.  Instead, I want to give you a tour of Industry Studios…

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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…

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