Guest blogger ERIC L. WATTS discusses having ALEC PETERS at Treklanta… (editorial)

Today, please welcome special Guest Blogger ERIC L. WATTS, Chairman of the annual TREKLANTA convention in Atlanta, GA and the organizer of the BJO Awards that honor the top Star Trek fan films each year.  Eric and Treklanta have been an important and integral part of theTrek fan film community for many years now—screening fan productions, featuring fan film panel discussions and guests, an generally giving support and validation to the genre.

Treklanta 2018 took place over the Memorial Day weekend and featured a couple of panels focusing on fan films.  Everything was going great until it was announced that ALEC PETERS of AXANAR would be taking part in these panels.  Then the shat hit the fans, and Eric was berated by angry e-mails and Facebook posts and even a phone call telling him how wrong he was for letting Alec Peters anywhere near his convention…let alone allowing Alec to be an announced guest on two panels.

The blowback both privately and on social media blasting Eric over Alec’s presence at Treklanta became so intense that I asked Eric if he’d like to comment on it here on Fan Film Factor in a blog I was preparing last week about the Bjo Awards.

Eric agreed, but his comment was so thorough and heartfelt that I decided it would be better to let it stand in its entirety as a separate guest blog.  My apologies to you and Eric for the delay in getting it posted (one week), but with two different crowd-funders ending, it’s been a very crowded seven days of blogs (and I was away in Santa Barbara over the weekend).

Anyway, here’s what Eric had to say about Alec Peters and panels at Treklanta…

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Have the new GUIDELINES really hindered the production of STAR TREK FAN FILMS? (panel video from Treklanta)

Photo courtesy of Lee Drew

The annual TREKLANTA con in Atlanta, GA is not a particularly huge convention, but it is one of the most fan-film-friendly cons you’re likely to find anywhere.  This is thanks in large part to Chairman ERIC L. WATTS, who organizes the convention along with Treklanta’s annual BJO AWARDS for the best Star Trek fan films from the previous year.  And there’s usually at least a panel or two dedicated to a particular fan film or fan films in general.

This year, the most notable fan film panel was being led by RANDY LANDERS, show-runner for POTEMKIN PICTURES in Pelham, AL, which has produced about five dozen Trek fan films over the past eight years!  The title of the panel: “Have the new guidelines really hindered the production of Star Trek fan films?”

Good question!

To help answer this, Randy invited five additional noted Star Trek fan filmmakers to join him for a lively panel discussion:

JOSE E. CEPEDA -Show-runner and lead actor on the long-running STAR TREK: NATURES HUNGER web series.

GREG TEFT – Cast member of STARSHIP: REPUBLIC, which will soon be filming more fan productions on the former Star Trek Continues “Stage 9” sets in GA.

GLEN L. WOLFE – Co-owner of the STARBASE STUDIOS sets in AR and the show-runner of THE FEDERATION FILES anthology series.

MARK NACCARATO – Show-runner for the upcoming Trek fan project THE ROMULAN WAR, which is crowd-funding right now!  (Have you donated yet???)

ALEC PETERS – Head of Axanar Productions and Executive Producer of PRELUDE TO AXANAR.

Interestingly , when Alec’s participation on the panel was announced, even though the panelists were all fine with it, apparently a number of detractors weren’t.  Eric L. Watts was berated with e-mails and criticism in detractor social media groups.  (I’ve invited Eric to comment on that separately as a guest blogger later this week.)

The panel discussion was really enlightening and fun to watch.  And thanks to a video shot by LEE DREW (and posted here with the blessing of both Lee and Eric), you get to watch it, as well (in two parts)…

BJO FAN FILM AWARD WINNERS for 2018 announced!

For the past four years, the annual TREKLANTA Convention has hosted an awards ceremony for the best Star Trek fan films released during the previous year.  Initially called the “Independent Star Trek Film Awards,” the name was shorted to “The Bjo Awards” last year in honor of Bjo Trimble, the woman credited with saving Star Trek from an early cancellation by NBC by coordinating the great letter-writing campaign back in 1968.

The Bjo’s for 2018 were awarded this past weekend in a variety of categories (see the full entry rules here).  Each category had four-to-six finalists selected from the following list of 21 nominees:

Release Date Run Time Series Name Episode
1/1/17 0:14:58 Star Trek: Natures Hunger Sting of the Prosecution
1/4/17 0:30:05 Starship Tristan Between Two Worlds
1/11/17 0:08:26 Starship Intrepid Duty of Care
1/13/17 0:11:33 Starship Deimos No Greater Love
2/1/17 0:20:42 Chance Encounter
2/10/17 0:07:49 Starship Tristan Seeing Red
2/20/17 0:57:20 Quark’s Space Station Too Much Traffic
4/2/17 0:54:11 Star Trek Continues Still Treads the Shadow
4/4/17 0:14:17 Starship Tristan Departures
4/29/17 0:15:00 Survivors
5/26/17 0:14:09 Starship Deimos The Archive
7/30/17 0:49:13 Star Trek Continues What Ships Are For
7/31/17 0:14:31 Starship Tristan The Monsters Are With Us
8/13/17 0:07:56 Starship Tristan The Voice of Your Blood
8/18/17 0:28:20 The Federation Files Extraction
9/8/17 0:12:18 The Derelict
10/18/17 0:46:34 Star Trek Continues To Boldly Go, Part I
11/13/17 0:58:10 Star Trek Continues To Boldly Go, Part II
12/14/17 0:05:47 Starship Triton New Orders
12/29/17 0:10:13 Star Trek: The Mirror Frontier
12/30/17 0:13:35 The Federation Files Walking Bear, Running Wolf

You might have noticed that all four Star Trek Continues episodes from 2017 are on this list, meaning that there was definitely an 800-pound mugato to contend with this past year (four mugatos, in fact!).  As such, many of the results below might not seem all that unexpected.  That said, there were still a couple of surprises.

Also, I’d like to add, on a personal note, that who won isn’t as important as who participated and, most of all, that these awards are given out annually in the first place.  All Star Trek fan films are worthy of our respect and celebration because, whether slick and polished or just grass roots with some soil showing, these productions each resulted from hard work, dedication, and love Star Trek.

So if you haven’t seen some of the nominees above, think about clicking on a few of the links.  You just might be pleasantly surprised!

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