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)”

Star Trek in the 1930s??? Take a look at COMMANDERS OF STARFLEET! (video interview with JEFF NORD)

One of the reasons that I love Star Trek fan films so much is because there are literally no rules! Okay, there are guidelines, but within those guidelines, there are no limits beyond the imagination and capabilities of the fan filmmakers themselves.

One of those filmmakers is a fellow by the name of JEFF NORD, who lives in Los Angeles and dabbles in amateur filmmaking. And he got a crazy idea: Star Trek done as a 1930s-style Flash Gordon serial episode! Those old black-and-white adventures used to premiere each week, shown at movie matinees before the main feature. They were cheap, cheesy, a bit childish, but oh-so-charming when we look back at them now. And in their own way, they pushed the limits of what Hollywood could imagine and inexpensively produce in that emerging genre known as “science fiction.”

In many ways, the original Star Trek stood on the shoulders of those 1930s and 1940s serials (GENE RODDENBERRY himself was a 15-year-old when Flash Gordon premiered in theaters during 1936) as much as it did the sci-fi “blockbuster” classics of the 1950s like The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Forbidden Planet (1956). So indeed, honoring those early sci-fi pioneers with a campy, black-and-white Star Trek fan film seems most appropriate!

Released back in April, COMMANDERS OF STARFLEET has generated a fairly impressive 6.4K+ views on YouTube so far, and it’s definitely worth checking out…

What’s particularly intriguing is how much this short fan film FEELS like one of those 1930s serial episodes. And while classics like Flash Gordon did, at the time, push the limits of what Hollywood could accomplish with limited technology and relatively small budgets, 2022 offers opportunities for the average Joe or Josephine to easily surpass what Hollywood could only dream of 86 years ago.

But what if you’re NOT trying to surpass those efforts? What if you’re simply trying to reproduce them really closely? How challenging is it to make a modern film that looks like something from nine decades ago?

In a fun and informative interview, I chatted with Jeff Nord about his very creative and unique new Star Trek fan film…