BATTLECRUISER KUPOK production team releases its third fan film: “A GATHERING STORM”!

If you’re looking for Klingons in a Star Trek fan film, you can certainly find them…but it’ll take some work!  And usually the Klingons are just there to be the bad guys (at least in TOS and movie-era Trek fan productions).

But there is one production which guarantees a Klingon in every episode…and they’re not there just to be the bad guys.  Well, yeah, they are the bad guys, but not to their way of thinking!

BATTLECRUISER KUPOK (pronounced “kuh-POOK”) debuted in September of 2015 as the eighth episode (“The Battle Of Alawanir“) of the third season of the long-running fan series PROJECT: POTEMKIN. It was a unique episode, self-contained and presented with its own opening monologue:

Space…it is ours for the taking.  These are the missions of the Imperial Klingon Cruiser Kupok.  Its never-ending quest: to seize unclaimed worlds, to seek new cultures and species to serve us, and to further expand the Klingon Empire!

The idea was to create a fan series completely from the point of view of the Klingons, to show them in their “natural element” without any influence from or even interaction with Starfleet.

Their low-budget fan series was later given an independent run of its own the following March with the release of their second episode, “Sanctuary.”  A few months later, the fan film guidelines were released, and all of the Potemkin Pictures projects were forced to drop their series titles (like Starship Deimos, Starship Tristan, and of course, Battlecruiser Kupok) and instead treat every subsequent release as a new fan film with a completely new title.

Since then, the Deimos and Tristan production teams have released a combined total of nine new fan films (plus two that completed the run of Project: Potemkin), but nothing from the Kupok team…until now!

Based in Pelham, Alabama, Kupok‘s latest episode “A Gathering Storm” was written and directed by Potemkin show-runner RANDY LANDERS.  It asks the question: what happens when the Klingons try to conquer a planet full of Renaissance Faire attendees?  No, I’m just kidding!  Well, I’m KINDA kidding.

Oh, just see for yourself…

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…

TRISTAN Production Crew releases new episode: “THE MONSTERS ARE WITH US”!

The folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES currently have two production teams actively releasing new Star Trek fan films.  The DEIMOS production crew has released four episodes so far, ranging from 6 to 15 minutes.  And the TRISTAN production crew (based in Pelham, Alabama where show-runner RANDY LANDERS lives) has just released their eighth episode: “The Monsters Are With Us.”

Like the rest of the several dozen films released over the past seven years by Potemkin Pictures, their budgets are meager, their costumes simple, and their sets minimal.  Their cast members are recruited from local drama programs at nearby colleges and from community theater actors.  But their stories have always been their strength, that this latest offering is no exception.  It’s a fun little exploration of first contact gone screwy, with a compelling mystery that doesn’t get resolved until the end.  I think that, given the right conditions, a story concept such as this one could have been expanded into the A-story of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Instead, we get a 14-minute, low-budget fan film with lots of heart.

It’s also worth noting that both Potemkin Pictures production teams have recently begun incorporating green screen compositing of actors against static backgrounds.  Although this method of placing characters into virtual “sets” has been used extensively in numerous fan films since the first episodes of Star Trek: Hidden Frontier back in 2000, the Potemkin Pictures production teams have relied almost exclusively on practical (physical) sets like a bridge and transporter platform, and on-location filming both indoors and outside.  I believe “The Monsters Are With Us” marks Team Tristan’s first foray into green screen, using it this time to create virtual corridors inside the Constellation-class starship Tristan.

You can watch the latest production below…

TRISTAN Production Crew releases new episode: “DEPARTURES”!

The fan series that started out as STARSHIP TRISTAN (and is now no longer a fan series but rather a collection of individually-titled fan films) has released its latest, um, well, “episode” is now no longer an appropriate word either, come to think of it.  How about “offering”?

“DEPARTURES” is the latest adventure of the USS Tristan and her crew, produced by RANDY LANDERS for Potemkin Pictures, and filmed in Pelham, Alabama.  You can watch all of the offerings from the various productions teams at the Potemkin Pictures on their website: http://www.potemkinpictures.com/productions.html

And you can view “Departures” below…

DEIMOS Production Crew releases new episode: “The Archive”!

Yes, folks, there are still other Star Trek fan films out there, and DEIMOS is one of them.  Formerly known as the fan series Starship Deimos, the umbrella”brand” POTEMKIN PICTURES has now dropped their fan series names (because the fan film guidelines prohibit it) and simply has tabs for each of their five endeavors, sorted by production crew.  You can view episodes from all the teams on the Potemkin Pictures websiteDeimos is based in Alabama and led by Potemkin Pictures creative head RANDY LANDERS.

The latest offering from the Deimos crew (their fourth production), the 11-minute long “The Archive,” features all of the main Starfleet characters plus a Romulan captain from their previous episode.  Like the rest of the Potemkin Pictures fan films, what this low/no-budget production lacks in style and pizzazz, they make up for in heart and dedication.  You can view “The Archive” below…

TRISTAN Production Crew releases new episode: “BETWEEN TWO WORLDS”!

Okay, time to stop calling it STARSHIP TRISTAN.  Show-runner RANDY LANDERS told me there are no series or episodes, there are only individual fan films made by the various creative teams working under the POTEMKIN PICTURES “umbrella”: Tristan, Deimos, Kupok, and Endeavour.  The reason for this nominal change, of course, is the fan film guidelines that prohibit a fan film from releasing more than two 15-minute episodes of the same story “…with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.”

So the “elephant in the living room” (or “mugato in the cave”) question that I asked Randy was: if you’re being so careful to follow the guidelines, then why is this fan film 30 minutes long and not broken into two 15-minute parts?  Randy’s answer:

It was filmed over a year ago, and it is our understanding that the guidelines probably wouldn’t apply.

Fair enough (at least as far as I’m concerned).  Randy went on to tell me a little more about the making of this episode:

It was actually one of the first episodes we began filming once we moved here.  Nearly all the dialogue shot at the park had to be ADRed…

[re-recorded and dubbed over later – Jonathan]

…and in some cases dubbed by a different performer.  It was a challenging experience.  We had folks recording their lines on phones. That’s where you can really tell.  We’d’ve rather they’d returned to the studios for ADR, but that just wasn’t possible.

This is just a hobby for us, and real life and real jobs have to come first.

I always keep that last fact in mind when I watch the “low-budget” fan films.  While not as slick and polished as the studio-made films and series with the professional actors and production crew, fan films like those coming from Potemkin Pictures show heart and dedication and, most of all, fans just having fun.  For me, that’s extremely important.

Randy says the Tristan creative team currently has two films completely shot and now in post-production.  And there’s three more films in pre-production for 2017.  In the meantime, you can watch their latest release “Between Two Worlds” below or visit the website of Potemkin Pictures to catch up on all the episodes of their various series…oh, excuse me…to see all the independent fan films from the four creative teams.

 

STARSHIP DEIMOS releases its first post-guidelines episode, “Pas de Trois”

starship-deimos-pas-de-troisWhen STARSHIP DEIMOS last released a new episode, it was April…and the fan film guidelines were still two months away.  Now it is November, and like its sister productions from Potemkin Pictures, Starship Deimos is also now changing the title of the series with each new episode (since the new guidelines do not allow any continuing series).

And thus is Starship Deimos‘ newest episode also its first “stand-alone” fan film: “Pas de Trois.”  And for those of you who (like me) don’t speak French, the title translates to “Dance for Three.”  It’s a ballet term where one male dancer partners with two female dancers…or two males and one female.  (Keep this clean, people!)

This episode introduces what appears to be the overarching story arc of the series: The USS Deimos is assigned to a region of space where the Federation and two other interstellar powers all have interests.  It calls for a delicate mix of diplomacy and cowboy improvisation.

Deimos films in Pelham, Alabama, where Potemkin Pictures show-runner RANDY LANDERS moved with his wife last year.  Another Potemkin Pictures series called Battlecruiser Kupok also films there.  Meanwhile, back in Georgia where Randy used to live, Starship Tristan is filming and releasing new episodes, also under the Potemkin Pictures banner.  You can view all their various series here.

And you can watch “Pas de Trois” below…

PROJECT: POTEMKIN releases its series epilogue final episode “ROOM SERVICE”!

potemkin-room-serviceSo you’re probably saying, “Hey, I thought PROJECT: POTEMKIN already released its final episode back in late September!”  Well, yes…and no.

The long-running fan series which has produced three dozen original episodes since 2011 and spawned four different spin-off series, did, in fact, release its series finale back on September 20.  But there was still one more episode shot and in post-production waiting to be shared with fans.  And it was always intended to be an epilogue showing, at least for some of the Potemkin crew, the aftermath of the events of the previous finale episode.

“Room Service” was written by Christin Woods, who also plays the Vulcan Lt. T’Noshi, and filmed on location at the 2015 Treklanta con with a great deal of whimsy.  My ol’ buddy Eric L. Watts wears his iconic Klingon Korgoth persona to perfection, and goodness knows the green dye sellers in the metro-Atlanta area were counting their profits that weekend.  You can tell by the still image I’ve included above that this might not be your typical fan film, but don’t worry…it stops far short of an NC-17 rating.  And it’s pretty fun.

And so, with this tongue-in-cheek 7-minute episode, we bid a fond and final farewell to a unique and heart-felt fan series, made with love, dedication, almost no budget…and all for a spoonful of borsch.  You can read more about Project: Potemkin in this great 2-part interview with show-runner Randy Landers.  And you can watch “Room Service” below…

The fan series formerly known as STARSHIP TRISTAN releases its fifth episode!

starship-tristan-logo-4So far, the four previous episodes of STARSHIP TRSITAN from Potemkin Pictures have ranged in length from six-and-a-half minutes to ten-and-a-half minutes.  (You can watch them all here.)  Their latest episode, “Be Careful What You Wish For,” has a 15-minute run time and a much larger cast than usual.  The episode was an ambitious endeavor that required a lot of on-location shooting.  It’s a very impressive effort.

William C. Searcy, who plays the lovable and colorful character of the half-Vulcan Dr. Skep Anderson, wrote the episode and produces the Georgia-based series.  Note that, from their second episode onward, in order to comply with the CBS/Paramount fan film guidelines, the series is no longer known officially as “Starship Tristan” and is instead just a collection of separate fan films, each with a different name (the title of the individual episode).  That said, Dr. Anderson has appeared before and will (hopefully!) appear again.  Will that constitute an “ongoing series” and violate guideline #1?  Hard to say, but it’s such a minor quibble, one would think the studios wouldn’t bother making a big deal of it since the series complies with all other guidelines.

At this time, according to the Potemkin Pictures website, two more episodes of this series have been filmed and are currently in post production.  With luck, we’ll be seeing them soon!

PROJECT: POTEMKIN releases its SERIES FINALE (but it’s NOT ending because of the GUIDELINES)!

In 2011, a new Star Trek fan series based in the movie-era released its first episode, and the world of fan films was introduced to PROJECT: POTEMKIN.

Five years and thirty-four episodes later, Project: Potemkin has just released its series finale, “Destinies.”  No spoilers except to say that this seven-minute episode wraps up the series nicely and ties in with three other fan series also being produced by Potemkin Pictures: Starship Tristan, Starship Deimos, and Starship Endeavour.

Some fans have been wondering whether Project: Potemkin is yet another victim of the fan film guidelines released by CBS and Paramount.  Not so, says series show-runner RANDY LANDERS:

Continue reading “PROJECT: POTEMKIN releases its SERIES FINALE (but it’s NOT ending because of the GUIDELINES)!”