RESISTANCE is far from futile…in fact, it’s AWESOME! (video interview with AARON VANDERKLEY, AARON CHAPPELL, and KATE ELDER)

For fan films that use practical (physical) sets, the Voyager era and the NX-01 era present a rather significant challenge. Sets constructed for the Star Trek series from the 1980s onward were much more elaborate than what was built back in the 1960s. That’s not to say that fan films from Star Trek‘s fictional 22nd, 24th, and even 25th centuries are unheard of. Indeed, very impressive 24th century practical sets were built for such fan films as THE HOLY CORE, STAR TREK: DECEPTION, and DECEPTION II…and the miniature 22nd century sets for the stop-motion ENTERPRISE II fan films were quite mind-blowing.

But far more often, fan films trying to portray those more, shall we say, elaborate centuries opt for virtual backgrounds made up either of still images of sets or else digitally modeled 3D set recreations—such as the long-running STAR TREK: HIDDEN FRONTIER, the excellent STAR TREK: HORIZON, and the prolific INTREPID and TREK SHORTS.

And then there’s AARON VANDERKLEY…

Based in Perth, Australia, Aaron and his team started up in 2016 releasing the first of FIVE 22nd century fan films, all with impeccable practical sets—plus amazing costumes, great acting, and top-notch production values:

Last year, after a two-year hiatus, Aaron returned with a new series of fan films with practical sets, this time in the period of the 24th century on board the Nova-class starship U.S.S. Explorer. Collected under the banner “THESE ARE THE VOYAGES,” he released one episode in 2021 and a second in 2022…

Both were as good, if not better, than the five NX-era fan films…although all seven are totally worth checking out. And speaking of checking out Aaron’s releases, he and his team have just released their third 24th century film focusing on the crew of the Explorer, and it’s called RESISTANCE. It’s easily one of their best efforts yet, as you can see below…

Pretty awesome, right?

Over the many, many years that I’ve been covering Aaron and his fan films, we’ve shared multiple interviews, but they’ve been exclusively text-based. The primary reason for this is the curvature of the planet Earth. Aaron in Perth, Australia lives 10 hours in the future from me here in Los Angeles. When it’s early evening for me, it’s the middle of his work day. When it’s early evening for him, I’m still asleep. Midday for me is middle-of-the-night for Aaron…and so on.

However, Aaron informed me that Resistance is going to be his last fan film for a while (he needs a break!), and I really, REALLY wanted to finally do a video interview with him and, if possible, members of his team. So with Aaron and two team members staying up late and me getting up ultra-early, we had a totally awesome chat heard ’round the world…

Another triumph from AUSTRALIA’s finest Trekkers…OUTBREAK! (interview with AARON VANDERKLEY)

Star Trek fan films remain alive and well “Down Under” thanks to the glorious efforts of Australian fan filmmaker AARON VANDERKLEY and his team. Aaron has recently released his seventh Star Trek fan film, the entirety of which are now collected under the umbrella THESE ARE THE VOYAGES

A professional freelance filmmaker, Aaron began his fan film “trek” back in January of 2016 with the release of the amazingly powerful 6-minute NX-era fan film NEEDS OF THE MANY.  Strong acting, impressive sets, and spot-on uniforms marked his debut.

Then in mid 2017, Aaron released the 12-minute THE DERELICT, an intensely dark and haunting NX-era horror/thriller (very unique for a Star Trek fan film). Again, the acting was top-notch, the uniforms amazing, and now there was even action, suspense, and a few stunts thrown in. It really felt like part of an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.

By the beginning of 2018, Aaron treated fans to a third superbly-crafted NX-era film, GOOD MEN, this one only 9 minutes long. Six months later, Aaron released his most ambitious fan film so far, the 14-minute THE FALL OF STARBASE ONE. And in the summer of 2019, Aaron completed what turned out to be a 5-film NX-era story arc with the 20-minute LINE OF DUTY, blowing away fans with a touching and emotional story marked yet again by a top-notch level of acting, production quality, lighting, make-up, sets, costumes, props, sound…the works. In fact, Line of Duty won SEVEN of the categories in the 2020 BJO AWARDS!

Aaron told me in a 2-part interview that he had only ever intended to make five NX-era fan films, and he had no plans to produce anything further in the genre. One of our community’s most impressive fan filmmakers was moving on…the bittersweet end of a short but truly impressive run.

But then, in May of 2021, Aaron surprised the community (in a very good way) by releasing a sixth Star Trek fan film titled BEYOND THE SUN…perhaps his strongest effort thus far! No longer content to linger in the 22nd century or even the 23rd, Aaron leapfrogged into the 24th century with Voyager-style uniforms and a Nova-class starship. It was shortly after this that he branded his releases with the These Are the Voyages… monicker and promised to make more Star Trek fan films.

And Aaron kept his promise with the release in April of OUTBREAK, a brand new Voyager-era story featuring the same ship and crew as his previous production. Once again, the result was a cinematic masterpiece of fan filmmaking. Take a look…

Aaron is always fascinating to chat with because he approaches his productions in a very organized, methodical, and even professional way. For those out there wanting to make fan films of their own, I would consider interviews with Aaron “required reading.”

And here is today’s lesson…

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