YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL (starring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu) – the 35-year trek… (Part 5)

In Part Part 2Part 3, and Part 4, we got to know STAN WOO and JOHN ATKIN. Back in 1985, Los Angeles-based Stan convinced GEORGE TAKEI and JAMES SHIGETA to play Hikaru Sulu and Admiral Nogura, respectively, in a low-budget fan film titled YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL. Although much of the film was shot between 1985 and 1987, it remained unfinished even in 2010 when Canadian Trek fan John offered to help Stan finally complete the film.

Along with help from Hollywood writer PAUL McCUDDEN, Stan and John expanded the short 15-minute script to bring in new characters in new locations. The first original footage for Yorktown since the 1980s was shot in 2011 and 2012, as two different scenes featuring Klingons were filmed with lines spoken entirely in the Klingon language.

In the meantime, VFX artist ROLAND BARON created CGI models of the U.S.S. Yorktown, a Klingon K-fighter, and the terrorist vessel Nagaer based on sketches from ANDREW PROBERT, who designed the refit Enterprise NCC-1701 from Star Trek: The Motion Picture as well as and the Enterprise-D. A short trailer spotlighted Roland’s amazing work…

MORE SHOOTS…LOTS OF ‘EM!

The year 2012 ended with two major shoots that took place at Capilano College, based in North Vancouver, British Columbia. The first shoot was filmed in November in front of a green screen and featured CHARLES EDWARD BAE (who had provided the Klingon translations) as the Klingon Colonel Qumeq, publicly lambasting the evils of the Federation to an audience over a newsfeed.

Charles Edward Bae in full Klingon make-up and garb

The second shoot happened at the same location in December but was not simply another green screen. John elaborates, “IAN GUSTAFSON had access to an amazing set at Capilano College. The set was one that had been used on a small independent sci-fi movie, but Ian and Charles modified it so much that it is just about unrecognizable to its original form. The set was transformed into ‘Deck 19, Section 6’ of the U.S.S. Yorktown.”

This was for a new sequence set before the refit, showing the terrorist attack and the death of Jeffrey Pond’s fiancée Lt. Katherine Baetz, played by ZLATINA PACHEVA. This opening sequence will be the only footage in Yorktown to feature the classic TOS-style Starfleet tunics, which were purchased from Anovos and then adorned with Yorktown patches (custom-designed and manufactured by STAR TREK: SECRET VOYAGE fan film costumer JOE KEREZMAN).

George Kayaian (right) on his set for Starship Antyllus, doubling as the Yorktown Hangar Bay control room.

A final piece of the opening segment was supplied the following April in 2013 by none other than GEORGE KAYAIAN, who had begun shooting his own new fan series in New York called STAR TREK: ANTYLLUS. “I had seen some of George Kayaian’s earlier fan film work on YouTube,” John explains, “and I had seen pictures of his small bridge set that he was building on Facebook. I thought that it would be perfect for our Hangar Bay scene and asked if we could use it in the film, and if he would be interested in playing an officer in that scene.” The rest, as they say, is history.

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SKY FIGHTER is now available for public viewing on YouTube!

SKY FIGHTER isn’t technically a fan film, but it is a fan-funded, fan-made film. Although writer/director LUKAS KENDALL has a listing on IMDB, his credits were fairly limited…at least until now, that is! With the completion of the Sky Fighter independent sci-fi themed film, Lukas is officially a writer and—more importantly—a director.

At times, the most cynical voices voices in our fan community deride fan filmmakers for simply “copying” someone else’s intellectual property (ViacomCBS, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Warners) rather than just coming up with an original story and setting and characters that they can own outright. And while it’s true that the vast majority of Star Trek fan films are made by hard-core Trekkers who just want to play in that existing sandbox/universe and don’t care about launching full Hollywood careers, Lukas—although a Trekker himself—was the rare exception. He wanted more.

Lukas had written a full feature-length movie script that he also wanted to direct. But such things cost mega-bucks (even the cheap ones!), and those who supply financial backing and investment for such projects are typically uncomfortable putting their money behind a first-time director. In other words, Lukas knew he was heading down a path where he’d likely hear that an investor loved his script and knew the perfect person to direct it…and that person would not be the writer.

But this script was Lukas’ vision, and he didn’t want to share or (more likely) hand over creative control to someone else. But without showing what he could accomplish as a director himself, his chances of selling the script AND also being allowed to direct it were slim at best.

So Lukas came up with a plan…

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SKY FIGHTER is finished and available for donors! (interview with LUKAS KENDALL, part 1)

A little over a year ago, a Star Trek fan named LUKAS KENDALL set out to do something that some folks out there have suggested: crowd-fund something NEW that isn’t Star Trek so there’s no questions of rights or ownership. Of course, the big question was (at the time) whether people would donate to a fan-funded project that wasn’t part of an existing franchise like Star Trek or Star Wars or superhero, etc.

The crowd-funding campaign was atypical in a couple of ways. In addition to taking a very tongue-in-cheek approach in the pitch to donors and offering music CDs as perks (Lukas sells ’em as a business), Lukas included the full 12-page script for the short film for potential backers to read and evaluate.

The unusual approach worked, and Lukas was able to blast past his $25K goal on Indiegogo and reach $31K to produce what was intended to be a short segment of a longer, full-length movie that Lukas wanted to direct himself. The short segment was called SKY FIGHTER and was a self-contained story. But it also fit into the larger full-length feature, and the plan was (is) to use the 16-minute Sky Fighter to try to sell the larger project to production studios.

Coming on board to work on the project were two names VERY familiar to the Trek fan film community: ROBERT MEYER BURNETT to edit and TOBIAS RICHTER and the Light Works to do the visual effects.

Last week, the completed Sky Fighter premiered exclusively to backers, and it is masterful…a top quality production in every way. Rob outdid himself on the editing and Tobias, well, when has he ever failed to impress? And Lukas himself did an extremely strong job directing.

In order to keep Sky Fighter eligible to be entered into film festivals, the completed production cannot be posted publicly to the Internet yet. However, if you want to see it now, a new Indiegogo campaign has been set up to cover cost overruns and the production of Blu-ray discs and CDs (the music is incredible!). For as little as $5, you can get an exclusive link to the finished film. Click below to donate…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sky-fighter-sci-fi-short-film-blu-ray-release

The goal is $5,000, and Lukas is already 21% of the way there. In the meantime, the trailer is publicly available right now…

Lukas was eager to talk about his first foray into directing and share a behind-the-scenes look into this amazing production. Let’s get after it…

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DIGITAL GHOST (feature)

Digital Ghost-coverIt was the dawn of the Modern Age of Fan Films…

Although fan films date back to the early days of the original Star Trek series, it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that fans were finally able to create something with off-the-shelf consumer products that looked like more than just a crappy home movie.  By the late 90s, fans could record and edit footage using digital cameras, do their own 3D effects and Chroma-keying, and even add music through the use of MIDI.  Many fans were also getting quite good at costuming.  Suddenly, the only limits facing fans who wanted to make their own filmed versions of their favorite genre franchises were their imaginations, creativity, and skills with these new technologies.

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