But for every dark side, there’s the good one as well. When you take a look at few of the better ones below, you can fault them only for not having the length of a full feature, the sci-fi slickness, or the starry razzmatazz.
If you go in with low expectations, you will be pleasantly surprised by the passion and the creativity. Heck, scratch that. Go in with high ones, you will be surprised anyway.
The original Lord of The Rings trilogy’s production costs and grosses could have paid off the debt of a couple of nations. Then we come to this ‘prequel’ of LOTR that cost probably what it took to make Gandalf’s beard in the original. At $5,000, the ode to LOTR is unofficial and unauthorized. But with 5.5 million views on YouTube, you can’t argue with the appeal of this 40 minute long fan film shot in high definition.
Check out the trailers and the film’s website. You will be fooled into thinking of this as a major Hollywood release.
Picking the best Star Wars fan film from the hundreds that dot the Star Wars galaxy is best left to George Lucas himself. Lucas Films has an official Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge where they hand out awards to the best fan film that goes over to the Star Wars side. So, to be on the safe side I have just picked one from the hat. You can check out the other really good ones under the link on the line above. This one got the Audience Choice Award this year. But the one which is usually considered the best Star Wars fan film is Troops.
If Star Wars is there then the fans of Star Trek will not be far behind. The number of Star Trek fan shot films (88) are not as numerous as Star Wars (317) but unlike it, many of them are made in the format of episodes just like the original series. So, let’s start with the one that almost got its own cult status in the fan film genre. The videos on the main site seem to be down for now, so head over to Vimeo to catch the 50 episodes on the crew of USS Excelsior and their deep space adventures. Hidden Frontier also has a channel on YouTube.
The Star Trek Universe expands with another fans series, Star Trek: Phase II. The creators aim to release one episode every year and have been uploaded so far. You can choose to watch them online or download them to your computer.
For interest value I would go with Batman Dead End. How would The Caped Crusader fare against the Joker, Predator, and the Alien? It would take two Hollywood studios lots of dollars to tell us. But Sandy Collora says it with $30,000 and in eight minutes. Batman is a bit stocky, but the dark alley and hoarse voice gives the whole fan film the Christopher Nolan treatment. But of course, Nolan’s take came two years down the line to this one.
If you want more of Batman, don’t miss City of Scars (also uploaded on YouTube in two parts). It runs for nearly half an hour and is in HD with crisp production values. This short film explores the dark psyche of Batman/Bruce Wayne.
The British sc-fi series has a huge following around the world and its popularity is assured when you know that the central character of Dr. Who has appeared on stage, TV, film, comics, novels, and everything in between. Fan films are one of the things that falls in between all the regular channels. There are a whopping 145 of them as listed by Fanfilms.net. The advantage Dr. Who has over the others is that you don’t need to spend a dime on special effects or detailed getups. It’s difficult to pick out one, but I will go with Time and Again.
Is that all there is to it? You bet not. Here are a few links where you can follow your favorites and keep track of fan productions when they release:
Making your own fan film is the ultimate height to reach for in all of fandom. Do you give fan films a second glance? Tell us about your favorites fan made movies.