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Better or not, every diehard fan has his own personal take on what his “favorite” movie should have been like. Especially, if it left a sour taste in the mouth, like Star Wars: Attack of The Clones for me. I definitely would have done the romantic scenes better and probably helped to preserve the “classic” tag that gets attached to Star Wars films for our generation.
One such fan was Mike J. Nichols who went to work with his scissors on Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and turned it into a more tightly spun tale in The Phantom Edit. If Wikipedia is to be believed, the fan edit even met with the unvoiced approval of George Lucas. Well, that’s what a fan edit is. In simple words, a re-interpretation of an original movie by a fan who may re-order, cut, or add new material to the original movie.
But Are Fan Edits Worth A Watch?
Watch: The Phantom Edit on Vimeo (Jack Marshall’s version)
You bet your last nickel. Serious auteurs may pooh-pooh fan edits, but there’s no denying that some even have their cult following. My own take is that if there can be good and cool full length amateur movies, why not good fan edits that give us the missing morsel to stoke our fantasies. Fan edited films do fall in the grey zone of copyright infringement and fan edits like The Clones Revealed have been on the wrong end of a notice. But we will not go there in this article.
I am revisiting this genre three years after I wrote about five really good fan films and how to keep track of upcoming fan productions. So, in this post, we will celebrate the existence of a thriving fan edit community that is showcased by some really good fan edit websites.
7 Fan Edit Websites Than Can Inspire You To Make A “Classic”
Fan edits are labors of love. Here are seven websites that can help to light the spark…
This site leads the pack when it comes to the community. The site features more than 500 fan edited movies from around the world. You would want to head to the Forum first, but be sure to register yourself as some of the sub-forums are locked to non-registered members. Need any technical help and the Forum is there to answer all your questions from tools to use for authoring fan edits to replacement cover art. If you make your first fan film, then this is the place to promote it.
The Resources section gives you some useful things like cover art and promotional banner templates for your first creative work. You can also take a lot of inspiration from The Gallery sub-forum which features some of the best fan edited movies and the art work they used. Finally, the Internet Fanedit Database seems to be a take-off on IMDb. But it works for its intended purpose i.e. as an online encyclopedia of rated releases.
One of the better ways to keep up with new releases is by following them on Twitter.
Original Trilogy and Fanedits.com (a similarly named site to the first one) have merged together into one large corpus for fan edited projects. Original Trilogy/Fanedits.com is wiki based. The aim is to be a largest single database of such films. This will also comprise traditional fan edits, film preservation efforts, custom and fan-made DVDs, and fan films and documentaries.
The site in its present form is in Beta, but lots of features are on the drawing board like – image uploads, NFO file uploads, contributor blogs etc. The site has a vibrant community and one of the nicer aspects of the site is its focus on preservation of original cuts. The forum seems to be bit Star Wars heavy. The Fan Project List could do with some multimedia touches as it now seems to be a text-heavy database of fan edits.
I haven’t spent much time on this site because I discovered it late; but it looks like a bookmark worthy one. The comparatively better design makes it stand apart from many other fan edit websites. The site is into its 11th year. Fanfilmfollies gives you podcasts, news, interviews, and of course all the dope on the fan made movies themselves. The podcasts aren’t on now (the last one was in 2011), but you can catch the archived episodes. That’s the fate of the columns too, but you can resist going back in time and reading some of them.
Fanedit.info is a site from where you can download fanedits. Not actually the whole movie but DLC, NZB and torrent files for users to easily download edits from other sources like Rapidshare, BitTorrent, and Usenet among others. The homepage describes the nature of these files and how you can download them. The files themselves may or may not be eventually available because file hosting sites like Rapidshare and Mediafire have become more serious about copyright infringement warnings and regularly take down files in response to any of them. You can submit your own fan edit here via the Fanedit Submission Forum.
2381 fan films and counting. This site is a straight database of fan films found around the web. Keep yourself updated with their Twitter handle. Embedded videos or links to hosted videos are provided for many of the films. You can submit your own fan edit with the help of an online form on the site.
Star Wars started the fan edit craze. So, it’s just as well that we are on this site that is all about Star Wars inspired fan edits. But what’s really valuable here is the section that all about the making of fan films. Here you will find articles on story development, script writing, filming, costume design, special FX, and more. The articles take you to many external resources also; so this could be your one stop class if you are interested in making your first fan edit. As the introduction says – So, take some time and read from those who have gone on before you and applied their skill to this new genre. And remember, do or do not. There is no try!
Digital Fanedits looks like a fledgling effort at creating a new fan edit website with a new page design. But it still unfinished. It is trying to be a comprehensive site with blogs, articles, and interviews capturing the latest in the fan edit genre as well as other happenings in the movie world. The selection for now is small. I counted 50 odd films in the database. Not very impressive, but here’s hoping it grows out of the shadow cast by Fanedit.org.
Here are a few more links to take you to the far corners of this genre:
I will end by sharing a sentiment expressed by Christopher Moshier (who started Fanfilmfollies.com).
And what interests me probably the most is what a creator can do with a limited budget. Hollywood throws millions of dollars on movie making often turning out what I like to call crap. When someone can make a film for $500 and entertain me more than Hollywood it simply amazes me.
I think most of us agree with this. If you do, tell us about your favorite fan film to date and is there a particular place you go to get your entertainment fix.
Image Credit: Serious man with filmstrip via Shutterstock