Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge 2008
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Remember when I discussed the art of fan fiction, the loving homage to television shows, video games, movies, and books written by the fans themselves and passed along to other fans. Well, fan fiction doesn’t have to exist in written form only. Some of the more creative fans out there have been creating fan films for years. Star Wars fans have been enjoying such creations for years, beginning with the Mel Brooks film, Spaceballs, and continuing with underground films such as Troops, The Dark Redemption, Pink 5 and more.
Since 2002, Atom Films, one of the internet’s best sources for short-form comedies, dramas and animations, in conjunction withLucasfilm Ltd., has been the host of The Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards. The event was created to honor the best of the Star Wars-themed spoofs and documentaries lovingly created by Star Wars fans everywhere. Prizes have ranged from those of monetary value to trophies to official recognition by George Lucas at large conventions (Celebration II and Comic Con) and starwars.com.
The films submitted must meet certain requirements. They must be under 10 minutes long and contain only sound effects provided in theStar Wars Fan Film Production Kit. The films can be parodies of the existing Star Wars Universe, which includes films, books and comics, or documentaries of the fan experience. The films submitted can also be acts of fan fiction - attempts to expand upon the existing Star Wars Universe. There are certain restrictions. They cannot contain any copyrighted material, Star Wars or other. They can’t contain any SAG or other guilded actors or performers. All Star Wars Fan Film submissions should be relatively clean. Any film containing graphic violence, nudity, graphic language, etc. are considered ineligible.
Each year, fans submit their very best to be judged in hopes of winning the coveted George Lucas Selects Award, earning them recognition from the Star Wars God himself. Throughout the year, Star Wars fans submit their entries and cross their fingers while the powers-that-be at Atom Films and Lucasfilm Ltd. survey their work. Finally, a list of finalist films is posted atAtomFilms.com to be voted on by Star Wars fans. Fans and film-makers alike waited in eager anticipation for the awards to be announced in July 2008 at the San Diego Comic Con. This year’s award winners are:
George Lucas Selects Award: Padmé by Robert Reeves – a Juno parody featuring Padmé Amidala as a witty teenager pregnant with a teenage Sith Lord’s child. And yes, they even spoofed the Juno song. Audience Choice Award / Best Animated Feature: George Lucas Hip Hop Awards by Force Cast Television – The Notorious GL raps for all of his fans in the audience.
Best Comedy:Paraphrase Theater: Tarkin ‘n Friends by Will Carlough – a parody of the infamous A New Hope moment when Tarkin informs Leia that the planet of Alderaan will be destroyed unless she gives up the location of the rebel base.
Best Visual Effects:RvD2: Ryan vs. Dorkman 2 by Blinding Light Productions – an action-packed and engaging lightsaber battle.
Best Short Subject:The Empire Strikes Back (In 60 Seconds) by Oliver Jones – the fastest rendition of The Empire Strikes Back ever seen.
Best Makeup:Contract of Evil by Lou Klien – Darth Maul takes on a pair of Sith creatures who have been deemed unworthy by his Master.
Best Parody:Grindhouse: Don’t Go Into the Endor Woods by Michael Ramova – a parody of the old low-budget Grindhouse horror films from America’s drive-in theater days.
In my opinion, the best film of the bunch has to be RvD2: Ryan vs. Dorkman 2. There is no dialogue in this film, only hardcore action, but what action! I simply loved the entire fight. Blinding Light Productions did an excellent job on the special effects – such a good job, in fact, that one might actually believe lightsabers were real. Contract of Evil came in second for me – it was a tad bit drawn out and the creatures could have been explained a bit more, but I thought it was a decent piece of fan fiction translated into film. George Lucas Hip Hop Awards made me laugh, but I couldn’t help but think that George sounded a bit more like Bill Clinton to me. Grindhouse: Don’t Go Into the Endor Woods deserves the Best Parody Award. I loved the idea of the Evil Ewoks systematically taking out each scantily clad woman that entered the Endor Woods – hysterical! I have to wonder at the thought process that awarded Best Comedy to Tarkin ‘n Friends. To me, this film was just plain boring and silly and not my idea of true comedy. What can I say about Padmé? Well, although the concept was funny, and there were a few laugh-out-loud moments – the Vader Was Framed t-shirt cracked me up – for the most part, I have to say that there were better films that could have won the George Lucas Selects Award. As for the Best Short Subject Award – well, all I can say is…interesting.
Well, that closes this year’s Star Wars Fan Film Awards. Until next year…MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!