Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Well, it’s that time of the year again - time to check out Star Wars fans’ homage to their favorite saga in the form of fan films. Since George Lucas introduced us to the Star Wars universe in 1976, fans have been paying homage to his creation with their own creations. Some of the more famous fan films, such as Troops, Hardware Wars, George Lucas in Love, and Dark Redemption, received a sort of cult following.
In 2002, Atom Films, one of the internet’s best sources for short-form comedies, dramas and animations, in conjunction with Lucasfilm Ltd. has been the host of The Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards. Created to honor the best of the Star Wars-themed spoofs and documentaries submitted by Star Wars fans everywhere, prizes have ranged from those of monetary value to trophies to official recognition by George Lucas at large conventions like Comic Con and at the official website, starwars.com.
The guidelines are simple enough. Just submit a short-form fan-made movie, preferably under 5 minutes in length. The movie can be a parody of the universe (including the movies, books and comic books), a fan experience documentary or a fan fiction movie, expanding upon the Star Wars universe. The submission may include the use of Star Wars officially licensed items, including the books, action figures, the Star Wars Galaxies online game and more. Anyone in any country can submit a film for review. There are a few things to remember - unauthorized use of copyrighted material is not allowed. Neither is the use of any members of a guild actor, performer, crewmember, etc. The submissions must also be fairly clean - no nudity, excessive swearing, explicit themes or graphic violence.
This year’s winners were announced on July 27th at Comic Con 2009 held in San Diego, California. This year’s award winners are:George Lucas Selects Award: Star Wars: Retold by Joe Nicolosi - once upon a time Joe Nicolosi asked his friend Amanda Boone if she knew the story of the Star Wars Trilogy. Having never seen the films in their entirety, she proceeded to piece together what she knew to give Joe a description of the films. Her inaccurate description combined with Joe’s visuals make for a hilarious short film. Best Action / Audience Choice Award: Saber by Adam Green of Danger Maiden Productions - a Star Wars parody commercial in which an ordinary guy is fought over by two rather sexily clad women using lightsabers all because of his Saber cologne.
Best Comedy:Episode XVI: Family Dysfunction by Rich Scheimann - just like all other families, Darth Vader’s family life is rather dysfunctional. This is perfectly exhibited through his interaction with his son, Luke Skywalker’s half brother. Their argument begins over the fact that junior has taken the family tie fighter without permission.
Best Parody:Star Sports Theatrical Film Trailer by Jeff Capone - in a gymnasium far, far away…Star Wars characters playing high school sports. May the Sports be with you!
Best Animated Movie:Star Wars in a Notebook by Oscar Fabian Triana Mendez - a 2D synopsis of A New Hope featuring Darth Vader as a bad guy with asthma.
Spirit of Fandom Award:Cinemagic: 30 Years of Star Wars by Joe and David Presswood - a montage of news and information related to the movie saga.
My opinion of the winners - Star Wars: Retold, Saber, Star Sports and Star Wars in a Notebook had me laughing out loud. How could someone be so off when it comes to the Star Wars saga as Amanda Boone in Retold?! Hysterical! The Saber commercial was a well done Star Wars version of the ridiculous Axe cologne commercials we see on television. The amateur artwork in Star Wars in a Notebook was very well done. And Star Sports? Attention Lucasfilm, Ltd.: I would love to see an actual video game based on this scenario!
All-in-all, this year’s winners deserved their praise. You can check out the winners athttp://www.atom.com/spotlights/starwars/challenge/index.html. To check out the 2009 finalists, visit http://www.atom.com/spotlights/starwars/challenge/vote.html. My favorite among the finalists that didn’t win: Star Wars: The Closet Unleashed, an animation/live short film featuring a plot to escape an overgrown Star Wars toy collection.
Well, that closes this year’s Star Wars Fan Film Awards. Until next year…MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!
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