Reviewed by Melissa Minners
The time has come…the time we’ve all been waiting for…the time when all Star Wars fans band together to hear the announcement…the announcement of the names of the winners of Atom Films’ Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge 2010.
Ever 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 morefamous fan films, such as Troops, Hardware Wars, George Lucas in Love, and Dark Redemption, received a sort of cult following.
Since the year 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 require fan film makers to submit a short-form fan-made movie, preferably under 5 minutes in length, but many submissions are quite a bit longer. 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.
Of course, there are a few things prohibited in this contest. For one thing, unauthorized use of copyrighted material is not allowed. You can’t use of any members of a guild actor, performer, crewmember, etc. to create your film. The submissions must also be fairly clean - no nudity, excessive swearing, explicit themes or graphic violence.
This year’s winners were announced on August 12th at the Fan Movie Awards Ceremony that took place during Star Wars Celebration V in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. This year’s award winners are:
George Lucas Selects Award:The Unconscious Sith by Adam Christian White - a mix of comic book and live action, the video features a young boy dreaming of becoming a Sith and battling Jedi.
Audience Choice Award: Renaissance (Redux) by Inti Carrizo-Ortiz - a live action film that takes place some time after Order 66 has been issued. The Jedi are on the run and, with the aide of warriors resistant to the new Empire, endeavor to escape the former Jedi who hunt them. The video features Darth Vader, a previously never before seen Dark Jedi and an extremely young Mara Jade.
Best Animated Feature Award:The Solo Adventures by Jeff Scheetz and Daniel Smith (The Dave School) - an animated film featuring Han Solo and Chewbacca in a smuggling adventure that takes place some time before A New Hope.
Best Sequel Award:The Notebook Strikes Back by Oscar Fabian Triana Mendez - a sequel to Star Wars in a Notebook, winner of the Best Animated Movie Award in 2009. This time around, the filmmaker tackles The Empire Strikes Back.
Best Cinematography Award:Makazie One by Clutch Gaubatz- a suspense film featuring an elite stormtrooper hunting down Jedi.
Best Action Heroes Award:Chronicles of a Young Skywalker: Episode II by Blake Cousins - super young action heroics performed by Han Solo, a trio of Clone Troopers and one toddler-sized Jedi named Luke Skywalker.
Spirit of Fandom Award:Star Wars ’70s Animation by John Kolesar - filmed with a Super 8 camera in the 1970s with music added in 2008 and 2010, this film features the Kenner Star Wars toys we grew up with acting out scenes from A New Hope.
Honorary Recognition:Star Wars Gangsta’ Rap: Chronicles by Thomas Lee, Jason Brannon and Chris Crawford - an animated rap featuring all of the major characters from the original trilogy telling their stories through the medium of rap music.
My opinion of the winners:I felt that the Spirit of Fandom Award was justly awarded in this case. The fact that this entertaining film was created in the 70’s using a Super 8 camera, limited special effects, Kenner action figures and ships, LEGO blocks and cardboard boxes is amazing to me. This is how I, or any other true fan, would have been playing with my action figures back in the day, acting out scenes from the movie with my Kenner Star Wars figures and anything else I could get my hands on. Well done!
The Best Action Heroes Award was wasted on Chronicles of a Young Skywalker. Yes, the munchkin who played Luke was adorable and I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that the lightsaber was twice the size of the toddler wielding it. However, this really wasn’t all that entertaining a film.
Best Cinematography was all that Makazie One could have hoped to win for. I agree that the film had some incredibly beautiful scenery shot with interesting views and camera angles, but there really wasn’t any story and once you got into the cave fight between the elite stormtrooper and the Jedi, it really became too dark to see anything.
I had enjoyed Star Wars in a Notebook last year and found The Notebook Strikes Back to be equally enjoyable with Triana Mendez’s unique design and tongue-in-cheek description of the events that took place in the film.
Filmed in Spanish with English subtitles, Renaissance (Redux) was an extremely well put together film featuring excellent camera shots and a decent story complete with two styles of betrayal. I especially enjoyed this film because it offers up a back story for my favorite Expanded Universe character, Mara Jade. In my opinion, this film definitely earned its Audience Choice Award and maybe should have earned more.
The Unconscious Sith was very well done with its comic book/live action style. The story was humorous and short, but did it really deserve the George Lucas Selects Award. George may have loved this film, but I believe that he should have taken a better look at some of the other contestants before choosing this film.
How does a masterpiece like Star Wars Gangsta’ Rap receive only an Honorable Recognition?! The film is funny, the animation well-done and the rap excellent! This submission should definitely have received much higher honors!
Yet another year filled with excellent fan submissions and although I may not agree with all of the award selections, I have to say kudos for all of the hard work that went into creating these films. You can check out the winners athttp://www.atom.com/channel/channel_star_wars. To check out the 2010 finalists, visit http://www.atom.com/channel/channel_star_wars#2010%20Finalists. Who will be the next Star Wars fan film award winner? The Force must be strong with the folks who submit their films for consideration in the Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge 2011!
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