Fan Film, Fan Films

Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge Pre-Game, Part 1

Welcome to The Fan Cinema Today Pre-Game Show for the Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge Awards Ceremony! I was gonna try to do this as a podcast, but it turns out that I’m incredibly lazy (who knew?), so text it is.

The Dark Knight may be all the rage in fan films this week, but the undisputed heavyweight of the amateur blockbuster genre remains Star Wars. As if on cue, the franchise will assert its domination once again at the San Diego Comic Con Thursday night when it holds the sixth seventh edition of the Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge at 8:30PM, PST. Who will win? Who will lose? Who will accidentally break his trophy when he absentmindedly it up by the droids?

FCT expects to have coverage of the event and a rundown of all the trophy-garnering flicks Friday, but in the meantime, let’s prep for the awards show with an old-fashioned mix of news and conjecture; tomorrow in Part 2, we’ll try to guess the winners, which should be fun.

First, the news part: According to, Fanboys, the long-awaited movie about Star Wars fans breaking into Skywalker Ranch, will get a sneak preview directly after the Fan Movie Challenge event. It’s a fitting site for the first public screening of the latest (and, one hopes, last) cut of the feature film, since the flick originally started out as an unfinished fan film 10 years ago. The first 300 people in line for the Challenge on Thursday night get a pass to see the movie.

Next, the conjecture part: Every year, something gets changed about the Star Wars Fan Film Awards Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge. You never know whether it’ll be the name, the rules or the categories, plenty of which have come and gone as needed (remember “Best Musical,” which was presented only once?). I’d like to see the return of the Pioneer Awards, which were handed out the first three years and then thrown out like Felix Unger by his wife—never to return. Given that the definition of “Pioneer” meant “fan film made before June, 1999,” there’s still plenty of worthy flicks out there that are eligible, particularly since dramatic fan films are now allowed in the competition.

If the Pioneer Award was brought back, personally, I’d love to see a rematch between The Dark Redemption and Bounty Trail, which legendarily went head-to-head in the controversial fan film contest of Australia’s Force 3 convention in 1999 (I’m not kidding—it was controversial). Both flicks could easily qualify for a Pioneer Award, and there were plenty of other Star Wars flicks back in the day that would be just as worthy. Of course, chances of the Pioneer Award coming back are about as likely as Darth Vader building C3PO when he was a little kid.

Finally, a brief moment of clarity—as in ‘I’d like to take a moment to clarify something.’ Two weeks ago, I ran a controversial post on whether the Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge is sexist or financially exploits the fans who enter it. While I do have some qualms about the contest, let’s face it: Anything that gives fan films a platform of legitimacy like the Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge is fundamentally intended to be a good thing. There’s always room for improvement, and as the wild west of modern fan relations gets hammered out, there will be wrong turns and missteps, but ultimately, Lucasfilm is attempting to lead the way, showing other big media companies how to live in moderately peaceful coexistence with fans. That’s not an easy thing to do, so kudos to them.

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  1. It’s actually the seventh annual, not sixth… it’s been a long strange trip since that first contest… :)

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