Fan Film, Fan Films

Lost Fan Films: Batman Reborn

Batman Reborn

Batman Reborn

This is the latest installment in an occasional series on fan films that were never completed.

Plenty of fan films get announced every year—fan film forums are filled with ancient posts where an eager amateur filmmaker announces, “Hey, I’m gonna make a flick, and it’s gonna be awesome, with stunts, explosions, fights, car chases and more. And as soon as I start writing the script and saving my allowance for a videocamera, you’ll be begging me to be on my crew.” As might be expected, the vast majority of these movies never get made.

There’s the handful, however, that enter production, get fellow fans excited with online postings that feature glimpses of the film, and then they disappear. Perhaps they collapse under the weight of the filmmakers’ overambitious scripts. Sometimes, essential castmembers, crew or equipment moves away. And occasionally the flicks die a premature death because filmmaking is hard, and it’s harder when you have no money and a lot of schedules to juggle. In all of these cases, what’s left behind is the dream of what could have been.

And that’s what saddens me about Batman Reborn, which was one of the most promising fan films of 2007.

Early in the life of FCT, I got an email from Bronx-based filmmaker Nicholas Ortiz, telling me a bit about his movie, a wildly different take on the classic DC Comics/ Warner Brothers character. He also sent along some links to trailers on YouTube, and overall, I thought it was a great idea. It was also a perfect example of something I talk about in Homemade Hollywood. Academics like to refer to fan films and their ilk as “vernacular cultures”—essentially subcultures or hobbies that grow organically from people, as opposed to being handed to you by a corporation that’s trying to sell you something (Knitting and graffiti? Vernacular cultures. Star Wars fandom? Not a vernacular culture). One of the reasons that academics find value in fan-created media is because it provides an alternative telling of familiar media that would never be cultivated or allowed by the media’s owner—and Batman Reborn was a very alternative view of the Dark Knight.

The gist of it was nothing less than a complete reinvention of Batman. Why would a rich, suburban, multi-millionaire want to save the inner city? He wouldn’t, so in Ortiz’s take on the iconic character, Batman is a regular guy from a rough neighborhood, Two-Face is a crime lord, and the cops are even more crooked than the criminals.

Sadly, the project had to be abandoned, but you can get a glimpse at what could have been at the Granma Productions website and in the YouTube clips below (of note, “Remembering The Past” includes footage of the world-famous 5 Pointz graffitti building, one of my favorite NYC landmarks). Have any thoughts or critiques about the clips? Leave ‘em in the comments area below.

Batman Reborn Fan Film Trailer

Batman Reborn Exclusive Scene

Batman Reborn Deleted Scene.

Batman Reborn “Remembering the Past”

Batman Reborn Two-Face Introduction

Batman Reborn Flashback Scene

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