Fan Film, Fan Films

Superman: The Super 8 Movie Returns!

Tonight, I’ll be hosting a night of fan films/author talk at the Mass Bay Film Project‘s new home, the Cape Ann Community Cinema in Gloucester, MA (Wednesday, Oct. 29). On Monday, I also mentioned that I’d be screening a super-secret fan film tonight that was shut down by lawyers in the late 1990s—it hasn’t been seen by the public in nearly a decade! Well, now it can be revealed: The fan film is Superman: The Super 8 Movie (Special Edition). For those in the know, the fact that this movie is being seen again is nothing less than a landmark!

As a college student in 1980, Marc Kimball shot a 13-minute Super 8 fan film, starring himself as Superman, but unfortunately, was unable to complete the flick. Years later In the late 1990s, he assembled the old footage for a lark and soon realized that using skills he’d picked up as a computer animator, he could revamp the old Super 8 effort and finally complete the backyard production he’d always envisioned.

Soon, he began slathering more than 130 digital special effects all over the footage; the mammoth project required more than two-and-a-half years to be brought up to date, but the end result was that the unusual merging of old and ultra-new technologies created one of the coolest fan films of the era (and it holds up today, 10 years later).

When it was released online, the fan film was an instant hit—in the age before viral videos were the norm, it was downloaded more than 3,500 times a day. Of course, it didn’t take long before DC Comics, which owns Superman, caught wind of the flick, and before you can say “Kryptonite,” lawyers had sent Kimball a ‘Cease & Desist’ letter, threatening a lawsuit if he didn’t stop distributing the film ASAP.

Earlier this year, Fan Cinema Today spoke with Paul Levitz, the president of DC Comics, who confirmed that his company’s view of fan films has changed, now allowing non-profit fan efforts. That, in turn, spurred Kimball to take steps to bring his flick back to the public eye, and one of those is to allow this screening of his film!

For those who can’t make it to Gloucester, fear not—you’ll get your chance to see Superman soon. Kimball is puting the finishing touches on his first original Sci-Fi flick, the 20-minute epic, Star Ranger 7, which he will release online free, tentatively in late November (right around when my fan film book, Homemade Hollywood, finally hits bookstores). As a bonus for his website’s visitors, he’ll have Superman: The Super 8 Movie (Special Edition) available for viewing there too. The site isn’t up yet, but we’ll announce it when it goes live.

But in the meantime, tonight will be a great, rare chance to see Superman and other classic fan films on the silver screen. Come out to Gloucester, see some great flicks, learn about the wacky history of fan films, and have a blast with us. We’ll even have a few galley copies of my fan film book to give away in a contest, plus postcards with a coupon code so you can pre-order the book online direct from the publisher, Continuum Books, for a cheaper price than Amazon. See you then!

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No Responses to “Superman: The Super 8 Movie Returns!”

  1. Christopher Moshier

    What other films did you screen this evening?

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