Tag Archives: Fan Film

CBS and Paramount Settle With ‘Axanar’ Fan Film Makers

Those of you waiting patiently for Star Trek Fan Film Axanar can finally rejoice! The lawsuit between the studios and its filmakers has finally reached a settlement, and we might finally get to see a version of the fan film! Sort of!

Don’t get too excited yet.

Axanar has been a sticking point for CBS and Paramount for some time. The studios filed a copyright lawsuit after its massive amount of fundraising set off red flag for the companies. And despite J.J. Abrams’s comments that the suit was going away last May, it’s soldiered on. To put the icing on the cake, during this, Paramount and CBS put out some ridiculously restrictive fan film guidelines which seemed designed to kill a historically relevant part of Trek fan culture.

This settlement is, if anything, a compromise with those guidelines.

In the settlement the existing Prelude to Axanar will be allowed to stay online, and the Axanar film will be allowed online posted as two, 15 minute shorts. This is far from the feature length film promised by filmmakers, but falls into the ridiculous length guidelines put out there by CBS and Paramount. Axanar gets to skirt certain parts of those guidelines still, with its heavy inclusion of actors who have appeared on various Star Trek properties.

It’s a disappointing end in many ways, but it’s a lot better for fans than it could have been. I’ve included the official statement released by both the filmmakers and the studios below: Continue reading CBS and Paramount Settle With ‘Axanar’ Fan Film Makers

This is the Closest You’ll Probably Ever Get to Riding a Star Wars Speederbike

It’s December, and these days it means it’s the most wonderful time of the year — and by that I mean Star Wars season apparently. One of the most iconic scenes out of the original trilogy is, of course, the speederbike chase in Return of the Jedi. Most of us dreamed of tearing through the woods on a 74-Z as kids, but as they run on fictional technology it seemed an unachievable one.

Until now.

Sort of.

Close enough, really.

A fan film by Devin Super Tramp was uploaded this week which reproduced the famous speederbike scene with modified Jetovators (a jet ski powered flying water bike). I’ve embedded it below if you want to take a look. It’s pretty damned neat.

And here’s the behind the scenes video to explain how they shot the film (and modified the bikes) to spoil a little bit of the movie magic for you:

Episode 76 – Everything is Terrible

On this episode of Nerd & Tie we discuss the tragic loss of young actor Anton Yelchin, the rather craptastic new fan film guidelines put out for Star Trek by Paramount and CBS, The CW leaving Hulu behind, Tyler Hoechlin’s casting as Superman on Supergirl, the new Ghostbusters theme by Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott, and how Wizard World finally came to their senses and cancelled their ridiculous cruise.

And yeah, the video on this version is pretty janky thanks to a software upgrade. We swear we’ll fix it for next time.

Important Links:

Video Version:

Audio Version:

CBS and Paramount Release Some Pretty Terrible ‘Star Trek’ Fan Film Guidelines

With the Axanar lawsuit still continuing, despite claims that it was going away by J.J. Abrams, there’s been an ongoing question about whether or not Paramount and CBS would finally put out fan film guidelines. Trek fan films have been a part of the culture for most of the franchise’s existence, and while other studios have put out fan film guidelines for their properties (namely Lucasfilm’s Star Wars), CBS and Paramount have been reluctant to follow suit. Well, at least they have been until now.

And what they came up with was pretty terrible.

Yesterday, CBS and Paramount announced a set of set of fan film guidelines (which you can read here). These guidelines are at best described as severely restricting, and at worst described as an attack against the franchise’s most die hard fans.

While most of the rules are actually pretty expected (fan film creators can’t use “Star Trek” in the title, fan films can’t be sold for profit), there’s a couple of points that stick out pretty boldly – and the most important one is first on the list:

1. The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.

This length restriction (and restriction on any continuing stories) effectively kills almost every fan film project currently in production. This is a policy violated by Axanar, Renegades, Star Trek Continues, Star Trek Phase II… or pretty much any other Trek fan film I can think of. This policy kills fan film culture.

But if you think that’s the end of it, I have bad news: it gets worse. A little further down, we get this gem (emphasis mine):

5. The fan production must be a real “fan” production, i.e., creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs, cannot be compensated for their services, and cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.

That’s right – if a Star Trek actor ever feels like engaging with the fans and appearing in a fan production, it’s too bad. When you really break it down it gets even worse, when you consider that means that even someone who appeared as an extra in an episode of Star Trek cannot appear in a fan film.

These rules are, frankly, a garbage overreaction from a studio hostile to its most dedicated fans. There are many things we expected in these rules — like the fundraising restrictions — which are perfectly reasonable for the studios to enforce, but these two specific points are so damaging to the community that CBS and Paramount are effectively killing off the vital lifeblood that has helped keep fandom together in the franchise’s slow years and reinforces it in the strong ones.

This is something that needs to be changed.

‘Axanar’ Lawsuit Will Be ‘Going Away’ According to J.J. Abrams

Fan films have always existed in legal limbo. While studios have usually claimed that these films violated their copyrights, for the most part they’ve been left alone. Some studios, like Lucasfilm, set out guidelines for what was acceptable use of their Star Wars intellectual property in fan productions, but other franchises like Star Trek‘s owners (initially Paramount and now CBS) have been vague. In recent years so called “fan films” have been getting more and more professional, and Trek fan film Axanar looked to be as professional as any other official production.

Which, y’know, made CBS and Paramount nervous.

Back in December, CBS and Paramount filed a lawsuit against Axanar‘s creators because of this, claiming copyright infringement. The case has led to a lot of debate about the nature of “fan films,” whether Axanar really even is one, and whether or not the Klingon Language can be protected. This case could have set a number of precedents.

But guess what, it won’t.

At a fan event on Friday, J.J. Abrams revealed that the lawsuit against Axanar‘s creators would be “going away.”

Apparently at the urging of Justin Lin (director of the upcoming Star Trek Beyond feature film), Paramount and CBS will be ending the lawsuit.

While Abrams says the word “fans” a lot (and I’m sure this will be a part of both CBS and Paramount’s official statements), I have to wonder if CBS or Paramount was concerned that any judgement might end up weakening the strength of their Star Trek copyright. If a decision regarding the copyrightability of the Klingon language hadn’t gone in their favor, they would no longer be able to charge licensing fees on anything in Klingon. Frankly, this feels like it was a shrewd business move more than any sort of nod to the fans.

But maybe that’s just the cynic in me.

The Axanar people did not actually know that CBS and Paramount weren’t going to move forward with the lawsuit until the words came out of Abrams’s mouth (as the executive producer of Axanar Alec Peters was in the audience). It should also be clear that the studios have not “dropped” the lawsuit, but are instead entering into settlement talks. The good news is that it looks like Star Trek will finally get a set of rules and guidelines for fan works, and this sort of thing won’t happen again.

Via Ars Technica

‘Demon in the Dark’ is the ‘Secret Six’ Fan Film You Didn’t Know You Needed

I love a good fan film, and when it’s of a property that I don’t think gets quite enough love, it makes me even happier. That’s why when I ran across The Demon In The Dark, a Secret Six fan film, I was ecstatic.

And thankfully it’s pretty good.

Made by “Forewarned Films” for just $5,000, it’s just sixteen minutes long. Sixteen minutes of low budget awesome. The film features a pretty classic team of the modern age Secret Six, and a little Batman… with just a pinch of Green Lantern.

There are a lot of characters in this thing.

Enjoy.

Have Seven Minutes? Watch This ‘Star Wars’ Fan Film Called ‘Kara’

Fan films are a mixed bag, so it’s always nice when you stumble across a good one. Today we look at Kara, a Star Wars fan film made by Joe Sill.

It’s only seven minutes long, and the story is pretty simple. A father and his daughter are trying to make it to an outpost, while a dogfight breaks out overhead between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance.

So sit back and enjoy yourself.

Episode 64 – No Ending in Sight

On this episode of Nerd & Tie, we tackle Toho’s new Godzilla design, CBS is suing the creators of Star Trek fan film Axanar, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is crushing it at the box office, Hasbro can’t get things right with Rey, and No Boys Dorm just kind of kicks ass.

You should totally watch it.

Important Links:

Video Version:

Audio Version:

CBS, Paramount Suing Creators of Star Trek Fan Film ‘Axanar’

Franchises like Star Trek and Star Wars have a long tradition of allowing “Fan films” to be produced using their intellectual property. But while LucasFilm put out guidelines for makers of fan films years ago for their Star Wars franchise, Paramount (and now CBS) have avoided ever putting anything in print. Since fans had been allowed to produce and distribute fan films for decades though, most assumed everything was okay.

Well… not so much anymore.

THR is reporting that Paramount and CBS (who currently owns Star Trek) have filed suit against the producers of the highly anticipated Axanar fan film. Axanar notably raised over a million dollars between Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and is set 20 years prior to the original Star Trek TV series.

While productions like Axanar may look much more professional than the fan films of old, it’s because the people making it are largely professionals. Technology has also progressed to the point where costs to make a quality fan film are just a fraction of what they were twenty years ago. Paramount and CBS clearly feel threatened though, and are doing what most would consider pretty ridiculous — suing some of their most loyal fans.

CBS has gotten more aggressive with fan productions of late, as while the Axanar related Prelude to Axanar remains live on Youtube, fellow fan production Star Trek: Renegades had their pilot episode pulled from the service for “commercially deceptive” content.

The entire thing smacks of shortsightedness, and if it goes to trial may finally settle some of the non-commercial fair use arguments around fan films. Rights holders have always insisted that fan films technically violated their copyrights, but that’s never been challenged in court as in the past they’ve also been permissive to allow the productions to continue. If it turns out that the courts side with the fan film producers’ fair use argument, it could open the floodgates to more being made.

And, y’know, there’s that whole thing where you might not want to sue your most loyal customers for liking your product too much. Not a great idea.

Via THR

‘Star Trek: Renegades’ is Here… and it’s Terrible

So we’ve been following Star Trek: Renegades for a while. We were originally hopeful (though skeptical). I mean it had random Trek-alums Walter Koenig and Tim Russ in notable roles (and a whole bunch of others in smaller parts), and other science fiction franchise alums like Corin Nemec appearing as well. I questioned Tim Russ’s directing chops, but the premise sounded neat. I was optimistic.

But then the trailer came out and, well, it was a thing. The trailer, which is supposed to be the best bits crammed together, just looked bad. When a trailer looks bad, you know you’re in trouble.

Well, now the entire thing is up on YouTube, and unfortunately my instincts have been proven correct.

This was made on a small budget, and if it were 1995, the film didn’t have Star Trek in the name, and I was watching it at 11pm on a Saturday night on a random UHF channel, I’d probably love the movie. Frankly, I still kind of do – but it’s for all the wrong reasons.

Literally every bad scifi movie cliche was crammed into Renegades. And I mean every. single. one. But at least it’s nice to know that Edward Furlong and Sean Young are alive still — that’s a small bit of comfort. Also, you get to watch Vic Mignogna die. I always enjoy that.

He got away last time.

So if you’ve got an hour and a half to burn, sit down and watch this… whatever it is. This glorified fan film that proves even with an excellent cast, there is no saving a mediocre script. But hey, I got to make some Parker Lewis Can’t Lose jokes while watching it, so that made it kind of worth it.

Protip: If you want to hear a ridiculous song written specifically for the movie, wait until about halfway through the end credits. It’s amazing.