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May 06

Top 10 Fan Films

Okay, bear with me, this is a long post. A few days ago I was reading /Film and they had an article about a new fan made short film called ‘Street Fighter Legacy’. This new short film gets released this week and the film makers are promising everyone that it is the Street Fighter film the fans have been waiting for, a bold claim. However, it did get me thinking about fan films, and on the eve of this Street Fighter fan film (watch the teaser and find out more here) I present you with my top ten list of fan films from the internet.

The fan film is a funny beast, usually pretty low quality wet dreams by fans who just think they can do better than the original film or they just want to express their love for a particular movie or genre. ‘Star Wars’ is the primary target for most of these short films but other films and genres have also been ‘fanned’, including superheroes, ‘Star Trek’ and computer games.

Michinima is another type of fan film, where you take screen grabs of computer games and re-edit them into films. One of the best sources of info on machinima is michinima.com.

We will put up links or embed (good or bad) the new ‘Street Fighter Legacy’ short film here at Geek Actually when it is finally released.

Quick note: The number one entry at the bottom auto plays as soon as the page loads. So if you start hearing music while you are reading or watching other stuff, scroll down and hit pause.

Now onto the list from lowest to highest:

10. ‘Freeman’s Mind’ (2007) by Ross Scott. This michinima is slightly different, here the game footage isn’t re-edited, instead the filmmaker just played the game ‘Half Life’ through and sliced it into short episodes with a voice over of what the main character, Freeman, is thinking and it is really funny. All of the episodes are on YouTube, but I have just put episode 1 here to get you started.

9. ‘Robin’s Big Date’ (2004) by James Duffy. An obnoxious Batman (Sam Rockwell) crashing Robin’s (Justin Long) date, ’nuff said.

8. ‘World’s Finest’ (2004) by Sandy Collera. Collora’s follow up to ‘Batman Dead End’, a trailer for the Batman/Superman film that never was. A particular fan favourite is to create trailers for their dream movie, some work (like this one and ‘Grayson’ below), some are just downright silly.

7. ‘Grayson’ (2004) by John Fiorella. Another movie that never was. The trailer to the imaginary film ‘Greyson’ packs a lot in to it’s running time. Not great in the acting department, but had the studios decided to make a big budget version of this film, I’d go see it.

6. ‘Pink Five’ (2002) by Trey Stokes and Amy Earhart. Amy Earhart stars as Stacy, a hapless valley girl working for the Rebellion. It proved to be so popular that it has spawned sequels, ‘Pink Five Strike Back’ (2004), ‘The Return of Pink Five Vol. 1’ (2006) and ‘The Return of Pink Five Vol. 2’ (2007). I could have taken up four spots on this list with these films, instead I bundle them all together as one entry but I suggest watching them all together, it progressively gets better and better. The character of Stacy was so beloved that Timothy Zahn incorporated her character into a ‘Star Wars’ novel.

Pink Five

5. ‘Duality’ (2001) by Mark Thomas and Dave Macomber. One of the first Star Wars fan films to use completely CG elements. It is a really solid entry as both a fan film and as part of the extended Star Wars universe.

4. ‘Batman Dead End’ (2003) by Sandy Collora. This big concept, big budget fan film is visually fantastic and was intended as a showreel for the director, it became an internet sensation. Sandy Collora wanted to bring his vision of Batman to life and he did… and then some. Sandy Collora worked at Stan Winston Studios and now directs commercials and has shot his first feature film, ‘Hunter Prey,’ see the official website and trailer here.

3. ‘Escape from City 17 Part 1’ (2009) by David and Ian Purchase. This fan film based in the ‘Half Life 2’ computer game universe is quite frankly staggering. It completely captures the feeling and mood of the game while feeling like an original work. Part 2 in currently in production.

2. “Troops” (1997) by Kevin Rubio. A spot on send up of Cops in the Star Wars universe. Kevin Rubio now writes and directs television shows and writes comics.

1. ‘George Lucas in Love’ (1999) by Joe Nussbaum. This gem of a parody has George Lucas in college suffering writer’s block. All he had to do was open his eyes to his surroundings for inspiration. Joe Nussbaum now directs feature films.

I think an honourary mention must go out at this point to the daddy of all fan films, ‘Hardware Wars’ by Ernie Fosselius. In 1977, ‘Star Wars’ was the biggest film of all time and this little parody came along 7 months after it’s release. It was presented as a short before other movies in the cinema. Although dated now, it could be considered one of the very first fan films.