On the one hand, 2020 is a disaster. Political upheavals, protests and riots, forest fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes… and a crazy bat virus got out of control and spread around the world at a breakneck speed as scientists tried to find a vaccine at the speed of light. Civilization as we knew it seems to have come to a standstill, and we still wonder if it will ever be the same again.
On the other hand, since most outdoor activities were limited, we had enough time to catch up on TV and YouTube. And for those of us who are addicted to Star Trek, the year 2020 saw the premiere of the all-new Star Trek series this year! STAR TRACK: PICARD started in January (you remember January, don’t you?) and STAR TREK : Lower records followed in August.
And just when the lower decks were ready, the new season of STAR TREK began: DISCOVERY has launched the backup… which means there will be a total of 32 new Star Trek episodes in 2020 in one year! We hadn’t seen so many new Star Trek shows on television since 1999, when Deep Space Nine and Voyager were broadcast simultaneously.
And if 32 new Star Trek episodes weren’t enough for you, there was even MORE to see during Quarantine with fan films! Anyone who had a guide who completely destroyed the Star Trek fan films in the office lottery lost for the fifth year in a row, as Trek fan films not only live long and prosperous lives, but even in light of the global pandemic with the release of new Fandemic films that were carefully masked and socially distanced during production.
This year also saw the debut of a number of Star Trek films, which fans eagerly looked forward to, having been in production for three years, five years and even 35 years! The past twelve months have been exciting for our community of film fans, and a lot for bloggers like me (assuming there are others like me!) who spend their time reporting on the people behind these productions and the seemingly endless parade of content they provide. In fact, in October I published my 1000th blog since January 2016!
So let’s take a look at some of the great movies that will be released in 2020 as a great new offering for Star Trek fans….
IS GOOD FOR THOSE WHO WAIT
Some fan films can be produced relatively quickly and easily. Others take longer to complete for various reasons. In 2020, fans waited a few years to make some popular fan films. But by the end of the year almost all of them will start with at least the first part or even the second part……
STAR TRACK: FIRST BURN – On the 8th. In September 2020 it will be 54 years since the first broadcast of STAR TREK took place in 1966. Bad. This year is also the fifth anniversary of the start of the production of STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER, the long-awaited fan film by showrunner KENNY SMITH. Kenny’s dream was to make a fan fan movie about the very first captain of the American Enterprise NCC-1701, Robert April, and his first mission as commander of this legendary ship. Kenny’s dream was big! He needed real sets and real professional actors and even visual effects with a custom 11-foot model of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Fans waited patiently while Kenny and his team worked on the post-production for years. During this period, I conducted behind the scenes interviews with Kenny himself and the builders of his incredible Enterprise and Hangar Deck models (and the sets themselves), MATT GREEN and SCOTT LYTTLE. And when First Frontier finally premiered, I did my third interview with Kenny and his producer/editor ZEKE FLATTEN.
The finished fan movie had some problems with the sound level, but it has received over 1.3 million hits on YouTube since the premiere! Kenny promises a new version early 2021 that will solve the audio problems. But in the meantime, you can use Frontier One…. in the meantime.
ROMANIAN WAR – The first clues from this fan movie came back in 2017. Not to be confused with the fan series THE ROMULAN WARS (plural) by showrunner LEE GARTRELL from Arkansas, The Romulan War (One of a Kind) by showrunner MARK NACCARATO from Tennessee is a two-part, no-frills series presented in the same mockumentary style as PRELUDE TO AXANAR.
By the time the 2018 hit was released, the Romulan War had shot down most of his scenes and financed most of his post-production through Indiegogo for $10,000 (which eventually yielded more than $13,000). Thanks to the visual effects of CGI sensei, the British SAMUEL COCKINGS, the trailers and images of this dynamic fan film have generated a palpable tension throughout the community. Mark released a series of trailers, extensive radio plays and even short comics before finally releasing The Romulan War (Part 1) at the end of October. Slightly less than 300,000 are visible so far.
Before the release I did an audio interview with Mark, and you can watch the first part of this exciting fan movie here…..
PACIFIC 201 – Initially funded by a $26,000 Kickstarter campaign in September 2015 and a $32,000 Indiegogo campaign the following year, Pacific 201 was created by showrunner ERIC HENRY of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It will tell the story of a ship launched 40 years after the end of the Romulan War with the Coalition of Planets, at a time when Earth was not yet convinced that space exploration was a good idea.
Over the years, the Pacific 201 has always been on the verge of making its debut. A series of images was published in 2018 and the first promised date was spring 2019. That’s not what happened. But earlier this year, a new trailer with stunning images promised a release date in August 2020. The film (the first part of the second) was actually released in November and has been watched about a quarter of a million times so far. You can listen to an audio interview with Eric and his producer/star MARGARET HERBENER. The second game comes out tomorrow, but you can play the first game Pacific 201 under…. under.
YORKTOVN: TIME WHEN – With a record that will probably never be broken in terms of most anticipated fan films, Yorktown began in 1985 when presenter Stan Wu convinced George Takei to play the role of Sulu in Stan’s project. The famous actor James Shaigeta was also on board, while the legendary Star Trek designer ANDREW PROBERT made his own designs for the production ships.
Things started quickly, but stopped in 1987 and only started seriously again when JOHN ATKIN came on board in 2010 to help complete production. It took another ten years for the fan club to become a real who’s who. But tomorrow, on the very last day of the year, Yorktown’s 35-year waiting finally comes to an end.
The whole story is fascinating, and you can read it in a mega-series of six blogs! There’s also an audio interview with Stan and John. And then, of course, there’s Yorktown itself….
THE VIDEO WILL BE ON THIS SITE TOMORROW (HOPEFULLY!).
QUINTain – Unlike the four films we’ve just mentioned, fans didn’t know they could expect to see The Quintain by CURT DANHAUSER. He was never financed by the crowd, he had no big celebrities (or actors next to him!) and many fans had never heard of him. But Kurt had already released three ambitious films by Star Trek fans, made in the animation style of filming in the mid-1970s. They are all published in his comprehensive and informative Guide to Animated Star Trek from 2008 to 2016.
But since 2016, with the exception of a hilarious series of short public service animations, nothing new from Kurt….. until this summer, when he released another great animated adventure with Scotty.
AXANAR – No, ALEC PETERS didn’t let Axanar out before you looked! But since CBS and Paramount sued Alec and Axanar Productions at the end of 2015, delaying the planned start of production in 2016, countless fans, supporters and donors (and others) are wondering if they will ever see this ambitious project through to a successful conclusion. Despite a legal agreement with the studios in early 2017 that allowed the production and release of Axanar in the form of two 15-minute shorts, it took two and a half years before production could finally resume in October 2019.
The first trailer of Axanar, including fragments of the new images, was released in April. The 60 second trailer was edited by MARK EDWARD LEWIS using a combination of live footage from Ares Studios in Georgia and VFX created in 2015 and 2016, and generated nearly 55,000 views on YouTube.
Six months later, I edited an 8.5-minute feature film about the event behind the scenes. It contains even more live and VFX footage, as well as excerpts from interviews with various actors who were present at the shooting weekend in October 2019. So far this video has an incredible 343K views…. received.
Some fan series have been around for years and continue to evolve, allowing us to see new adventures all the time….
THE FEDERATION FILES – Founded by GLEN WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS and operating from WARP 66 STUDIOS in Northeast Arkansas, where several reproductions of all TOS have been made, The Federation Files regularly produces a series of quality films in anthological style for Star Trek fans, with the first in 2016, another in 2017, one in 2018, two in 2019 and four in 2020! (You can see all his releases in this YouTube playlist).
This year Voices from the Past, The Green Manifesto, Friends and Foes and The Mask (the last two have been released in the last two months and I haven’t had a chance to judge them yet) have been released. All their episodes have been made with great care and love for the rich, centuries-old Star Trek story (it’s fiction, isn’t it?).
DREADNOUGHT DOMINION – This range of fans from the TOS era was launched in 2015 under the leadership of FRANK PARKER, JR. The crew has since moved to GARY DAVIS and RADNEY RENN, who led the three-cell spacecraft Spacock to the galaxy of adventure. In total, the Dominion team has played a dozen fan videos (you can watch them all in this YouTube playlist).
This year they released three new films: the comedy Barrel Full of Quincy, then a hilarious music video consisting of clips and comments from the audience, and finally half an hour We Are Many serious. These guys go to a lot of trouble for their fan films.
POTEMKIN PICTURES – Even when he moved his own set from Alabama to Kentucky, showrunner RANDY LANDERS remained in close contact with his many creative teams. Potemkin Pictures has been producing an average of a dozen fanbags a year for almost a decade, and they continue to release these films. (You can watch almost a hundred of their fan films on their website).
Although the move and the pandemic caused some delay, Potemkin still had four releases of STARSHIP DEIMOS, one of HOSPITAL SHIP MARIE CURIE, one of STARSHIP ALEXANDER, one of STARSHIP TRISTAN, and they started a new creative team working with STARSHIP WEBSTER (see below). Some of their many teams may not continue after the move, while others may create new teams. But we can always count on new content from Potemkin Pictures.
INTREPID – Pride of Scotland, the guys from the Intrepid team started producing their first fan movie in 2003. Since then, they’ve made over a dozen ads for the 24th. Centuries of production with showrunner NICK COOK for Captain Daniel Hunter. They crossed paths with the American fan series STAR TREK: HIDDEN FRONTIER several times, and next year Nick will play the role of Captain Hunter in the crossover multiplayer CONVERGENCE.
Always happy to play in the Star Trek universe, Intrepid released his 12th album in February. Series, Dissonant Minds, who actually went into production 8 years ago! Then, in July, they released their 13th album. Episode, Treasure of the Ages, their first production to be filmed in its entirety after the announcement of a fan film guide in 2016.
CONSTAR CONTINUES and CONSTAR COMPLETES – If you can’t remember how many Star Trek fan films VANCE MAJOR has released, you’re not alone! I’m sure I have no idea either. There must be a hundred of them! Vance operates with an extremely tight budget, with heart and dedication…. Some were filmed on film sets in Georgia or Arkansas, others at home, on makeshift sets, in cars, on the street, in courtyards, on bridges…. just about anywhere.
It began as the Minard saga, recounting the artificially prolonged long life of Eric Minard de Cage in the 24th century. The series, which covers the 20th century, continued with a drop of 40 episodes that coincided with CONSTAR CHRONICLES at the end of last year. This year several episodes of a new series have appeared, called CONSTAR CONTINUES. (You can access all these episodes via this YouTube playlist). These two episodes contain a number of cameo’s of several well-known members of the film enthusiast community (including the undersigned). And more recently, towards the end of this year, Vance continued with his latest series of CONSTAR COMPLETED and other cameos, with a forecast of 17 more episodes next year. (These episodes will be added to this YouTube playlist.) Enjoy the jumps!
ANTILLUS STARSHIP – GEORGE KAYAN has been directing Star Trek fan films since the 1990s, when he directed several fan films at Mom and Dad’s house! Today, George grew up and still makes Star Trek movies with house sets in his house. But now he’s doing them with his lovely daughter Anya.
Antill released his first episode in 2013. Since then, George has managed to produce two to five half-hour episodes a year. In 2020 the fourteenth to seventeenth episodes of Antill (and several episodes of the Constar series) were released. You can watch all episodes of Antyllus in this YouTube playlist.
LEFT BEHIND – The Californian director MATTHEW BLACKBURN has released his first fan movie STAR TREK: SURVIVOR, in 2010. After an interruption of seven years, he returns to the Trek films in 2017 with SURVIVORS and in 2018 with LAST SURVIVOR. They form a kind of trilogy and follow a common pattern that forms almost the entire plot on the planet, separating the protagonist(s) from any help from the ship. As they descend to the surface, they are faced with a threat that is usually accompanied by running, climbing and fighting in a hand-to-hand fight.
Matthew works with a small crew of about six actors and a production team, but the results are excellent and fun to watch. A fourth version was released this year, not necessarily a sequel called LEFT BEHIND with more action and tips. Matthew plans to direct at least two more fan films in the coming year.
UNIVERSITY OF AVALON – Fans got a first impression of what JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX can do for Halloween 2018 with the release of GHOST SHIP, the first of many Star Trek fan films set in the world of Avalon. This Starfleet is similar and slightly different from SWR and is a mixture of SWR and Kelvin chronology uniforms with vessels almost exactly like SWR but slightly different from each other.
Shot on the set at Neutral Zone Studios in Kingsland, Georgia, Ghost Ship’s production quality surpasses that of most Trek films, especially as Josh and Victoria themselves are Arkansas film industry professionals. The following year, Victoria and Josh released two more films in their Avalon universe: AVALON LOST and DEMONS, one even more impressive than the other. In 2020, they released their fourth Avalon fan film, LEGACY, a short vignette in just five days, in preparation for their fifth release, AIR AND DARKNESS.
NEW MEMBERS OF THE GROUP
There is always room for new Star Trek fan movies, fan series and fan producers in our community. Let’s welcome newcomers to our ranks….
PLEASE NOTE – BENNY HALL is the most vivid embodiment of what fan films are all about. Silent Crowd finances $50,000 in 2019 to write, produce and direct his first fan film. This 16-minute story about Captain Kirk was filmed in both Neutral Zone Studios and the iconic Vasquez Rocks Park in northern Los Angeles, where Kirk fought the Gorn. But in this fan movie, Kirk is not fighting Gorn, he’s fighting Mugato! Benny plans to produce another Star Trek fan movie after the pandemic is over.
ATOMIC POST HORROR – Talk about the pandemic: One of the first Trek fan films released after the beginning of world quarantine came from France. Four friends made a Fandemic film, three of them filmed their roles at home, and a fourth edited these shows together and turned them into a post-atomic horror story with a very surprising ending that ties everything together firmly into a Star Trek continuity.
STAR TREK FAN FILMS INTERNATIONAL – Always in the middle of a pandemic production, cosplayers and fans from all over the world have come together under the direction of DAVID CHENG to produce a series of socially distant but sincere tributes to Star Trek and his beloved TOS characters. Although David’s first film, HUMAN ADVENTURE, was released before the launch of the Pandemic in October last year, there are already four Fandemic films by these cosplayers in 2020: ATTENTION TO THE DAY, I SPEAK, MANAGE IT, and a current celebration of PEACE AND GOOD WILL.
STARSHIP WEBSTER – I know I mentioned the Potemkin pictures above and their move from Alabama to Kentucky. But the launch of their newest creative group later this year is worth mentioning as a special welcome to the world of fan films for the people of Lexington, KY. Webster has already released his first three fan projects: LAUNCH, A VOCATION IN THE DARK and TOMBSTONE, each very carefully twisted with temperature control, social remoteness, masks and disinfectants.
…AND SO MANY OTHERS I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO TREAT…
There are literally dozens if not hundreds of other Star Trek fan films – long and short, funny and serious, low-budget and low-budget – that were released last year by filmmakers of all kinds, both in the United States and in other countries around the world. In fact, I highly recommend the current FS FILMS fan releases and VICTORIA FAN FILMS, based in the Czech Republic, with their amazing 360 degree bridge dating back to the 24th century. Century, which was built in Prague a few years ago. In addition, JENS DOMBEK, the German Spock, has just released a really funny and unique comic vignette called TIMES ARE CHANGING. Finally, I did not have the opportunity to discuss the three new releases of CERBASI TREK from the United Kingdom. I hope you get a chance to at least try some of them.
I apologize for all the fan films I couldn’t make last year. For a complete list of everything – and I mean everything that comes out in the world of Star Trek fan films – visit the incredible STAR TREK website: OPEN.
THE YEAR 2021 HAS ARRIVED.
But wait, there’s more! We expect the second half of the Romulan War to be published next year. Do not forget to donate to Indiegogo, where half of the 10,000 goals have already been achieved.
The long-awaited Animals come out in January and mark the first new STARSHIP VALIANT fan film since the premiere of their first act, The Ties That Bind, in June 2017.
SAMUEL COKINGS, the magician of space and spaceships, has announced the release in 2021 of A LONG WAY FROME, a vignette preview of the cast of his upcoming mega-fan crossover film CONVERGENCE.
The long-awaited SQUADRON from the Czech Republic will be brought into circulation in the first months of 2021. It takes place during the Dominion War and has an incredible makeover for Worth and the two Jem’Hadar. And it has an amazing special effects system from Mr. Cockings.
Fans are also impatiently waiting for the latest City on the Berm of the Exclusion puppetry parody. If you haven’t seen the trailer, it looks so good. You can check it out on their Indiegogo page, where you can also make a donation to cover the cost of professional quality sound mixes.
Other fan films are of course from Potemkin Pictures, Dreadnought Dominion, Federation Dossier, Intrepid, Starship Antillus, Constartus Completed, Nature’s Hunger and Neutral Zone Studios.
Oh, I almost forgot! I worked on my own fan movie called INTERLUDE, which takes place in the Axanar universe. It’s so close to completion! The music is finally ready, there are a few last dots missing. The Shuttle jacket will be placed in front of Admiral Slater’s office shortly after New Year’s Day and then we will hand it over to MARK EDWARD LEWIS for the final sound mix. I resist the temptation to announce a premiere date, because I missed last summer’s date. But don’t worry, this fan film is only a few centimetres from the finish!
And that’s it for me for 2020. I hope you all enjoyed the love blog I humbly introduced you to. Don’t forget I have Patreon and I work for tips. If you want to support my work, sign up for a small monthly donation. But whether you do or not, I’d like to thank you all for participating in the Star Trek fan movies and reading my blog posts.
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