Those "retro" Force Awakens posters.
The first is Scarecrow Video’s The Scarecrow Project, which you might recall is an effort by the legendary Seattle-based indie video store to shift from the video store business into becoming the world’s largest non-profit film library as a resource to filmmakers and the community. (Jahnke wrote all about it in his Burnt Offerings column here at The Bits last week.) They set out to raise $100K to fund the project, and we’re very pleased to say that they’ve already met that goal. So congratulations to everyone at Scarecrow! I don’t know if they’ve added stretch goals yet, but don’t forget that there’s 28 days left in their Kickstarter, so you can still donate if you’d like to support them.
Now then… the second Kickstarter is Star Trek: Axanar. We’ve mentioned it here before. My old friend Alec Peters (of Propworks fame) and new friend Christian Gossett (creator of The Red Star comics) are the masterminds behind the effort, and as you know they’ve recruited a legion of industry supporters to be a part of the production. Among these are actors Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), Tony Todd (Candyman), Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica), JG Hertzler (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Gary Graham (who reprises his role of Soval from Star Trek: Enterprise), and now Garrett Wang (from Star Trek: Voyager). Our friend Robert Meyer Burnett is doing the editing, the makeup is by Academy Award winner Kevin Haney and Trek veteran Brad Look and Make Up Effects Lab, visual effects are being provided Tobias Richter and The Light Works, and the sound design is by Academy Award winner Frank Serafine.
The goal of the production is to create a 90-minute dramatic film, set in the era between Enterprise and The Original Series, which follows the adventures of Captain Garth (you’ll recall him from the TOS episode Whom Gods Destroy) and the crew of the U.S.S. Ares during the Federation’s “Four Years War” with the Klingon Empire. In order to test the production team, a 20-minute prequel was conceived called Prelude to Axanar, which is an “in-universe” historical documentary looking back at the conflict from years later, with interviews with all the key participants and combat footage of the battle. A Kickstarter campaign was conducted with the goal of reaching $10K, and over $101K was raised. That 20-minute documentary was shot and completed, debuted at Comic-Con last month and you can now see it right here, for free, in full HD (with subtitles in a whole bunch of different languages), in its entirety…
Pretty good, no? If you’re a fan of Star Trek – especially classic Original Series-era Star Trek – you know immediately upon watching Prelude that these guys are doing it right. But… the goal now is to make the full 90-minute feature film. So a second Kickstarter is underway now to fund the first half of the production of the full film. The total cost of the production is estimated at $650K. Because Star Trek is owned by CBS, the goal isn’t to sell discs or sell the project. That means two things: First all the production money has to be raised by the fans, for the fans, thus the Kickstarter. Second: When and if the film gets made, you will all get to see it 100% completely for free.
A couple more important notes on this project…
There are currently 4 days left to go in this first full film Kickstarter, and the team has raised $321K so far. That not only exceeds the goal for this Kickstarter, it’s almost half of the budget they need to complete film. This money will go to renting the soundstage, building the sets, and funding pre-production. But remember: With 4 days left, there’s still time for you to contribute as a fan.
I’ve personally backed Axanar – many of the people involved are friends, so I know first-hand how hard they’re working, how dedicated they are, and how much they can accomplish if given the chance. And let me tell you something else: I’ve just recently read the latest draft of the full Star Trek: Axanar film script, written by Alec and Christian. It’s fantastic. This is 100% classic, pre-TOS era Star Trek. The script has also been given the blessing of no less an expert than David Gerrold (see here), writer of the classic TOS episode The Trouble with Tribbles, as well as episodes of The Animated Series and The Next Generation. Trust me… if you liked what you saw with Prelude to Axanar above, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
One last point: I have first-hand knowledge that the powers that be at CBS are closely monitoring the Star Trek: Axanar effort. If Axanar is successful, I believe it will go a long way towards proving to CBS that the Trek franchise still has a ton of life left in it left when it’s done right. Everyone involved in creating Axanar, and all of the fans backing it so far, have a tremendous sense of pride in that goal and are fully committed to making it happen. So if you’re a Trek fan, and you believe in that goal too, head on over to this link and kick in a few bucks of support. Get involved. Trust me, you will not regret it.
[Editor’s Note: I should have mentioned this in the original text, but it’s worth noting that while you will NOT be able to buy Star Trek: Axanar on disc when it’s done, if you support the Kickstarter at a certain level one of the many perks is that you’ll get a copy of the film on Blu-ray or DVD.]
All right, I’ll be back in a little bit with our regular Tuesday news column. Stay tuned!
- Bill Hunt