Sunday, November 9, 2014

"The Force Awakens," The Fan Film

There were a few moments, immediately after starwars.com announced that "The Force Awakens" had completed principal photography, when the internet hadn't caught on. Minutes later, the title of Episode VII was all over the news. Before that, though, the title would have elicited different results.

One was a forum post on theforce.net, where user "Queen Gimmedala" guessed the title in 2012.

Another was a fan video, filmed in Vancouver in 2005. A brief trailer and 50-minute film were created by videographer Dan Lalonde and his friends.

 

I talked to Lalonde this week about the title and his homebrewed movie, in which a wealthy man from modern day Vancouver discovers that he has Jedi powers.

"All I remember about the title is it just came to me," Lalonde said. "When I got it I kept it. There was no big searching for the name....I imagine the title means [in Episode VII] what mine means. The Force hasn't been used in a long time and it erupts or awakens."

Lalonde found out through Facebook that his movie shared a name with next December's official Star Wars sequel. "I found out today on my Facebook news feed and its kinda surreal and awesome knowing until its released I will see that name everywhere."

"I'm surprised that they used the title," he said, because a quick online search would have brought up Lalonde's film.

Titles of works cannot be copywritten in the United States, but Lucasfilm has a history of supporting and acknowledging fan film with events like the Star Wars Fan Film Awards.

"People are saying I should get money from this," Lalonde said. Instead, he sees the movie as a demo reel for his dream job. "But the most I want is to talk to J.J. Abrams, visit Skywalker Ranch and get a job with the man himself."

For now, Lalonde is hoping his video will go viral. On YouTube, he said he takes a less serious look at its measure of success: "Thanks to everyone who commented. The crazier they are the more hilarious it is to read...If you guys can share this on your wall or the article on Yahoo and help it go more viral to make it even more ridiculous." 

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