Fan films are an integral part of geek culture, and a form of fan labour, or one of the activities that fans like to indulge in. Fan films have been around for almost as long as movie franchises have been around, with the first fan film being made back in 1926. Star Wars and the Matrix were two franchises with notable fan film scenes. Trekkies went ahead and made their own fan series, entire TV shows with episodes and story arcs. Until recently, most fan films were made by amateur filmmakers, and the quality also showed. However, of late, with an increasing amount of technology being available to the common people, the quality of fan films have also increased. A result is a number of fan films with production values that are nearly as good as the films that roll out of Hollywood. Fan films are so good because they are pure fan service, without the commercial considerations needed for reaching a wider audience. Here are some of the best fan films out there.
Voldemort: Origins of the Heir
This film is set after the Fantastic Beasts movies and before the Harry Potter movies. Grindelwald has just been defeated, and Voldemort is going around creating his Horcruxes. The film introduces three new characters, who are also the heirs of the Hogwarts founders, who pledge to make the world a better place.
The wand duels are extremely well choreographed, and the special effects are top notch. The film was originally made in Italian, and then dubbed into English. This is a very well told story, with a stunning twist in the end.
Prelude to Axanar
Set in the Star Trek universe, this movie is a proof of concept, a demonstration of what a well-trained crew of filmmakers can produce on a low budget. The film was the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, and the production quality is out of this world.
The framing of the story is similar to a documentary, where various characters tell their stories in an interview format. However, there are still plenty of spaceships, epic battles, and of course, awesome explosions. The production crew is in the process of making a longer film, called Axanar.
This is astar wars fan film that is a lot of fun to watch. The film was made through crowdsourcing. The Empire Strikes back was split into 15 second long bits, and fans of the series from around the world were asked to claim a clip and shoot 15 seconds, using whatever resources they had at their disposal.
Puppets, claymation, animation, and live action all mashed up together makes this a truly surreal experience. The Star Wars Uncut project is going ahead and making the other movies as well, and you can participate!
The Hobbit: The Tolkien Edit
Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy took quite a few departures from the relatively short book. The Tolkien Edit is a fan cut, that takes all the three movies and compresses it into one four hours long movie, that tells the story as close to the original Tolkien book as possible.
The filler scenes, the love triangle, skirmishes between orcs, and the White Council taking on the Necromancer at Dol Goldur have all been thrown out. The result is a crisp story that moves along as fast as a sledge drawn by Rhosgobel Rabbits. Check out the official site.
We know this is the secondstar wars movie on the list, but it simply had to be included considering how good it is. TIE Fighter is a short film that shows an engagement between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance, through the viewpoint of a TIE Fighter pilot.
The animation is in the style of 80s Japanese Anime, and the Empire never looked better on screen. The animation is supported by a rocking score. It took over four years to create this animation, and the only real problem with it is how short it is.
Portal: No Escape
Set in the Portal universe, the entire film is set within the premises of Aperture Laboratories, with plenty of references to the games. The protagonist is kept in solitary confinement for a long time and then comes across a portal gun.
Once she gets the gun though, things get really, really exciting. We have only seen the portal gun being used in first person perspective. Seeing it in use as a part of a choreographed action sequence, along with the stunts and camera movements that come along with it, is a totally different experience.
Truth in Journalism
In this fan film, the story of Eddie Brock is told in the style of the Belgian mockumentary comedy, Man Bites Dog. The film is shot in black and white, has jerky camera movements, and is the perfect method to tell the story of Venom.
There is actually some pretty good VFX work that has gone into the production, which only improves the experience. The film keeps you on your toes and goes into some unexpected places. Some of the sequences may look a bit comical and over the top, but it only adds to the charm.