Fan films have been a part of culture even before movies had sound. But unfortunately for us, some studios hate fan films like Stormtroopers hate target practice.
CBS was one of those haters, particularly when it comes to its Star Trek property. However, thanks to some smooth talk from Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin and producer J.J. Abrams, fan films based on CBS properties will be getting guidelines.
Last year, a group of dedicated Star Trek fans created an IndieGogo campaign for their professional-quality fan film, Axanar. CBS slapped Axanar Productions with a lawsuit, much to the dismay of the production team and the film’s 7660 backers (including this geeky writer).
According to Abrams, who spoke at a fan event for the upcoming Star Trek Beyond at Paramount Studios on May 20, “[Justin Lin] was sort of outraged by this as a long-time fan. We started talking about it and realized this was not an appropriate way to deal with the fans… Fans of Star Trek are part of this world. So [Lin] went to the studio and pushed them to stop this lawsuit, and now, within the next few weeks, it will be announced this is going away and that fans would be able to continue working on their project.”
According to an Axanar Productions announcement, CBS and Axanar are coming to an agreement surrounding the lawsuit. Best of all, “CBS also tweeted that they are working on guidelines for all fan films – we’re anxious to see what those guidelines say and make sure we have a clear idea of what needs to be done to meet those expectations.”
This is great news for those of us who wish to make fan films. Guidelines will give us a clear understanding of what is allowed (use of an “official” soundboard, likely), and what is not allowed (earning money from the production, definitely). Fan films, which have been deliberately ignored by studios, will be getting a credibility that they’ve never had before.
Star Trek has had a history of high-quality fan films, such as Star Trek: Phase II and Star Trek: Hidden Frontier. Former Trek actors, such as George Takei, Walter Koenig, and Grace Lee Whitney have appeared in fan films in the past.
On the flip side of this fan coin, George Lucas has been encouraging of Star Wars fan films, and even held Star Wars fan film competition from 2002-2011, which was paused and restarted by Disney in 2015.
What are your favorite fan films? What do you think of this debate? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured Image Credit: TrekMovie.