From Troops to Pink Five, there’s a rich tradition of making of Star Wars fan films. Indeed, LucasFilm has so actively encouraged this niche of filmmaking that it might as well be a genre unto itself by now. Every year, for the past several years, the company’s put on a fan film celebration, awarding shorts in a variety of categories and media. This year’s crop ranges from a funny animated farce set during Ben Kenobi’s “lost years” on Tatooine to a journalistic doc on the rise of “Jedi” as a religion. The top winner is a tense drama told from the perspective of a Stormtrooper, but there are a bunch of other shorts in the awards circle which are just as intriguing.
If you thought Finn’s evolution from FN-2187 in the Force Awakens went by too quickly, this short lingers much more on how the enemy operates in that long-ago, far-away galaxy. The Filmmaker Select winner, titled TK-436: A Stormtrooper Story, delves into the concerns, fears, and sacrifices of even the lowliest footsoldier.
Han Solo has often been described as a “space pirate,” and such parallels play out even more overtly for the smuggler crew in The Sable Corsair, a tale of lost treasure and survival which won the contest’s Audience Choice award.
Both Rey and the audience alike were left with a ton of questions when Luke Skywalker made his dramatic re-introduction at the end of the Force Awakens. However, in The Big Question, winner of the Best Animation award, we see very vividly how tedious it’d be to actually answer every one of those little concerns.
Like a video essay you’d see at Mental Floss, Best Non-Fiction winner Force or Faith explores a number of angles on how the Jedi Order resembles a real religion and how some fans might even make it actually function like one in the real world.
Star Wars‘ magic only increases over the years, as young viewers keep coming to discover it through their families, and bond over their mutual love. Spirit of Fandom winner Star Wars: Generations charmingly presents such communal fandom as being not all-that-dissimilar to a master/padawan relationship.
18 years is an awfully long time for a decorated Jedi Master to just be strolling around a desert planet. Best Comedy winner, Ben in the Desert – Jawas are Bad Neighbors, reveals all the ridiculous shenanigans Obi-Wan got into while watching Luke’s upbringing from afar.
Inserting new characters into this galaxy from somewhere very far afield creatively, Best Visual Effects winner Star Malice Wars is a delightful feast for the eyes and a real treat for the imagination.
Putting aside classifications, which shorts do you personally like most? Are there any winners from previous years’ Fan Film Awards who still deserve our attention? Drop all your picks in the talkback.
Featured Image Credit: Samtubia & Samgoma Edwards