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Fan film

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Fan film

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A fan film is a film or video inspired by a movie, television show, comic book or a similar source, created by fans rather than by the source's copyright holders or creators. Fan filmakers have traditionally been amateurs, but some of the more notable films have actually been produced by professional filmmakers as film school class projects or as demonstration reels. Fan films vary tremendously in length, from short faux-teaser trailers for non-existent motion pictures to rarer full-length motion pictures.

Contents

History

The technology required to make fan films was a limiting factor until relatively recently. In the 1960s UCLA film student Don Glut filmed a series of short black and white "underground films", based on adventure and comic book characters from 1940s and 1950s motion picture serials. Around the same time, artist Andy Warhol produced a film called Batman Dracula which could be described as a fan film. But it wasn't until the 1970s that the popularization of science fiction conventions allowed fans to show their films to the wider fan community.

Most of the more prominent science fiction films and television shows, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who, are represented in fan films. Because fan films generally utilize characters and storylines copyrighted and trademarked by the original filmmakers, they are rarely distributed commercially for legal reasons. They are exhibited by various other methods, including showings at comic book and science fiction conventions, and distribution as homemade videos, ranging from VHS videocassettes to CD-ROMs and DVDs.

Due to the rise of the Internet, more and more fan films are being made available online. Many examples of fan films can be found on websites such as TheForce.net which hosts many Star Wars fan films, as well as BatmanFanFilms.com which hosts dozens of Batman related fan films. Many comic book or "super-hero" related fan films are also listed by such sites as Comics2Film.com, BatmanFanfilms.com, and iFilm.

Authorized fan films

Until relatively recently, fan films operated under the radar of the commercial operations, but the explosion of fan productions brought about by afforable consumer equipment and animation programs, along with the ease of distribution created by the Internet has prompted several studios to create official policies and programs regarding their existence.

The highest profile of these programs has been Lucasfilm's Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards, which permits only documentary, mockumentary, and parody entries, while prohibiting serious fan fiction. Lucasfilm's limited support and sanction of fan creations is a marked contrast to the attitudes of many other copyright holders. Some owners, such as Paramount Pictures with Star Trek, or DC Comics with Batman and Superman, have been known to actively discourage the creation of such works by fans, or take action to prevent their exhibition.

Unlike many American TV shows, the British series Doctor Who allowed its writers to retain the rights to characters and plot elements that they created - most famously with Terry Nation's Daleks. While the BBC has never licensed the character of the Doctor for use in fan films, a number of the writers have consented to allow the monsters and supporting characters they created to be used in direct-to-video productions.

The creators of Red Dwarf sponsored a fan film contest of their own in 2005, with a fairly wide remit ranging from fictional stories set in the Red Dwarf universe to documentaries about the show and its fandom. The two winning shorts were a spoof documentary charting attempts to find funding for a Red Dwarf movie, and an animated short "episode" of the show. These two films were featured in their entirety as bonus features on the Series VII DVD release in November 2005, along with a montage of clips from the runner-up entries. This made them among the first fan films to be commercially released by a property's original creators.

Further reading

External links


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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.