Star Trek: Axanar

Here's another article I just posted over at Home Cinema Addict. This one's about the independent fan-fiction production called Axanar which will be filmed later this year. Shooting was originally scheduled for May but has been pushed back till October. The production is being financed by a Kickstarter project. The initial goal was to raise $100,000 but over $650,000 was donated. Donations are still being sought and they're now looking at spending around $800,000 on the 90-minute feature. Donations are still being sought and most of the perk packages are still available.

I've been a Star Trek fan since I was a kid. But my interest went off the boil following JJ Abrams "reimagining" of the original series in his recent movies. If you've read my review of JJ's recent outing (Star Trek Into Darkness - The Worst Star Trek Movie Ever!) you'll know I don't have a high opinion of the hatchet job he did on Trek. But at least he's not involved in the 3rd reboot movie, so that bodes better for it.

There's been quite a few fan-produced outings for Star Trek, notably the Star Trek: Phase II episodes. These are amateur dramatics at best though, with non-professional actors, iffy plots and low-budget effects. But that these and other fan productions exist at all shows that there's an ongoing interest in the Star Trek universe, particularly the time period of The Original Series.

So, while I was not paying Trek any attention last year, I completely missed that there's a new, independent Star Trek production under way. It was announced in June or July of 2014 and for some reading this, will be old news.

However, if this flew under your radar, the new movie is called Star Trek: Axanar and is set during the 4 years war between the Klingon Empire and The Federation just before the commissioning of the Constitution class starships that James T. Kirk would eventually command.

This will be a full length, professionally produced independent movie which explores the Federation/Klingon war and the historic battle won by Captain Garth of Izar, who served as a source of inspiration to one James T. Kirk (Garth originally appeared in the TOS Series 3 episode Whom Gods Destroy).

in order to "sell" the idea of the movie, a Kickstarter project for a short intro film about the war was started. The original goal was to get $10,000 in donations to produce the short, In fact, over $100,000 was pledged and $80,000 of that was was used to create the 21-minute Prelude to Axanar pseudo-documentary below.

According to the producers:

This 21-minute short film, Prelude to Axanar, premiered Saturday, July 26th, 2014, at San Diego Comic Con, and features Richard Hatch, Tony Todd, Kate Vernon, JG Hertzler and Gary Graham -- Gary reprises his role of Soval from "Enterprise." The makeup and hair was designed by Academy Award winner Kevin Haney and Star Trek veteran Brad Look of Makeup Effects Lab in Hollywood. Top that off with the amazing visual effects of Tobias Richter of The Light Works, and sound by Academy Award winner Frank Serafine, and the result is Prelude to Axanar: something unlike anything you have ever seen before. We have our loyal donors to thank for this and we couldn't be more grateful!

Again, quoting the producers:

Axanar is the independent production that proves a feature-quality Star Trek film can be made on a very modest budget -- approximately $80,000 in the case of the short film that you just watched -- and outside of the studio system. Filmed in Hollywood, this effort, our short proof-of-concept film to show what our professional and highly talented cast and crew can deliver, was made possible by generous donations to our first Kickstarter effort by fans like you. Prelude to Axanar is told in a retrospective documentary fashion, but the follow-up feature-length film that is currently in production will unfold as a traditional film that is told chronologically would. You are fans of Star Trek. We are fans of Star Trek. Together we can make amazing things happen!

The remainder of the money raised went into pre-production on the full-length movie and a new Kickstarter project for that was started. The goal amount for the project was $100,000 but so far, some $638,000 has been raised.

Based on the short, the full-length feature looks very promising.

The official description of the movie states:

Axanar takes place 21 years before the events of “Where no Man Has Gone Before” (the first TOS episode). It tells the story of Garth of Izar, the legendary Starfleet captain who is Captain Kirk’s hero and the role model for a generation of Starfleet officers. Garth charted more planets than any other Captain and was the hero of the Battle of Axanar. His exploits are required reading at Starfleet Academy.

This is the story of Garth and his crew during the Four Years War, the war with the Klingon Empire that almost tore the Federation apart, and whose resolution solidified the Federation and allowed it to become the entity we know in Kirk’s time.

It is the year 2245, four years into the war with the Klingons...

In a TV landscape swamped with angst-ridden teens populating worlds with vampires, werewolves and other assorted supernatural beings and zombie/plague/invasion/post-apocalyptic fare, Axanar is a welcome change for those starved of space-based fiction. We've turned inward as a society in the last 10-15 years and it's good to know that some till have a vision that mankind has a destiny in outer space!

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