Star Trek fan films have been around over four decades. They’ve come in all shapes, sizes, and varying levels of quality. In all that time, the copyright owners of Star Trek have remained quiet. So why has one fan film elicited a lawsuit that has the fan community in an uproar?
Fan films for genre properties are extremely popular. You can probably find fan films for every sci-fi, superhero, or fantasy-based intellectual property from games to films to TV shows. And one of the most popular sci-fi franchises of all time, Star Trek, has one of the highest numbers of fan films on the internet. One of the most popular was a 21-minute short released in 2014 called “Prelude to Axanar.” It has won over 45 film festivals and racked up almost 2.5 million views as of this podcast. So popular was this short, that the filmmakers raised a record-setting $1.2 million dollars from two crowdfunding campaigns to make a feature film version.
Then in December of 2015, the filmmakers behind Axanar were hit with a full-blown lawsuit from CBS and Paramount, something they’ve never done in the 40+ years that fan films have been around. Why now has the “sleeping giant” awakened?
Today on the show we talk to Robert Meyer Burnett, the director of the film (which has not yet begun production due to the suit). He talks about it origins and insight into their side of this argument.
We also hear from Richard “RB” Botter, CEO and founder of Stage32, whose connections to the Hollywood machine give him an insightful POV. Show regulars JD and Yolanda Cochran chime in as well. And show co-producer Chris Huslage is back to give us some history about fan films.
Support Axanar Productions
Hop on over to AxanarProductions.com if you would like to support this film and the team behind it.
Share Your Story with Us
For season 2 of the show, we’re looking for filmmakers with stories about overcoming great challenges to complete their projects. Whether or not you succeeded or failed, if you think there’s a juicy and educational story with sharing, we want to know about it. The first six people we pick will each get a free music license from show sponsor Song Freedom. Just email email@example.com and put “My Story” in the subject line.
Music in this Episode
Music was curated from FreeMusicArchive.org. In order of appearance, the music in this episode:
- Windy Bluffs by Visager (CC BY)
- Airship by Visager (CC BY)
- Stellar by Mindseye (CC BY)
- Ho Hey by the Lumineers. Courtesy of Song Freedom. All rights reserved.
- Cylinder Eight by Chris Zabriskie (CC BY)
- Village Dreaming by Visager (CC BY)
- The Last Slice of Pecan Pie by Josh Woodward (CC BY)
- Bathed in the Light by Kevin MacLeod (CC BY)
- The Final Road by Visager (CC BY)
- Age of Feminine by Kellee Maize (CC BY)
Click here to learn about Creative Commons licenses and meanings.
Legally License Music for Your Production
If you need to legally license music for your productions, from every genre (including mainstream music) look no further than Song Freedom. Click here to unlock a one-time Standard Gold Level license worth $30.
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If you have a question about the movie business you’d like answered, or if you just want to drop us a line to say “Hi”, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, use the “Send Voicemail” button at the bottom of our website to leave a voicemail message. Follow Ron on Twitter @DareDreamerFM, or follow the show @RadioFilmSchool. Join the discussion at facebook.com/radiofilmschool.