Thursday, 2 March 2017

Eternal – Support a Former-PGS Student’s Star Wars Fan Film

by Tim Bustin OP

Hi – if you don’t know me, I used to write far too much for Portsmouth Point (just type ‘Tim Bustin’ into the search bar and you’ll see what I mean). I spent 11 full years at PGS and even stayed to teach here on my gap year – but even my connection with PGS still can’t compare to the strength of that between Star Wars and its fans.

When you’d expect Lucasfilm and Disney to keep an iron grip around the rights for their multibillion dollar name, we instead see a generous abundance of Star Wars fan films all over YouTube; new interpretations and stories that add to an already expansive universe. Fans use their short films to show the unseen Star Wars stories: Obi Wan’s time silently protecting a young Luke Skywalker on Tatooine or Kylo Ren’s turn to the Dark Side before The Force Awakens. And whilst many are just a fun flow of passion, a simple story with a cool lightsabre fight, the best expand on the Star Wars mythology, slotting their stories between the existing Star Wars films and lore, with ambitious storytelling.

And that’s just what we’re aiming for in our Star Wars fan film – Eternal.

As a student now at the University of Bristol this project is a student-made, Bristol-based Star Wars fan film, currently being bought to life in a collaboration between University of Bristol students and the filmschool Screenology.

Eternal is a bit different. It’s not only a more ambitious and longer film than most fan films, but we plan to cover a fascinating region of Star Wars mythology, rarely bought to life outside the videogames and internet canon – the Eternal Empire.

5000 years before the events of the Star Wars films we know and love, the Jedi and the Sith numbered equally in the thousands. One man – an Emperor, hundreds of years old – looked down upon the tireless wars of good against evil as petty squabbling, that wouldn’t be resolved without intervention. His Eternal Empire swept across the galaxy, with vast power and a unique perspective on the Force, conquering all Jedi and Sith in his wake.

Eternal’s story follows a powerful knight of the Eternal Empire, Senya Tirall, whose strong mind challenged the Emperor intellectually in ways few others could. After marriage, their children grew quickly and with dangerous power. The ancient Emperor caged his daughter’s mind to contain her and became distant towards his sons; unable to defend her children, Senya transferred as a knight far away from her family.

Eternal starts years later, on the battlefield between Jedi and Sith against the Eternal Empire, when Senya crosses paths with her older, powerful and bitter children.

Endless support is required in making any film, even our 20 minute fan film. Just writing the script for Eternal required scrawling through masses of Wookiepedia articles for research, making notes on hours of videogame cutscenes and getting the script proof-read by die-hard fans; and the script is just the first stage in the process.
Currently we also have a sick logo, original music composed and a production team coming together, but down the line we want to wholly capture the feel of the Eternal Empire, something rarely seen on film, so we’ll need to buy unique weapons – yellow lightsabres, lightsabre pikes, potentially even lightsabre daggers – as well as nailing the costuming, set location, casting, individually tailored fight choreography and so much more.

And for that, we need donations and support.

With Kickstarter, you can support this Star Wars fan film; pledging just £3 buys you a film credit, but higher amounts lead to extra goodies. Our goal is £750 – we don’t receive any money and none is given from you until that pledge goal is reached. If we don’t reach it, we receive zilch – so please give your support generously!

But we understand many of you are poor students, so you can also support us by liking our Facebook page.

We’re working heavily with Screenology, the Bristol-based filmschool whose students are taught in a range of practical filmmaking techniques, to bring this film to life and make it a success. Just as an example for the scale of this project, we have three visual effects people alone to animate lightsabres!

Last year, our Head of Production was the cinematographer for another Star Wars fan film, Fall of the Jedi, and he’s planning on bringing all his Star Wars experience along to one-up his own work this year, in Eternal.

Star Wars is a strong community and we want to build something similar around this film. So please, teachers and pupils of PGS, help support a passionate film project. Support us and support Star Wars in any way that you can. May the Force be with you!

Eternal is set for production in April 2017. Release is expected in July 2017. Eternal is non-profit and will be made publically free to view on YouTube on release.

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