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Fan Films and Ultra Low Budget Movies

There’s a thriving “Fan Film” community on the Internet, and some of their output is very good indeed.

I almost said “surprisingly” good, but that would be a disservice to the people who make these. I just read a report about the fan film “The Hunt For Gollum” ( BBC News ) and, watching the trailer, you could almost believe it was a Peter Jackson production. Even their lead actor looks like Viigo Mortenson (Aragorn).

So, I started browsing. And there’s a lot out there.

These films are typically independent movies made on a microscopic budget. The people involved tend to give their time for free, and all help and support is organised via the Internet. Costs are incurred mostly for equipment and makeup / costume / special effects. Luckily CGI shots are much cheaper to make these days with talented amateurs able to contribute for home – just see Star Wars: Revelations .

These are movies by fans for fans. The quality can vary dramatically but the fact remains that its amazing they get completed at all. The legality is a little dubious, but most have the understanding – if not the blessing – of copyright holders as long as they are non-profit.

There’s a big directory of fan films at . Here you can see homages and tributes to everything from Ghostbusters to Buffy, via MacGyver, CSI, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and even Sonic The Hedgehog! Predictably, it’s the more popular franchises that are attempted – so there’s quite a few Star Wars, Star Trek, James Bond and superheroes like Spiderman and Superman.

It’s worth noting that a lot listed above are unfinished, in production, or just plain – I hate to say it – bad. But hey, they’re created for fun, or for love of the original. Many are student movies, some are amazingly professional with quality actors contributing, and you can see most online. Running times vary, but it seems 0:30 to 1:00 are the norm.

Other sites worth checking out are:

Indie channel at

Atom Films Originals

And of course a search at Google or more specifically, Google Video will throw up a lot more, including specific sites catering for, say, Indie Fan Films and StarWars Fan Films .

Finally, some more choices? Try these:

Starship Farragut (Classic Star Trek)

Escape From City 17 (Half Life 2 – Yay!)

Moonraker ’78 (Bond)

The Greatest Fan Film Of All Time (Lol)