Atom and Lucasfilm once again filled a massive ballroom at Comic-Con International with fans eager to see who the champions are in the 7th Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge. The event began with Steve Sansweet, Head of Fan Relations, taking the stage.
“Things change so rapidly in the media and online world that the fact that Atom has been around for a decade is a tribute to its flexibility,” said Sansweet. “Star Wars and its creator has always had a sense of humor and a willingness to let those inspired by Star Wars to play in the galaxy’s biggest sandbox.”
Just before the ceremony started, though, Sansweet screened a “last minute” entry supposedly hand-delivered to him moments before: A crude — yet hilarious — collection of lightsaber battles by Dino DeMilio and, from “Heroes,” Milo Ventimiglia.
“When Star Wars came out 31 years ago, there was no Internet, or even personal computers, but fans wanted — needed — an outlet for their creative juices. Back then, there were fanzines and an almost instant-cult parody film called Hardware Wars, and years later, a not so small professional parody film, Spaceballs… And then came Troops, Kevin Rubio’s breakthrough fan movie, and a whole new generation was inspired to use the digital tools that had been developed by George Lucas and Steve Jobs. Unlike some companies, who shall remain nameless here, who don’t like fans messing around with their properties, Lucasfilm encouraged it. After all, George Lucas is an independent filmmaker like some of you in the audience.”
The following are the winning entries in the 2008 Fan Movie Challenge:
Best Parody: Michael Ramova, for Star Wars Grindhouse, Don’t Go In The Endor Woods. (Award presented by Tina Santamaros, the Acquisition Manager for Atom.)
Best Comedy: Will Carlough, for Paraphrase Theater (Award presented by Mary Franklin, Events Manager for Lucasfilm)
Best Creature / Character Makeup: Lou Klein, for Contract of Evil (Award presented by Josh Kushins, Lucasfilm Publicity Manager)
Best Short Subject: Oliver Jones, for The Empire Strikes Back in 60 Seconds (Award presented by Director of Lucas Online, Bill Gannon)
Best Animation: Jimmy “Mac” McInerney, Kay Minckiewicz, Mark Minckiwewicz, Jason Swank for George Lucas Hip-Hop Awards (Award presented by Dave Filoni, Director of Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Best Visual Effects: Ryan Wieber and Michael Scott for Ryan vs. Dorkman 2 (Award presented by Trey Stokes and Renee O’ Conner)
Audience Choice Award: Jimmy “Mac” McInerney, Kay Minckiewicz, Mark Minckiwewicz, Jason Swank for George Lucas Hip-Hop Awards (Award presented by Fanboys Director Kyle Newman)
George Lucas Selects Award: Robert Reeves for Padmé. (Award introduced by Lucasfilm Vice President of Marketing, Distribution and Online, Doug Yates, and via video, George Lucas)