Renaissance (Redux) is produced entirely by Chilean people, shot in Chilean locations and inspired by George Lucas’ Star Wars. Using only a video camera and domestic computers, the Estudio 19 and Droi-D crew intended to demonstrate that science fiction is possible in countries like Chile, without exorbitant budgets. Starwars.com chats with Chile-based filmmaker Inti Carrizo-Ortiz about his award-winning film.
What is your background in film? Did you study it in college? Did you make films as a youngster/teen?
I went to film school here in Chile, at the ARCOS Institute of Art and Communications; but I made my first serious short film at age 17, using two old VCRs and a Mono cassette radio for editing. So I guess I took an early major in “Making Movies with Nothing at All;” a philosophy I stubbornly maintained during film school and beyond, and of course, with Renaissance (Redux). When the story is right, imagination is always the biggest budget asset.
What prompted you to make a Star Wars fan film? How has George Lucas and his films influenced your work?
Star Wars is what got me into movies; and movies is what keeps me going. It has been such a huge inspiration, I just needed to do something about it — to give something back, no matter how little, to that wonderful universe of crazy old wizards and men twisted and evil. And soon I discovered I wasn’t alone.
What is the backstory regarding your film? Where did you get your idea for your film?
We wanted to tell a story. Nowadays we can all mimic a lightsaber effect, so the real trick is to try and make them wield it for something worth it! And I thought: “Star Wars is about good versus evil. But good (and evil for that matter) is a point of view, so why always must villains need to be so dark and sinister? Can’t they just be good men with their own point of view?”
So it came the story of a villain which some would consider a hero, and heroes that many would think of as villains. That, and the great inspiration of the artwork from many great Star Wars artists such as Dave Dorman, made the basis of Renaissance (Redux).
What are some of the technical aspects of your film? What did you shoot and edit with?
Our film is very humble, technically speaking. We used a MiniDV SD tape Camera and home PC to work the post-production, so everything took a great amount of time. We didn’t have the resources at the time to shoot on High-Def, or have a decent lighting or sound equipment, but what we lacked in money, we tried to make up with imagination and hard work — designing our own original characters and ships, enjoying the adventure of making a Star Wars flick from scratch and with so little to work with, and having a lot of fun. It was a hell of a ride!
What were some of the challenges and surprised that happened to you as you were writing/directing/filming your movie?
The greatest challenge we faced was the fact that sci-fi and fantasy are practically non-existent genres in our country’s cinema, so it was very hard to convince people that we were able to do this little space opera adventure in Chile, and was even harder after we revealed our budget. But the greatest surprise was the amazing reaction the audiences gave us once they saw it. That told us that the audience here in Chile is ready and eagerly waiting for greater things to happen.
Who were all the principle people in helping get the film made? Who would you thank if your film won an Academy Award?
I had the best crew in the whole world working with me — film lovers, sci-fi lovers, Star Wars lovers — all of them so talented, skillful and creative. They worked for nearly three years to get the film done, with no money involved whatsoever. None of this would have been possible without them. I’m really looking forward to have them on my side again, blasting into a new adventure!
Why do you think recognizing fan films is important?
Fan fiction is a very creative and noble form of art, because it implies two essential topics: pure influences and pure passion. In a way, every filmmaker is a fan filmmaker, taking from what he/she loves, recreating what made them tickle inside a movie theater many years ago. Maybe even Star Wars is, to some extent, George Lucas’ “Flash Gordon fan film with an (awesome) twist.” So recognizing that pure creative effort, many times done with no profit but the sole satisfaction to create, is not only important, but natural and very necessary!
Do you have aspirations to make films as a career? Or is this simply a labor of love?
I’ve done many short films in my equally short career, and now I’m currently working in what could become my first sci-fi feature film. No, it’s not Star Wars related, but there will definitely be a 1138 around there somewhere! I expect to have many of the crew of “Renaissance (Redux) in it, hopefully with enough resources this time to make it sound and look good!
If you could meet George Lucas, what would you say?
Just “Thank You.” Thank you for sharing your space dreams with us, for persevering when everything seemed impossible, and for letting us play in you playground for a while! If I someday can manage to produce someone in the audience the slightest fraction of what you made me feel with your work, I’ll die with a big smile.
Additional comments about your fan film making experience?
Always rely on your team. Money helps, but talent and good ideas you can’t buy. And always, always remember the fun of it. Don’t loose sight of why you do what you do, and enjoy it!
Watch all the fan movie winners here:
Atom: Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge