At this year’s Star Wars Fan Movie Awards presented by Lucasfilm and Atom at San Diego Comic-Con International, Star Wars: Unlimited Power won the George Lucas Selects Award.
Starwars.com chats with Los Angeles-based filmmaker Eliot Sirota about his award-winning film Star Wars: Unlimited Power.
What prompted you to make a Star Wars fan film? How has George Lucas and his films influenced your work?
Star Wars is what started me on my career path. From the moment I saw it at the tender young age of 5, I knew I wanted to tell stories, create special FX and make movies. So I suppose that’s one of many ways that George Lucas has influenced me! If I were to list all of them, I would have to write a book! The short and sweet version is that he made something no one else had imagined possible at the time and pioneered a whole new way of making movies, television and media. He saw that art and technology were two sides of the same coin and could be used together to create something that transcended both of them. Without “Uncle” George leading the way, many other great movies would never have been possible.
As far as what prompted me to a make a Star Wars film, the original trilogy films are still my all time favorite movies, and what Star Wars fan wouldn’t want to play in and expand on that world? I think I always wanted to make a Star Wars fan film, and maybe even someday have a hand in an actual Lucasfilm Star Wars project!
What is the back story regarding your film?
I had several ideas for what I wanted to explore. The background characters, creatures and vehicles in Star Wars are so amazing, and yet, to a character in the Star Wars universe, they’re just everyday things that are taken for granted. The amazing technology would have to be manufactured and advertised so that the intergalactic consumer could know what products were available and decide what to buy. That led me to the idea of doing a commercial. I just thought it would be funny to see how blue milk or evaporators would be advertised. But far more interesting than those items, to me at least, are droids.
I love the droids in Star Wars. They’re meant to be simple tools, but they all have their own personalities, quirks and even heroic qualities. We spend 6 movies getting to know two droids very well, but what about all the other unmentioned metallic masses? Especially the power droid we’ve all come to affectionately known as Gonk? And a commercial for a brand new power droid would have just been to clean and crisp and I found the idea of a used Gonk commercial particularly funny, like a bad used car commercial.
That’s basically where the idea came from. I suppose I was inspired a bit by Robot Chicken as well because they often explore similar “mundane” and yet hysterical ideas in fantastical worlds, especially Star Wars. Having the droid dance was based on the idea that it would be dancing to “The Power” by SNAP! but as the project moved forward I found it best to go another route.