Starwars.com chats with Hawaii-based filmmaker Blake Cousins 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?
Brent and I are known as the Cousins Brothers Productions. We have been making films for over two years. We broke into theaters with our blockbuster hit The Night Marchers series breaking box office records in the state of Hawaii! We also won the John Carpenter Award for our movie Slaughter Day in the Video Review Magazine Shoot off! Our most recent film is an apocalyptic horror called The Rising Dead — it’s a zombie movie that takes place at the end of the world, currently being distributed by York Entertainment.
What prompted you to make a Star Wars fan film? How has George Lucas and his films influenced your work?
With Brent’s 3-year-old boy Cameron Cousins, we decided that he loved Star Wars so much that we would test his skills with a lightsaber. Turned out he was fantastic, so we went ahead and did three feature shorts of Chronicles of Young Skywalker! Growing up in the 1970’s and watching Star Wars for the first time it changed our life in a way that would lead us down the road to making film!
What is the backstory regarding your film? Where did you get your idea for your film?
We came up with the concept of what would young Luke Skywalker and a teenage Han Solo do if confronted by a dark Sith? It turned out to be a real adventure! Having a 100-year-old sugar plantation in our backyard on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii would be a perfect back drop for our film!
What are some of the technical aspects of your film? What did you shoot and edit with?
Technical aspects to making this film was first dealing with a 3-year-old child and getting him to do his action maneuvers and facial expressions. Having a little bit of Chocolate Chug Milkshake was one of the incentives for young Cameron to cooperate with the film! We shot the episode with a Sony PD150 and edited with After Effects PRO 4.1 (a super old version) — two weeks, two hours a day for filming, and another week of post to complete.
What were some of the challenges and surprised that happened to you as you were writing/directing/filming your movie?
The challenge of making this film for one was getting to the location, and dealing with wardrobe. The surprise was how Cameron was so adaptable to direction and getting into position for each take. Sometimes it took over 20 takes just to get it right! Patience was with young Cameron on this shoot.
Who were all the principle people in helping get the film made? Who would you thank if your film won an Academy Award?
Brent and I were the driving force behind this film. Being that Cameron is only 3 years-old and he was able to pull it off, all thanks would go to him and George Lucas for the inspiration!
Why do you think recognizing fan films is important?
I think it’s important because George Lucas will not be able to direct all Star Wars future episodes, so it’s a great idea to keep an eye out for upcoming filmmakers to take over the role as director. The Chronicles of Young Skywalker was produced for only five dollars the cost of the milkshake, if you could imagine what we could produce with a million dollars the sky is the limit!
Do you have aspirations to make films as a career? Or is this simply a labor of love?
We at the Cousins Brothers will continue to make films, and if were lucky we could make a series on what young Luke Skywalker and Han Solo did during there childhood in the Star Wars universe!
If you could meet George Lucas, what would you say?
We have had the pleasure of meeting George Lucas back in the ’90s at his favorite Beach resort in Hawaii! Brent and I were lifeguards at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel; that’s were he and Spielberg came up with the concept for Indiana Jones. My question for Lucas would be if it’s too expensive to do a live-action Star Wars TV series could you try and let the Cousins Brothers do an episode! I’m sure we could keep it well under budget!
Additional comments about your fan film making experience?
Having George Lucas view our film is an experience in itself. When Brent and I were 5 years-old in 1975 and watching Star Wars for the first time, then 35 years later that George will be watching our movie — WOW! Our hope is that we can bring a little bit of that magic feeling for George and the fans! May the Force be with you!
Watch all the fan movie winners here:
Atom: Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge