Photos/Artwork by Mike LoVerme, Mike Cirelli, and Jeff Capone
As the winner for the Best Parody in the Fan Movie Challenge presented by Lucasfilm and Atom at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International, Star Sports ponders what would happen if your favorite Star Wars characters fought against each other through dodgeball, baseball, hockey, basketball, football, soccer and other high school sports.
Starwars.com chats with New Hampshire-based filmmaker Jeff Capone.
What is your background in film? Did you make films as a youngster/teen?
As a teenager I worked in a video store, and while I was in college I managed a movie theater, so I suppose you could say I was involved with “The Industry” at the distribution level for many years. When I was growing up, digital video technology wasn’t as accessible as it is today so I didn’t get my hands on actual movie making equipment until I attended film school at Emerson College.
Appropriately enough, my first short film was a crudely animated, farcical sequel to Return of the Jedi starring my vintage action figure collection entitled Star Wars: Episode VII: The Rebel Empire. After graduating with a B.S. in Communications, I then went on to earn my master’s degree in Education. Shortly thereafter, I landed my first teaching job in Technology Education and Video Production at Merrimack High School in New Hampshire where I’ve been working since 2003 to build and expand the MHS Videography program.
MHS Videography is the television production program at Merrimack High School in southern New Hampshire. Since 2004 we have been creating everything from feature length movies to promotional videos for the high school as well as for Merrimack TV’s Community and Education Channels. Our continuing goal is to help students develop professional communications skills and gain real-world experience in media production at the high school level.
What prompted you to make a Star Wars fan film? How have George Lucas and his films influenced your work?
George Lucas’ vision demonstrated, for me, the power of imagination above all else. Films like American Graffiti and Star Wars tapped in to what younger generations were really feeling and experiencing, then and now. They captured the wonder and the potential for adventure inherent in every apparently “ordinary” life.
Lucas’ filmmaking process also proved that groundbreaking and lasting movie experiences like these can be created with limited resources. Books and documentaries about the making of Star Wars and his other movies instilled me with a mindset for innovation from the moment first I got my hands on a 16mm Bolex camera, to the present with my supercharged MacBook Pro.
His ongoing commitment to technological innovation at the professional level has resulted in the creation of tools I and my students use to make our movies today. His endorsement of fan films and their creators has paved the way for now-classic projects like Troops, Pink Five, and Ryan Vs. Dorkman. These pioneers of fan filmdom showed that amateur filmmakers could also make effective and entertaining movies with a great idea and a minimal budget.
With Lucas’ support, fan films have emerged to find larger audiences and a renewed sense of value and legitimacy. It’s become a respectable art form that takes creators who are typically found in the “outer rim territories” of the filmmaking world and suddenly thrusts them into the galactic core of the Star Wars magic. All of these factors were monumental in motivating us to develop our own brand of Star Wars fan film.