Posts Tagged ‘Comic-Con’



Fan Movie Winner Profile: Star Sports

StarWars.com Team | August 3, 2009

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.

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Milo Ventimiglia Inducted By 501st Legion

StarWars.com Team | July 31, 2009

In addition to the 501st Legion uniting Star Wars fans worldwide, it also likes to recognize those people who contribute their time and talents to the Star Wars community in special way. These people who support of the 501st and Star Wars fandom are called “Friends of the 501st Legion.”

During San Diego Comic-Con International 2009, one such person was recognized by the Southern California Garrison for his continual support of the 501st Legion as well as for his undying love for all things Star WarsHeroes actor Milo Ventimiglia.

Already well-known as a hardcore Star Wars fan as well as a fan of the 501st, Milo also supports real-life troops fighting overseas by working with the military veterans organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

Southern California Garrison XO Lesley Farquhar, who sponsored Milo’s induction, had this to say about their newest Friend of the 501st:

“Milo Ventimiglia has been a great Star Wars fan for years. Not only does he have fun with the lightsaber battles and props, but another similarity we have is our devotion to charity work. The 501st Legion is noted for its charity work for soldiers around the world, and this is something Milo has a passion for as well. Anyone with that kind of passion for charity and love for the genre fits right in! Now we just need to get him in armor!”

Milo was presented a custom plaque, coin and custom name badge commemorating his “Friend of the 501st” relationship with the 501st Legion. Keeping with tradition, the induction was a complete surprise to Milo who was ambushed by the Southern California garrison, and myself, at the end of his Top Cow comics panel at Comic-Con where he was promoting the two new comic titles his production company DiViDe Pictures is supporting — Rest and Berserker.

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Fan Movie Winner Profile: Saber

StarWars.com Team | July 30, 2009

As the winner for the Best Action and Audience Choice awards for the Fan Movie Challenge presented by Lucasfilm and Atom, Saber depicts a Cantina dream come true for many fanboys and fangirls alike. Starwars.com chats with Los Angeles-based filmmakers and stars of Saber — Clare Grant and Rileah Vanderbilt.

What is your background in film?

Clare: I actually studied theater in college at the University of Memphis, where I met a local director, Craig Brewer who encouraged me to gravitate more towards film by casting me in small roles in his local Memphis indy films.

Rileah: I never studied film in college, but I was very active in plays and sketches when I was younger. I’ve always wanted to be an actor as far back as I can remember!

What prompted you to make a Star Wars fan film? How has George Lucas and his films influenced your work?

Clare: Rileah and I met waiting tables at the Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. We were stunned when we realized we shared a deep love for Star Wars and many other geeky things. We would serve drinks and pasta to folks all night and daydream together about how awesome it would be to actually fight with lightsabers on film. Ya know, just for us, so we could watch it whenever we wanted to make ourselves happy.

George Lucas made the most influential movies for me and Rileah. I’m pretty sure she, like I, walk around narrating our daily lives with Star Wars and Indy theme music.

Rileah: Yes, this is true! Clare and I have always been very much into sci-fi and fantasy. When we first sat down and decided to do an online project together, Los Angeles was in the middle of a writers’ strike, there weren’t any movies or TV shows getting made. Clare and I were very frustrated and fed up with waiting around for people to give us opportunities.

So we decided to produce and act in our own project. Saber was a way for us to not only be in charge of our own destiny, but hopefully also a calling card to lead to other opportunities. When deciding what really spoke to us, Star Wars was a logical choice since we both have such a love for that universe.

Thanks to George Lucas, I’ve been a Star Wars fan ever since the first time I watched the movie back when I was a kid! Movies like Star Wars and Indiana Jones are what really prompted me to want to become an actress. I’ve always wanted to do movies that had the same action, adventure and fantasy that Star Wars had. On a more nerdy level, I named my cat Chewbacca (aka Chewie) after everyone’s favorite Wookiee, and I have a pretty nice replica Princess Leia slave costume.

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Comic-Con 2009: Clone Wars Voice Actors in Action

StarWars.com Team | July 30, 2009


(L to R: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Dave Filoni)

At San Diego Comic-Con International, Lucasfilm Director of Fan Relations Steve Sansweet chats with Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice actors James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi and Plo Koon), Dee Bradley Baker (all the clone troopers), and Tom Kane (Yoda, Clone Wars announcer) — as well as supervising director Dave Filoni — about their process, character building and why it’s so much to act like more than two characters at once. The cast also talks a little about their support of the original voice cast of Futurama reprising their roles during salary disputes.

How important is it to cast the right voice for an animated series?

Dave Filoni: At the end of the day we need actors to bring the characters to life with dimension and emotion. We’re not trying to mimic previous actors, but instead take nice notes of things from Ewan McGregor or Alec Guinness, but ultimately you have to be Obi-Wan Kenobi. For Dee with the clones, he had to invent how you do that kind of role and not just mimic a certain sound or tone.

What’s harder to do — voicing an established character like Obi-Wan Kenobi or coming up with a voice for a character that’s never spoken before like Plo Koon?

James Arnold Taylor: Well, there’s more pressure because you’re doing Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness and you combine them both and hopefully get something that the fans like. And if I’m doing it right, you’re not hearing me, or Ewan or Alec, you’re hearing Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Plo Koon was great though because it’s Dave Filoni’s favorite, and he was great to do the voice for. And I have to give Matt Wood a lot of credit too because he takes it and turns it into this whole other thing. There’s also more freedom in playing Plo Koon.

Dee, your clone voices are all alike and yet they’re not alike. You have to come up with individual personalities. An excellent example of this is in the season one episode “Rookies.” How do you make all of these characters seem different?

Dee Bradley Baker: It was very important for us to try and maintain distinct personalities and feel for each of the clones — which is something we try to do in all of the episodes. So we recorded each of the clones, straight through on their own — giving them different status, different ages, personality quirks. Giving them slight adjustments from the basic voice — a little younger, or a little gruffer. Then when you piece them all together they feel like they are distinct humans — which adds humanity to these heroic soldiers.

James Arnold Taylor: I always wonder if the clones sit around and do imitations of each other. Or have them talk to each others’ girlfriends. (laughs)

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Comic-Con 2009: The Empire Muggs Back

StarWars.com Team | July 29, 2009

If you were at San Diego Comic-Con International this year then you may have spotted our display cases featuring customized Star Wars Mighty Mugg art pieces for The Empire Muggs Back — a charity art show to raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The cases showed off Mighty Muggs from toy designers, graffiti artists, tattoo artists, comic book artists, Star Wars artists, Robot Chicken model makers, puppeteers, and artists, and even a few celebrities like Clone Wars director Dave Filoni, Fanboys director Kyle Newman, actress Jaime King, and The Go-Go’s Jane Wiedlin.

In addition to checking out the display, fans were able to pick up info cards and limited-edition pins (a different pin passed out each day of Comic-Con). All participating artists get pins and an Empire Muggs Back t-shirt.

Here’s some photos of The Empire Muggs Back at Comic-Con:


(The Clone Wars director Dave Filoni poses with his Aurra Sing and Cad Bane Mighty Muggs.)


(Robot Chicken and Shadow Machine’s Rebecca Van Cleve poses with her Ackbar cereal art.)

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Comic-Con 2009: Robot Chicken Skate Party!

StarWars.com Team | July 28, 2009

Boba Fett and Princess Leia on roller skates? Imperial Slow Skate? A dancing Robot Chicken? Now your spicy food-triggered dreams have come true thanks to the Robot Chicken Skate Party, which launched off their Robot Chicken on Wheels Tour at San Diego Comic-Con International.

Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, other Robot Chicken cast and crew, Clone Wars director Dave Filoni, members from Rebel Legion and the 501st Legion, roller derby girls, RC fans and Comic-Con attendees laced up their roller skates and danced the night away to an ’80s soundtrack that would put any John Hughes movie to shame.

VIDEO: Robot Chicken San Diego Skate Party!

In addition to roller skating, party goers could get their photo taken with a bigger than life-sized Robot Chicken mascot, as well as in front of the Robot Chicken backdrop with lightsaber props!

Here’s a few snapshots from the party:


(Seth Green in the house!)


(Robot Chicken‘s co-creator Matthew Senreich and Lucasfilm Animation’s Meagan Finnerty.)

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Atom.com Launches Operation Olivia

StarWars.com Team | July 28, 2009

From the Atom.com community site comes this recap of Saturday’s Star Wars Fan Movie panel with host Olivia Munn, including details and links for further information regarding Operation Olivia, a new way to get involved with the annual Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge:

Olivia Munn joined Lucasfilm’s Bill Gannon and past Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge winners Trey Stokes (Pink Five), Robert Reeves (Padme), and Chris Crawford (Star Wars Gangsta Rap) on Atom’s fan film panel Saturday night at Comic-Con. And the audience followed, with nearly 500 fans packing the room, many of them “OMFG” members from Munn’s fan club, eager to get a close-up look at their idol, discuss Munn’s well-known love of pie, and find out what the Playboy cover girl is looking for in an Operation Olivia contest pitch.

One of the OMFG members in attendance was fellow panelist Reeves, who won last year’s “George Lucas Selects” award for his fan film “Padme.” Reeves presented Munn a pie before the panel, but (sorry Robert) Munn’s pregnant producer, Kristen Rutherford, was overheard saying she was going to eat it before the panel was finished.

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As expected, Munn dominated the panel with tales of her love of Star Wars, and pie. The multitalented actress-sex symbol even indulged in a little beat-boxing for the audience, displaying some highly impressive skillz, before Gangsta Rap’s Crawford one-upped her with a brief but professional-caliber burst of his own.

Read the rest here. Photos courtesy of atom.com.

A Lotta Leias at Comic-Con 2009

StarWars.com Team | July 25, 2009

One of the best parts of being at San Diego Comic-Con is seeing all the costumes — whether it’s a ’70s disco Boba Fett or Star Trek ladies with ’60s bouffants, there’s always something worthy of a Twitpic.

This year, as every year, the Slave Leia Photo Op took center stage. When they weren’t making fanboys drool over at the Gentle Giant booth, they could be spotted gathering together in the Star Wars Pavilion. Luckily for you, Starwars.com was there making sure this get-together wouldn’t be missed.

Check out the rest of the photos here:
Slave Leias at Comic-Con 2009

Behind the Scenes on The Old Republic

StarWars.com Team | July 24, 2009

At E3 this year, LucasArts and BioWare gave not only their first live demos of The Old Republic  to press, but also released what has quickly become a fan-favorite trailer for the game. The reception has been fantastic. And as more information came out, fans got more excited. It should be no surprise – Knights of the Old Republic is one of the better loved Star Wars videogames, and it came out of this same partnership. Today, Jake Neri from LucasArts moderated a panel to give fans even more insight into exactly what goes into making a game that continually breaks boundaries.

On the panel were some of the senior people from the development team -  Hall Hood (senior writer, BioWare), Alexander Freed (managing editor, BioWare), Dallas Dickinson (senior content producer, BioWare), and Jeff Dobson (art director, BioWare). Jake wasted no time jumping directly into the questions – starting with Dallas who didn’t shy away from a few jokes. “Star Wars: The Old Republic is a Story-Driven Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game – that’s SDMMORPG for those who are Twittering right now. It’s set 3,000 years before the movies and 300 years after the events of the original Knights of the Old Republic.”

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Report from the Star Wars Spectacular 2009

StarWars.com Team | July 24, 2009

This Star Wars Spectacular report may be quite different from others because the Star Wars Spectacular is quite different this year. Joining Lucasfilm’s Head of Fan Relations Steve Sansweet on the stage to showcase some of the most exciting upcoming developments this year holds for Star Wars are G4’s Kevin Periera and Olivia Munn from “Attack of the Show.” This Hall H presentation will be broadcast on G4 tomorrow (Saturday, July 24, at 2pm), so those who want as thorough a recap as possible had best catch that show. Still, we want to keep you up to speed on the big beats, so here goes…

Star Wars: In Concert

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The panel presentation started “cold” — with no preamble, no vocal introduction. Just the lights going down, and the massive screen coming to life with a video introduction of Star Wars: In Concert (see the video here).

A surprise presence then took the stage — Anthony Daniels, known to legions of Star Wars fans as C-3PO. “Star Wars [music] has always been one of the key characters in the Star Wars Saga,” said Daniels. “As key as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. We’ve all loved John Williams music as an integral part of the movies. And so I was thrilled to be asked to host what I thought would be a concert, with film clips.”

Daniels described the premiere at the O2 Arena in London, where Star Wars: In Concert first took shape. “I stood on the empty stage looking at the thousands of seats that would soon be filled by fans and music lovers. It felt magical. It felt like home. I felt good.”

Continued Daniels, “This thing was not ‘a concert with clips.’ It was indescribable. It was massive. Not only was I going to retell one of the greatest stories ever. My words would cue all this overwhelming technology.  And all live… no retakes.  Of course being on stage I sort of missed the whole thing. It wasn’t until later, when I saw a recording of the show that I realized just how good it is. I knew it was different but not that it was so extravagantly spectacular and thrilling.”

Star Wars: In Concert begins its Worldwide Tour in Anaheim on October 1. Daniels pointed audience members to www.StarWarsinConcert.com for more information and ticketing.

Welcome Your Hosts

Steve Sansweet next took the stage, a familiar fixture to the Star Wars fan community and the Comic-Con experience. Welcoming the fans, Sansweet quickly described how this Spectacular was different this time round.  “This is the first time ever that a San Diego Comic-Con panel will be televised, but we like being first—just as Lucasfilm was the first film company to bring its story directly to fans with details and photos of a little space fantasy—way back in 1976!” Sansweet teased that next year is the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and that it’s the perfect opportunity for a Star Wars Celebration. “We don’t have yet have an exact date or place, but we are in the planning stage of Star Wars Celebration V, coming to your galaxy next summer.”

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He invited his co-hosts on to the stage, handing the baton to Kevin and Olivia (who had their hands filled with lightsabers as they dueled their way into stage). To show their devotion to Star Wars fandom, both showed up in costume. Olivia was decked out as sexy (but not Jabba’s slave) Princess Leia. “Now, nothing shows commitment more than strapping yourself into a metal bikini,” quipped Olivia. “But that outfit is – let’s call it: drafty. So I went in a different direction – what do you think?”

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