A new "Star Trek" fan funding campaign has just hit warp speed.
The crowdfunding campaign for "Star Trek: Axanar" — a fan-funded "Star Trek" film — has raised more than $200,000, donated through the website Kickstarter, blowing well past the original goal of $100,000. The campaign comes on the heels of another wildly successful Kickstarter launched by the team earlier this year. The budget for the film is about $600,000, and other fundraising campaigns are possible, said the executive producer of the project.
"They love what we’re doing," said Alec Peters, the executive producer of the project, of the fans who have followed "Axanar"for the past few months. "We get so much positive feedback. It inspires us to be better, and whenever we release something, they tell us something else they’d like to see." [Photos from 'Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar']
The Kickstarter campaign closes to donations on Aug. 24.
Additionally, a 20-minute mock documentary on the battle of Axanar — the fight on which the movie is based — premiered July 26 after raising more than $100,000 through crowdfunding. Actors in the film, called "Prelude to Axanar," include Richard Hatch of "Battlestar: Galactica" and Gary Graham of "Star Trek: Enterprise."
Both Trek fan films focus on the Battle of Axanar, which was briefly mentioned in the original 1960s "Star Trek" series, but the battle itself never appeared on screen. The event was mentioned in the original series' third-season episode, "Whom Gods Destroy," which followed battle winner and Starfleet captain Garth of Izar.
Peters has had a lifelong fascination with Garth's story, which came to the forefront after he played the character in a fan production in 2010. He got permission from CBS representatives to go ahead with "Star Trek: The Battle of Axanar" and quickly marshaled actors and production staff to make a cinema-quality project. (The movie is allowed to proceed as long as the filmmakers do not make a profit.)
When Peters went on to Kickstarter with a $10,000 ask for the mock documentary, he received many times that amount. He attributes the success to laying out the budget concretely and constantly updating his fan funders.
"We have an active donor's group on Facebook of 1,200 people, and we've got about 2,500 donors total," Peters said. "We update them, probably, three times a week on the Kickstarter page … [and] on Facebook, we're on every day talking to them."
It took sacrifices to make a Hollywood-style film on a thrift-store budget. The production staff worked without pay. The actors took advantage of a clause in their union contracts that allows them to work for less than their rate, because this is a "new media" film.
Off-screen staff will be paid for their work on the new production but at a lesser rate than usual. Even so, "that alone is an extra $100,000," Peters said. The actors will also take a cut to their rates.
The group is still figuring out the timing of the feature film's release. They estimate it will take about 20 days to shoot, and they hope to start filming in December in Los Angeles to avoid the hottest times of year.
Fans can learn more about "Star Trek: The Battle of Axanar" and donate to the project through the film's Kickstarter crowdfunding website: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/194429923/star-trek-axanar
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