Homemade takes on Star Wars have existed since long, long ago – even if none are from a galaxy far, far away. Last year, however, Crowdsourced Cinema asked community members to show off their filmmaker skills as part of an effort to recreate the entire 1977 classic Star Wars: A New Hope.
Crowdsourced Star Wars-A New Hope
More than a few of the entries proved to be worthy of a Jedi master (or at least Hollywood director), using various animation techniques, action figures, LEGO sets, and simple props to put a new twist on the beloved Hollywood classic. In the end, three distinct cuts from the New England-based public art project were created.
“Crowdsourced Cinema Vermont had over 300 participants and hosted four outdoor screenings around the state,” explained Northampton Open Media Executive Director Al William. “Our budget was similar, though we also invested in more green screens and animation software for our community to check out with Crowdsourced in mind.”
For the Crowdsourced Cinema Northampton, scenes were randomly assigned to the filmmakers, though the staff always shoots the first scene of each film.
“In Northampton, we estimate 246 crew members contributed to the film,” William added. “That represents roughly 40 teams. There were also nine musicians and composers who re-scored the film, in addition to using some public domain music from the Prelinger Archive.”
It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that the creators are quite imaginative.
“We have had participants who create scenes every year- some create scenes in other languages, use comlex rotoscoping, Legos show up every year, and create their own music for scenes,” said Kathy Bisbee of the Brookline Interactive Group, a community media arts center in eastern Massachusetts. “We’ve had one group of creators that will make a scene in the style of another film, so a Lord of the Rings scene in the final scene of Ferris Bueller or a Blade Runner style scene in a scene in Beetlejuice.”
The combined budget for the recent Crowdsourced Star Wars was formally zero dollars, but in Northampton, they spent about $500 on props that people could borrow.
“It’s impossible to estimate what teams may have spent in various ways,” said William. “We may spend around $5,000 in staff expenses on our side towards the administration of the project.”
Since the Crowdsourced Star Wars was presented last year, there has been no response from Disney, though William said they would welcome their encouragement.
Though some of the individual segments in the recent Crowdsourced Star Wars were little more than perhaps friends goofing around, a few stood out for either being extremely faithful to the original film or by offering a completely new take on the source material
That is especially noteworthy with Scene 5 from Crowdsource Cinema VT, which recreated the sequence in the film where R2-D2 is captured by the Jawas and taken aboard their sand crawler. It is reminiscent of the original sequence while still offering a number of notable “Easter Eggs” – where keen-eyed viewers could spot the robot Wall-E and Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Tom Ser-Crow.
Crowdsourced Cinema VT 2022 Star Wars: A New Hope Scene 5
Another particularly impressive scene, created by the Propp Shop, re-imagined Star Wars as a “steampunk” adventure in the 1880s. Though only three and a half minutes in length, it has been especially well-received by fans who have called for the creators to remake the entire Star Wars: A New Hope in its style. The video has already been seen 624,000 times to date.
Star Wars: A New Hope – Reimagined on Earth in the 1880’s
Beyond The Galaxy Far Far Away
Star Wars: A New Hope may be the latest such project from Crowdsourced Cinema, but past efforts have been as impressive. These have included Castaway and Jurassic Park.
“We have no concrete plans for what the future projects will look like as of yet, but also nothing is off the table,” said William. “There will be another Crowdsourced Cinema project next summer, and we’re going to convene to begin talking about what that might look like.”
Regardless of what the next project is, it is likely that with each passing year, these projects will only get better. While many will still do it for the fun, it is likely these projects could be a stepping stone to something far bigger.
“These days we live in a creator economy, and at the same time fandom is also bigger than ever, so these projects can allow someone with a little creativity to really show off their skills,” said social media pundit and brand marketing expert Scott Steinberg.
“What is also notable is that these fans are passionate about these classic films, which are some of the most iconic movies in history, and these crowdsourced efforts allow them to feel like they’re part of it,” Steinberg added.
In many ways, this creativity can be further unleashed due to the fact that technology is making it easier for these creators to show off their skills.
“Even a couple decades ago, unless you had an uncle or second cousin that ran an animation studio or knew someone who owned a costume shop, making these homemade films was often cost prohibitive,” Steinberg continued. “But the leaps in technology including video editing tools now make it more affordable for creators to make these films in a fraction of the time. No doubt the filmmakers who worked on the actual Star Wars in the 1970s may wish they had these tools.”