Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sweded And The Rise Of The Fan Film

A collision of driving forces has led us to this, a voluminous array of fan made films in every corner of the internet, and in some cases, even in theaters.

Michael Gondry's Be Kind Rewind (I have not seen this yet) is a movie about people who come together remaking famous movies (Wikipedia). The term used in the movie is 'sweded' (for ridiculous reasons) and it has led to a brief explosion of fan made films, all of which can be found using that word (YouTube search).

Jack Black and Michael Gondry explain 'sweding'.

This has led to an explosion of 'sweded' films. There is a top ten list on Always Watching. There is also a website dedicated to 'sweded' films.

Of course most of the films are ridiculous, but the collision of Do It Yourself culture, the internet, and cheap digital video have made a great collection of innovative, insightful, strange, and comical fan flicks.

Case in point is the 'sweded' version of Terminator 2 (the mushroom cloud kills me).

Or the 'sweded' Star Wars. Love the cardboard X-wings.

Or Lord of the Rings Part 1 and 2.

In some cases people are only remaking certain scenes. Here's the Tron bike scene shot in cardboard/stop motion. And the original for comparison.

Of course fan films are nothing new, but it is only recently that the barriers to production and distribution have dropped to an all time low. There's a website devoted to fan films (Wikipedia).

One recent high profile case is the film "Fanboys" about a group of Star Wars geeks who trek across the country in order to break into Lucas's Skywalker ranch in order to see The Phantom Menace. It may be released theatrically. Lucas has recently embraced some aspects of fan culture including the contest last year (AtomFilms) that I mentioned (post) which is a nice change.

Or the case of the Raiders Adaptation which unfortunately does not look to be released (Wired) that I briefly mentioned (post) but at least the filmmakers donated the proceedings to charity.

What will be really interesting is when some of the more creative types stop making fan films and start making their own original ones.


Ricky Grove said...

What a delightful post. Parody isn't new, but, as you say, the ability to create fun/good parodies are much easier now. I still remember waiting for each new film parody in MAD magazine. The LOTR swed reminded me of those days.

Wonderful stuff. BTW, I imagine a parody (fan film) would be quite different from an homage, which to my mind would be more of an effort to honor the film. "Call of Cthulhu" is a backyard-film, but it is one of the best (honest) adaptations of Lovecraft I've ever seen.

I wonder, could you do a fan film of, say, Un Chien Andalou? Crazy, I think.

Thanks for the links and hours of fun ahead.


bllius said...

Ah MAD magazine. Those were the days.

I think some of these clips are honest attempts at an homage, at least in parts. Fans wouldn't make them if they didn't love these films.

Haven't seen "Call of Cthulhu" but will check it out, nor Un Chien Andalou.

Could you do a fan film of Koyaanisqatsi? Would you even want to?

Are there limits to parody?