Prague - Star Trek fans all over the world are well known for their extreme loyalty. But Czech fans of the cult sci-fi TV series just took their obsession to another level: they shot a full-fledged feature film on their favorite subject.
As a show of respect for that feat, the motion picture The Metren Incident, which is following Star Trek series motives, will be shown in an art cinema house in Prague later this month.
Amateur-made movie without big film stars and producers to help foot the bill is a story of an Avatar spaceship crew. Under the command of Captain Talisa Ren they are trying to save a professor, who was kidnapped because of unknown reasons by hitherto peaceful extraterrestrial kind called the Metrens.
The life of the professor, as well as the future of all mankind, is in hands of the crew and its captain.
Media theorists and cultural anthropologists thus get a prime example of the so-called Do It Yourself culture, where one takes things into one's own hands, from production to distribution.
The main point is you can do it as you wish, independently from official structures and products.
This Star Trek movie was made by twenty two people, who joined in different roles and in different extent of the DIY realm. The idea, however, was born in the heads of two fans Anna Štefánková and Ondřej Levý.
The idea was conceived in summer of 2003, the first script concept was ready in autumn.
"Then the preparations began: finishing the script, preparing the scene and mainly the green screen, which was later used for shooting, designing the masks, costumes and uniforms," Anna Štefánková, the movie director and actor in one, recalls in an interview for Aktuálně.cz.
Friends and acquaintances
Casting took place at one of the Star Trek fans gatherings.
"The movie cast consists mainly of other fans and acquaintances. On the other hand it wasn't a team. Some people hadn't known each other, some knew each other only by sight, sometimes not even that," Štefánková thinks back.
First good-enough-to-be-used shots were made at the beginning of January 2004.
"Since that time we started making the movie, but it was irregular, at weekends when the major part of the crew met. Interiors were shot in front of green background in loft room, which was changed to a film studio," says the director.
The exteriors were filmed near Beroun, a city 50 kilometres southwest of Prague, in a quarry the region is known for. Improvising non-actors changed the script quite a bit as they went. Postproduction then took two years.
"That is because the movie was made strictly by the people who worked in their free time and according to their abilities," explains the director.
As she says, fans will enjoy all kinds of special Star Trek effects: shooting from phasers, explosions, jumps into the warp, attacking and evasive moves.
And of course some extraterrestrial Star Trek types: one Trill, Bajorans, Vulcan woman, Troi (half-Betazoid) as well as El-Aurian and of course the Metrens who gave the film its title.
Props for the fifty minute flick were borrowed from friends or made out of wood and cartons. "Of course we couldn't escape costs completely from catering to the material for the scene set-up. We divided everything among the crew members," Anna Štefánková says.
The premiere public screening is to take place on 24th November in Prague's cinema Atlas. The tickets were sold out months in advance.
Organizers are promising another screening in December and perhaps one more in January. Reservations can be made at the fan club's website.