Subtitle: What this indie movie “gets” that Hollywood doesn’t.
Iron Sky is set to premiere at the Berlin Film Fest this weekend and due for wide release in April, and I’m more excited about going to see this in the theater than I have been about any movie in a long time, with the possible exception of the upcoming Weta Works production of The Hobbit.
Now, unless you’re a sci-fi movie geek or an indie movie geek, or some weird hybrid of the two, you probably haven’t even heard of this film. Even if you do fall into one of the previous two categories, this movie might have so far slipped under your radar. Really, who’s going to pay a lot of attention to the production of a sci-fi-action comedy about a bunch of Space Nazis who return to earth after 70 years on a secret moon base in order to seek revenge for the loss of WWII. This isn’t exactly what you would call mainstream big box office material.
I can’t exactly remember who it was that first turned me on to this film, but I’ve been half following the production, and anxiously awaiting its release since the first teaser trailer slipped online back in the spring of 2008. Yes, you read that right, the first trailer for this film came out almost 4 years ago. It actually only finished post production within the past couple of weeks. That’s a heckuva long time to build up anticipation for a movie. And it’s a very long time for a movie to be in production. The production actually extends back to 2006, when Energia Productions first started on the storyboards and artwork for the film.
Think about that for a minute. 6 years to make a single film. And an underfunded, indie film at that.
The first teaser trailer above was used for three reasons. First, to show a bit of what the film-maker was capable of visually and rustle up some funding. Second, was to begin raising awareness of the project online as a guerrilla marketing tactic. Third, was to draw in a cadre of movie geeks to actually help with crafting the story and creating the movie.
That’s right. Parts of the story and production are crowd sourced.
By all accounts, it was wildly successful on all counts. Energia Productions raised enough money over time to fund the filming using the spectacular Red Camera system, pay for the actors (who may not be known in North America, but many are fairly well known in Europe), and cover the costs of post production. The initial teaser has been viewed over 2 and a half million times as of this date, generating a not insubstantial buzz. And the film makers and producers were smart enough to build a community website around the project, listening to, interacting with, and integrating the suggestions of, a growing fan base of hard core movie buffs who decided to take Energia up on the crowd sourcing offer.
The end result? Before this has even hit the film festivals, this movie has generated a fan base. And this is made up of people who haven’t even seen the final product.
A big part of the devotion some people are giving this film goes to point three of above. The movie makers didn’t just pay lip service to the community of people that began to surround the production, they actively engaged with them.
Now, whether or not this will result in an actual good film has yet to be seen. But I’ll pony up my $15 to go see it in the theater regardless of what the reviews end up being like. The passion for the craft of making a film that went into this should be rewarded, as well as the desire and drive to build a relationship with the audience and film buffs. And that passion, along with 6 years of dedication to producing a film, will undoubtedly show through in the final product. And if the following two trailers are any indication, then it really is a film worth paying for, in a way that 99% of the crap coming out of Hollywood isn’t.