Thursday, April 21st, 2016
Today, Tommy Kraft announced that he would not be launching the Horizon sequel due to CBS’s phone call. This marks a new tact for CBS, which had not given any guidelines for fan films, nor indicated what the bright line is that you have to cross to get them to take action.
Now, clearly CBS and Paramount feel that we at Axanar went too far and, of course, CBS didn’t tell Tommy WHY he was being asked not to move forward. So there is still no clarity. Fan Films continue not to know what line should not be crossed and rampant speculation results.
Looking at this situation as objectively as we can, it’s clear to us that Horizon shared one big trait with Axanar: it was a feature-length movie. And with Star Trek Beyond coming out this summer following a disasterous trailer leak and it’s negative reception (that the director and writer had to apologize for), extra-ordinary re-shoots after principal photography wrapped and a total absence at Cinemacon (an important industry event), is there any wonder why two feature-length, Star Trek fan film movies have been targeted?
Maybe Paramount was concerned there could be confusion in the marketplace over what’s “real” Star Trek. maybe this was what was enough of a concern to trigger a lawsuit – or in Horizon’s case, a pre-emptive phone call.
Of course, it didn’t take long for our detractors to blame Axanar for the Horizon shutdown, which is frankly, ridiculously unfair. Look at Tommy’s statement again and you’ll see that Axanar was used an “example” not the “cause.”
CBS has chosen to deal with the fact a Star Trek fan film industry stepped in to fill the void of “no-Trek” (the time period between the end of Enterprise and the first JJ Abrams films). That home-grown industry took off thanks, in large part, to advances in inexpensive technology being readily available, crowdfunding making it easy for fans to fund their films and professionals from the industry (and Star Trek itself) making themselves available to work on the projects.
Star Trek New Voyages and Star Trek Continues both built studios with the aid of crowdfunding. Star Trek Continues has raised over $500,000, Star Trek Renegades raised over $ 750,000. What is also interesting is that while CBS is in a legal fight with Axanar and pre-empting the Federation Rising Kickstarter campaign, the Star Trek Continues Indiegogo remains up and active. So it is clear that crowd funding is not the bright line not to cross.
So what was it, exactly, that drove CBS’s decision to call Tommy and ask him to not proceed with Federation Rising? And why have no other productions been targeted?
We are paying close attention obviously and will keep you all posted.