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Fan Film Friday – DEEP SPACE NINE’S “What We Left Behind” takes in $300,000 in donations in just one week!

By February 17, 2017 Fan Films 6 Comments

If you’re like me, whenever someone asks you, “What’s your favorite Star Trek series?” you don’t even hesitate before answering with a confident smile, “Deep Space Nine.”  And then you usually get one of the following three responses: 1) “Really?  I never got into that one and didn’t even watch most of the episodes…”; 2) “Are you kidding?  That show was so dark!  Next Gen/Voyager/TOS was sooooo much better!” (they never seem to say Enterprise); or 3) they immediately get it because they agree completely.

(And usually when we encounter a member of the first response group, we beg them to binge-watch the series in episode order!)

People like me find it inconceivable and frustrating that DS9 is so often seen as the “bastard stepchild” of Star Trek…the series that, instead of boldly going, boldly stayed in one place.  But that was the point.  By not having to constantly introduce and explain a new culture and/or alien threat or spatial anomaly each week, it left much more time to fully develop certain key races like the Bajorans, Cardassians, Ferengi, Kligons, Vorta, Jem’Hadar, and Founders.  And of course, it made room for so many more intriguing characters who got to develop slowly and compellingly over time.  And hey, if you just want to see space battles…just wait’ll those last three seasons!

Despite its critical success among reviewers and a growing appreciation from the fans, as the years have gone by, DS9 seemed to be fading from the Star Trek totem pole.  TOS and TNG each got remastered special edition DVD/Blu-ray sets with new VFX and all sorts of wonderful extras.  But with DS9 next on the list, no remastered addition was ever announced, and it seemed the love-fest was finally over.

Would Ds9 ever get the credit and recognition that it deserved?

Well, not from CBS or Paramount.  But as 50 years of fan films have proven, if you want something decent from Star Trek, sometimes you just have to do it yourself!


WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND isn’t a fan film in the strictest sense of the word.  It’s more of a fan documentary, and the “fan” is actually the executive producer of Deep Space Nine, IRA STEVEN BEHR.  But the point is that CBS wasn’t planning to make any documentary about DS9, and neither was Paramount.  So if Ira didn’t do it, who would?

Many in the cast were all too happy to help out–they really LOVED the show!–and there are interviews a’ plenty ready to be edited to together!  In fact, take a look below at who’s already involved:

Directing this documentary is a man who is no stranger to Star Trek or Star Trek documentaries: ADAM NIMOY, son of the late Leonard “Spock” Nimoy.  Hot off the success of his critically-acclaimed FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK biopic on the life and legacy of his famous father, Adam is now applying his new expertise in creating Trek documentaries to finally doing justice to Deep Space Nine…just in time for the 25th anniversary of that show’s debut back in 1993.

During the summer of 2015, Adam Nimoy raised $662,000 from Trek fans via Kickstarter, and most of this went toward licensing fees for clips from Star Trek.  Now he and Ira are doing the same for What We Left Behind.  They’ve set their donation goal much lower than that…only $150,000 to cover licensing of clips plus traveling for additional interviews, and of course, the time-consuming and critically important task of post-production.

Of course, that $150,000 is only a starting point.  With more money, they can get more clips, do more interviews, add-in more extras, and make an even better documentary.  And one of the things fans are most intrigued about seeing is a segment where the writers of the series reconvene in a meeting room and try to figure out ideas for an imagined EIGHTH season of Deep Space Nine.  What would have happened to Benjamin Sisko?  How would Garak rebuild Cardassia?  Could Odo really stay away from Kira?  What would Jake do without his father?  Would Ferenginar be ready for Grand Nagus Rom?  (Okay, forget the novels, kids.  This is a hypothetical, imaginary season eight!)

And it’s looking very much like they will have that chance to make the finished product even better because $150,000 was raised in LESS THAN A SINGLE DAY!!!

In less than 24 hours, What We Left Behind had already blown past their $150K goal by 20K! Then they passed 300K in just ONE WEEK!

It’s now Day 8, and they have just crossed $308,000…and word is only just now beginning to spread!  How much will they raise in 30 days, I wonder???

Now, you might be wondering how this all jibes with the fan film guidelines.  Well, technically, this isn’t a fan film; it’s a professional documentary created by the former executive producer of the television series.  They are also purchasing a license…at least for the clips that will be used.  So the fan film guideline rules about a $50,000 crowd-funding cap, a 15-minute time limit, no perks, no paying people, and no featuring anyone who worked on Star Trek professionally in the past (which would be, like, everyone!) won’t apply here.

By the way, one of the perks was a 10-minute phone conversation with Ira Behr for a $150 donation.  I grabbed one of the twenty slots available, and–if he’ll let me–I want to spend my ten minutes asking Ira about Star Trek fan films and does he think the door is now cracked open just a little for well-funded Trek fans with professional capabilities to license Star Trek…even if just in a very limited way?  We’ll see what he says.


In the meantime, you’ve still got three weeks to make a donation of your own…and yes, they have perks (apparently licensed ones)!  Here is a link to their Indiegogo page:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/what-we-left-behind-star-trek-deep-space-nine-doc

The pitch video alone is worth the price of admission…

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6 Comments

  • Lee Freeman says:

    Yes! Finally, at last DS-9 is getting the recognition it so much deserves. This show is EASILY one of the best in the *Stark Trek* franchise. Kudos to Ira Steven Behr, Robert Hewitt Wolfe and the rest of the cast and crew for an excellent show and now for this (hopefully) documentary.

  • Brian Heite says:

    I really like DS9, especially as a whole program. However, I am so disgusted with CBS, any donation for anything ST related, except if it comes through Axanar, is off the table. It would be feeding the mouth that bites you. Looks like a really good idea, but just will not ever support CBS until they release Trek from their steely claws and allow it to be what it was, and not what they say it will.

  • Paul Griffin says:

    The comments of B.H. aside, I am excited about this upcoming DS9 documentary. When examined in totality versus TNG, Voyager, and Enterprise, it was the most dramatic in a consistent fashion. The characters quickly melded in comparison to the other series. Only TOS did better over the same number of episodes as in the first season
    As to the regime at CBC, I hope it expires soon and is replaced with a superior level of intelligence that will replace the notion, “Play as I say or I am taking my toy home.”

    • Paul Griffin says:

      I must apologise to my National broadcaster the CBC. I meant the CBS.

    • Brian Heite says:

      I would be excited too, were it not for the forementioned. But you got me to consider, the whole fan film thing. Jonathan published a blog about an Indiegogo for another fan film, and their interactions with CBS. Not only is it like the rural districts coming to the Pope to kiss the ring, but when I looked at some of the fan films on YouTube, it struck me that Alec and Rob, and Eric Henry have got the idea, and found the skills, needed to make what I (and I am assuming a large group of fans) want to see in Trek. It is at the level of quality that makes it above the TOS, and maybe even TNG and DS9. The ships are so real, the characters are so well done and real, that it seems “real”. It is escapist entertainment in the Trek universe at it’s very best. CBS has never been threatened with that from anyother production I saw, and I spent some time wandering around the various Trek offerings. They lacked the polish, the cinematic quality, and the finesse. Not to pooh on any of them, but it is clear that Pacific201 and Axanar were the examples of where it could go, if people funded it to the level it needed. That scared them. Had they been sharp operators though, they would have done what seems like the no brainer business decision: allow them to proceed with their projects, which, if successful (and the “free market” is one of the ultimate testing grounds, because a fan will go “bleh” to a freebie, vice suffering through something they pay for (IMHO), would be a “want to make more?” proposition. Low cost, then when it is rolling along, stream it on the Star Trek Fan Channel on their All Access and you have an anchor in a large fan base. Let them spread out, and cooperate on stories. More material for your channel. Everybody makes out, CBS, the fans, the fan film makers. You get a huge variety of possible stories and arcs. Then you can tune a full professional series on what works, and you are on the road. But by running scared, they slammed the door into the face of that, and all the fans, and only have the dreaded “Discovery” to offer, which is already getting some rather negative “WTF?” exams on YT. So, the door is open to only one thing: A new universe with no legal claws in it, either through a cooperative agreement with a known author (like David Weber and his Honor Harrington), who has some baseline material to build on or a lesser known one (there are probably 100 good “not well known” authors currently at work in their own small universes). The let Alec, Robb and Eric loose with their magic, and it would be , as a famous Klingon once said “Glorious”. No disrespect to the other fan films, but there is a distinct, and verifiable, difference. Which explains why things are the way they are. But still, DS9 was a really good show with excellent writing and story, and production (for it’s time). The documentary is probably a very laudable, worthwhile thing, enough people semed to think so to pony up for it. I wish them well.