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The People's Tribune !
Conversation with Alexandre O. Philippe!

Alexandre O. Philippe is a young, although already an experienced director who has recently announced to the city and the world that he is going to make a film about the Star Wars fandom.
He has asked the fans at his website to send him footage with opinions on the widely comprehended Star Wars phenomenon. He wanted to know - and use in his film - the views of Star Wars saga fans on the subjects that are regarded among them (that is, among us) as being
most controversial. The film will be caled "People vs George Lucas".
For more basic data look here: And below you will find some more details in the interview which this nice director kindly agreed to :

Could you please tell us briefly about the idea for your film? What is the main point - thesis you want to proove or refute?

I first had the idea to make this film aproximately two years ago, but it really came to life last summer while we were in Texas working on several other projects with our crew. Robert Muratore (our Director of Photography and one of our Producers) seemed really enthusiastic about making this film, and he's the one who convinced me to move forward with it. Six months later, here we are!

Who is some Geena Rodenbery?
The document is called Earthlings!
A few years ago, I made a documentary about Klingon speakers, and I was exposed to Star Trek fandom, which I think is very different from Star Wars fandom in many ways. I don't want to generalize, of course, but there's a strong sense to me that Star Trek fans, almost universally, tend to idolize Gene Roddenberry
-not in a sectarian sense, of course; but I never really heard Star Trek fans say anything negative about Gene Roddenberry or what he's created.
Star Wars fans, on the other hand, tend to have mixed feelings about George Lucas. Put two of them in a room together, and they'll start arguing about the Special Editions, Boba Fett, R2-D2's ability to fly in Episodes I-III, whether George Lucas owes them a DVD release of the restored Original Trilogy, etc. Star Wars fans love to argue and complain about Star Wars.
Google the words I hate Gene Roddenberry, and you'll find all of four hits. Google I hate George Lucas, and 1,240 hits come up! That's a staggering stat; but how does one explain it? On the one hand, I think it's the fans' way of expressing their love for a franchise that continues to defy expectations, and a universe that has defined (or redefined) their childhood's mythos.
A human from the planet Earth!
The Emperror?
That said, I think it's also their way of reacting to what George Lucas has come to represent. There's definitely a sense out there that Lucasfilm has turned into a kind of evil empire, and, while I don't believe that to be true, I think that George Lucas has given the fans plenty of reasons to complain, and it's a unique and fascinating popular culture phenomenon, which I felt needed to be explored in a documentary.
Yousa talkingeesa abouta meesa? On a personal level, as much as I love Star Wars, there are a number of things that make me mad, and I have no qualms about allowing the fans to be as vocal as they want to be. For instance, why refuse to give the fans the version they want on the same disc as the Special Editions? That's what most great directors do these days anyway. Why cast Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader in the first place? Why, oh why the Midichlorians?? I'm a Star Wars fan, so don't get me started.
My childhood was certainly defined by Star Wars, so claims that I'm an outsider who wants to make a buck off of George Lucas' back are preposterous.
I'm personally fascinated by the ambivalence of the relationship that the fans have with him and with the universe he's created.

Our title, of course, comes across as antagonistic, and I have this to say to the fans who are in full support of George Lucas and Lucasfilm: read the information on our website, and don't assume that our film will favor the side arguing for the 'prosecution'. In fact, for every argument that the 'prosecution' will make, we'll offer a balanced counter-argument from the 'defense'. Buenos dias. Soy Boba Fett!

Ultimately, while we may not solve world peace with this film, we aim to reveal the passionate side of Star Wars fans, and examine, through their words, the numerous and valid contentious issues that people around the world argue about every day on just about every Star Wars forum in existence.

So it's important for those who want to send us their footage to be passionate, and just as important for them to be articulate. I don't care if they swear, stage a debate or an interview with action figures, or wear a stormtrooper outfit, as long as they make compelling arguments, and support them with concrete examples. That's why we chose a mock-courtroom style for our website.

The People!

At the end of the day, we want the fans to make their case; and the fact that we're going to get all kinds of tapes, shot at different resolutions on primarily less than professional equipment, will stylistically create an interesting mix of images. I felt that this documentary lent itself particularly well to this unique format (which will be challenging for us in terms of post-production), which, in a way, will reflect the unique mixed-bag style of the YouTube culture. Of course, we'll also conduct our own celebrity interviews in high-definition (with the Sony Cinealta F900-the same model camera that George Lucas used to shoot the last two Star Wars episodes), which will create an interesting juxtaposition-both in terms of style and content.

Will it be a feature film?

Yes, we expect the film to run anywhere between 90 and 120 minutes. Of course, with the amount of extra footage we anticipate, we will likely release a Special Edition (of a different kind) with tons of additional content not included in the film; so fans who send us their footage not only have a chance to end up in the film itself, but also on our DVD extras. And every one of them will be thanked in the credits. The People vs. George Lucas is all about empowering the people, so we really don't see it as accepting submissions. It's more about collaborating with the fans, listening to their opinions, and incorporating as many of them as we can into the film.

Where will it be possible to view it ? (cinema, dvd, the Internet?)

We're currently two years away from the film's release, so it's still very early to say where the film will be screening with certainty. I think it's safe to say that it will be shown at a number of film festivals around the world, and we're definitely aiming for theatrical distribution. Again, the bigger our impact on the internet, the greater our chances of securing theatrical distribution; so this is an effort that we want the fans to participate in as well.

We've already had thousands of hits in our first few weeks, and we've been inundated with requests, which is a very encouraging sign. We just want the fans to realize that everything they do to promote the film-forward our link to their friends, join our MySpace page, pick up a camera and interview other fans at their local SW convention, post a news story on their website, start a topic on a SW forum, etc.-is a step for us toward a wider release and more successful distribution.

And it's also a film that they can star in! So it's really a win-win situation, and also an opportunity for us (our team and the fans) to show the world that this new form of filmmaking is indeed possible on a large scale. If this works, I anticipate that many other docs will follow our lead, and I think it will be a wonderful thing for the movie industry.

Dont forget to click on this.
What we see here is the DVD with the film about trekkies.
After the theatrical release, the film will definitely be available on DVD, and we're not opposed to the idea of self-distribution. We will only work with a distributor who understands the film and wants to do the right thing with it; otherwise, we'll do it ourselves. Again, the fans can expect a single-disc release, as well as a multi-disc Special Edition with hours of additional footage.
As for internet distribution, that's also a possibility; but I think it's safe to say that DVDs will be released first.

Needless to say, we also expect the film to screen at a number of conventions, and that will probably happen shortly after our initial festival and theatrical run.

Will interviews fill the entire film? What will then be the role of a director? What will bind everything into a whole?

The interviews will be the foundation for our documentary, but we also expect to show several Star Wars clips to illustrate people's arguments (as would be the case in a courtroom), and we will also have some original animation, which I'll keep as a surprise for now. What I can tell you with certainty is the fact that it will be a visually stimulating documentary. While we have certain guidelines on our website for the fans who want to send us their footage, they're all welcome to be as creative as possible, and we'll definitely consider anything, as long as it's relevant to the film we're trying to make.

Directing this film is, indeed, a very different job from that of directing most other documentaries. First of all, I will only have control over a fraction of the footage, and I'll have the difficult task of sorting through the rest. We certainly anticipate to receive hundreds, if not thousands of hours of fan footage, and I'm committed to personally reviewing it all-although I know I'm going to need the help of my producers. Talk!
How to make fans talk?

Essentially, I have a very definite structure in mind, and my job will be to follow that dramatic arc as I sort through the footage, and find the proper way to sequence it. I'll also be in charge of overseeing post-production, and responsible for making the creative decisions that, ultimately, will shape the look, feel and style of this film. So it's not your typical directing job, but it's still a huge responsibility.

Polish fans will surely willingly answer your call and first materials from Poland will reach you soon for sure. As one can find out at conventions great majority of Star Wars lovers in my country knows English very well. Not everybody, though, feel fully at ease telling about their passion in a foreign language. There are also some who don't know foreign languages well, and nevertheless have great knowledge and have a lot to say. I'm sure it's the same in other countries, too. Are you considering the possibility of enclosing in the film also the materials recorded in other languages - with translation in the form of subtitles or a lector?

Absolutely! Interviews conducted in foreign languages are not only acceptable-they are encouraged. The People vs. George Lucas, in a sense, is about proving that a theatrical feature film can be made by the international community through intense and ongoing internet word-of-mouth and support. The international flavor of this documentary is very important to us, and we want the fans to express themselves in the language they feel most comfortable using. If they're bi-lingual and willing to translate their interview in English for us, we'd be very grateful, of course; but if they don't speak a word of English, we'll find a way to hire a translator here in Denver.

Will there also be any other materials included in the film? Will you make any interviews yourself? E.g. with Star Wars actors, maybe with Lucas himself?

Yes, we will conduct a number of interviews ourselves. We anticipate to contact a number of celebrities who have been vocal about Star Wars, and we also plan to interview fans at conventions-even randomly and spontaneously, if we happen to be in their neck of the woods and they're available. I also know a number of fans that I'd like to personally interview, because I know they will give us great material.
Will there be any interview with stars?

Last week, Kerry Roy (one of our producers) happened to be in New York City for a few days to work on another project, and she took that opportunity to interview ChefElf, the notorious SW critic who wrote the popular Reasons to Hate Star Wars, which are available to read on the internet. I gave my questions to Kerry, and she came back with two hours of interview footage, which I can't wait to look at!

Average Poles.
In Poland it is enough to ask an accidental passer-by...
One thing we plan to do in the future is announce on our website where we plan to be as we travel the world in 2008 for other films we're working on, so that the fans can contact us directly if we happen to be in their neighborhood. If we have the time to conduct an impromptu interview in India, or wherever we'll be at the time, we'll certainly make it happen.
As for George Lucas himself. time will tell.

We certainly hope that he'll understand the tone of this project, and that he'll be open-minded enough to participate, because we would hate for this film to be one-sided, and because we're genuinely interested in what he has to say. In fact, I believe that this film is also an opportunity for him to express his side of the story, and maybe get a little more sympathy or understanding from the fans in return. We did contact Steve Sansweet at Lucasfilm a week prior to launching our website, and we haven't heard from him yet. Maybe they're waiting to see how it goes. Maybe they're not interested. Who knows? I really hope they'll eventually decide to participate, because, in many ways, I think this will be the most ambitious and comprehensive ode to the Star Wars cultural phenomenon ever committed to film.

You're a director - you've written screenplays and you've already made some films. Can you tell us something about yourself, and your work?

I actually started my career as a playwright, and graduated from the Dramatic Writing Program at New York University. That's where I learned to write screenplays. One thing led to another, and these days, I find very little time to write, because I have so many projects to direct. I'm still the Director of the Screenwriting Program at Lighthouse Writers in Denver, and I've been coaching screenwriters for years.
My work has been rather eclectic, I suppose. I've directed several corky documentaries, and made some very serious films as well.
A film about a headless chicken!

My latest short film, LEFT did extremely well on the festival circuit; and if you see it, you won't believe it was made by the same team behind The People vs. George Lucas. It's a lyrical short film devoid of dialogue, inspired by Bergman, Tarkovsky and the works of Andrew Wyeth; and it's about the grief triggered by the loss of a loved one. We premiered it at the Montreal World Film Festival, and it went on to screen at 30 international film festivals, won several awards, and will be released on three DVD collections around the world.

It's been a great success for us, and it has paved the way for other films we're currently working on, including The Spot-a short experimental documentary about the strange happenings taking place everyday at the location of President Kennedy's shocking assassination in Dallas-which will premiere at Cinequest in San Jose, and at the Glasgow International Film Festival in February.

The scene. Cuckoo clock? That's what the storyboard look like!

We're also working on another feature doc, an experimental feature, a short documentary, a live action short, an animated short, and a number of important commissioned films-including a surround sound presentation to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the City of Denver, which will be presented at the Democratic National Convention in August. And we're developing a feature-length Western, which we anticipate to produce next year.

You're a Star Wars fan and a collector. Can you tell about your interests? Can you show us some photos of your collection?

I've been a Star Wars fan since I was six years-old, but I think what really did it for me was watching The Empire Strikes Back on the big screen in Geneva, my home town, when it first came out. Darth Vader's revelation struck something really deep in me. Of course, I was only a kid then, but, like most fans out there, I still consider ESB to be the greatest SW movie ever made.

Sweets and valuables. I've kept most of my collection from my childhood, and it's a pretty substantial one, because my mom was generous enough to buy me most of the toys I wanted. They ended up stored in boxes for many years, and I rediscovered them a few years ago, and displayed them in my kitchen for a while. One thing led to another, and now I have two display cases filled with Star Wars toys and statues (along with a few other Batman, Spiderman and Matrix collectibles), and I can't wait to move to a bigger place so I can buy a third one! I definitely have to thank my wife, who's kind enough to put up with this obsession. She's also my partner in crime, which means she's now producing a Star Wars-related film as well!
Alexandre O. Philippe is really a fan!

Because it's impossible for me to purchase every SW collectible I want, I'm focusing primarily on Darth Vader figures and statues (I own a few rarities), Unleashed figures, and several other Gentle Giant products (I'm very proud of my Shadow Stormtrooper bust, which was hard to get).

As far as other interests go, I think it's safe to say that movies are at the top of my list. I'm also a compulsive DVD collector, and I try to watch at least a movie a day. My interest in movies, of course, translates as an interest in life, because movies can be about so many things, and can get you interested in so many things as well. If you put your mind to it, anything can be fascinating, and that's how I choose to live. I invest 100% of my heart and soul into every project I undertake, and that makes me a workaholic. It's so much fun to work really hard on a project, and to keep digging to see what you'll discover next. It's an endless process, really, and it's also a way to dig within and discover things about yourself that you weren't aware of. The People vs. George Lucas will be no exception. We're definitely making this project out of love for the movies and the fans, and I think this will be evident in the final product.

Thank you kindly for the conversation. I wish an enormous success with your film and I hope it will place the whole team in the almanac of the movie revolutionists!

Questions: Kuba Turkiewicz