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CSULB alumni’s film ‘Star Trek Wars’ hyperdrives onto the silver screen

A joint collaboration between CSULB’s Film Department and an alumnus, ‘Star Trek Wars’ makes its debut

Ross Siev, Staff Writer

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Captain’s Log: A year ago, in a college not too far away, director and California State Long Beach film alumni Joshua Hoh set out the create the next big fan film after his award-winning “Steven Spielberg and the Return to Film School.”

His new film, “Star Trek Wars,” follows the same format, parodying film directors within the premise of one of their own films. Although the new film’s title references George Lucas’s “Star Wars” and Gene Rodenberry’s “Star Trek,” the plot involves the irony of J.J. Abrams directing the newest “Star Wars” film, despite having also helmed the recent “Star Trek” reboot.

According to the film’s writer and director Joshua Hoh, he created this film because of the forthcoming theatrical premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Hoh sought to release the film ahead of major motion picture, which he managed to do just on Dec. 1, when “Star Trek Wars,” made its premiere at Lakewood’s Pacific Theater.

In attendance were the two actors who portrayed main characters George Lucas and J.J. Abrams.

“Well, I kind of look like George Lucas,“ said Johnny Bolton, who played Lucas in the film. “I grew a little beard. I went in to audition, and when I got a callback, my beard [grew] in a little more, and I looked even more like him.”

According to both actors, they researched their roles by extensively, watching behind-the-scenes footage and interviews of the real life filmmakers.

“It’s a challenge in a way because J.J. is such a likable person. I was very curious to see if I could notice a difference in [J.J. Abram’s] public persona and a maybe a little bit more off the cuff,” said Ronan Barbour, who played J.J. Abrams.

Although Hoh graduated from CSULB in 2013, he collaborated with many existing CSULB film students and alumni.

Several of the film’s scenes were shot on location here at CSULB, including The University Student Union Ballroom, the Hall of Science, LifeFit Center, and the University Telecommunications Building. Amelia Benavente, one of the film’s producers, said the crew shot on campus because CSULB film students receive a discount on the filming permit.

The crew also turned to Kickstarter for additional funding. Despite surpassing their goal of $12,000 and allowing the movie to be shot in a major studio for free, the film ran out of funding during principal photography, so they turned to Kickstarter again to fund the post-production, such as the animated space battle in the credits and the computer-generated lightsabers. They succeeded again with $4,000 financed from donors.

Some of the film’s backers believed in the potential of student-made films. Dr. David Lieu, a physician from Alhambra, donated $5,000 to the film outside of Kickstarter. As thanks from the film’s crew, he received cameo in a scene.

“I wanted to help these young film producers and artists,” said Lieu. “I do a lot of charity work actually, so I enjoy helping young people—especially with education.”

“Star Trek Wars” is currently available to view on Filmvisionary Productions’ YouTube channel.

Editor’s Note: Staff Writer Ross Siev appeared as an extra in “Star Trek Wars.”

As a fan of filmmaking and all things geeky, I managed to secure an on-screen role as an extra in “Star Trek Wars” so I could see how a movie is made. It has always been a life-long dream to be in a film, but I was shooting my hopes way too high when I wanted to be in a super-secret production like “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Baby steps. First step is being an extra in this film; then soon, I’m in a leading role as Chewbacca…

I found it interesting to see how a film is made. The crew would take almost the entire day to shoot footage that would last at least two to three minutes on-screen. Witnessing all of the movie magic behind the scenes ignited my interests into how a film is made and how much I would like to be involved in another one soon.

During my time as an extra, filming took roughly five days on the weekend. Perhaps the most physically exhausting time was filming the battle scene, where I went into the film studio at the crack of dawn. After filming ended for the day, I went outside wondering how the sun got back down that fast.

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