Paul Jenkins, Eisner Award-winning writer and director, has a hard-earned reputation as an advocate for comics, gaming and movie fans. So when he signed on to help write, produce and direct a Star Trek fan film in 2018, it was no big surprise. When he left that project last year and found himself in the middle of a lawsuit with the very fan who asked for his help, nobody was more surprised than Jenkins.
Now, having seen the disruption, devastation and cost of unbridled fan behavior, Jenkins has decided to write and direct a film that documents the abuses and serves as a warning to both creators and the fans who love those creations. “The message is a simple one,” Jenkins says. “Don’t kill the thing you love.”
“The sobering reality is that every franchise has fans who don’t seem to know where the lines are between mutual respect and off-the-hook fanaticism.”
“The story of the fan film, AXANAR, is a case study of bad fan behavior, corporate arrogance and judicial apathy. But the most painful part of this whole thing is that there are real people who have been hurt by this. People who have lost thousands or tens of thousands or, in one case, hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of one man’s obsession with being someone he’s not and something he can’t ever be.”
The documentary is planned for release in March of next year.
Prior to going public, the website for INTO THE WORMHOLE: The Battle for AXANAR (www.intothewormholedocumentary.com) showed the project has already attracted nearly $200,000 in funding from private backers – some of whom are intrigued with the subject matter, others who are concerned about the state of fandom and fan films in general. Funding is handled directly through the production’s website rather than through a crowdfunding site like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo.
“We need to raise another $175 – $200,000 to make sure we’re covered on the production side,” explains Jenkins. “The way the site is set up, it allows people to make a pledge and select a payment plan for that pledge – then all of the funds are handled through PayPal which provides all the security we could want.”
Backers of the project can select the “tier” they prefer and receive perks associated with that level. “All of the things we’re giving people can be fulfilled electronically, so we don’t need to raise extra money to cover shipping and fulfillment of anything other than a Blu-Ray of the final project.”
Jenkins admits there’s more to this project than meeting or exceeding a financial goal. “There’s an important message here,” he says. “We all have blind spots – especially when we’re involved with something we love so much. But there are people who view those weaknesses as opportunities to take what they want.”
“If we, as fans, don’t look out for one another, we’ll become a victim before we even know it.”
People interested in making a pledge of support for the project can go to www.intothewormholedocumentary.com.