When you think Star Trek, you probably don’t immediately think of the Czech Republic in central Europe (Star Czech maybe, but not Star Trek). But when it comes to Trek fan films, there’s some folks in Prague who have taken things to a whole other level!
I first took notice of the Czechie Trekkies in late 2018 when I saw an amazing-looking 4-part Star Trek fan film called DIPLOMACY. What made it so remarkable was that these folks had built a 360-degree 24th Century-era starship bridge set! While not as elaborate as TNG, DS9, or Voyager, it was still darn impressive…as were the Starfleet uniforms and the make-up (they actually had a Benzite!). I put this on my long-range sensors to cover here on Fan Film Factor, but after a year of being really busy, I hadn’t gotten around to reaching out to them.
However, I needn’t have worried because they contacted to me in late 2019! More specifically, JAKUB “JIM” HOLÝ reached out. He had been part of Diplomacy, but he said I shouldn’t bother covering that fan film because he and his team had something that was gonna blow away Diplomacy!
Color me intrigued.
Jakub explained that a new, more action-oriented fan film called SQUADRON had already been shot on that amazing bridge set. All of the live-action footage was “in the can,” (as we say in America) and about half of the VFX shots had already been completed or were in progress. But money was needed to properly finish the VFX and the rest of post-production, and they were planning to launch a crowd-funding campaign in early 2020. I was, of course, more than willing to help promote it with blog features like this one that included an audio interview with Jakub.
Although they missed their $16K goal, they still took in nearly $9K of it…despite the fact that, during the February-to-April campaign, the world turned upside down with the COVID pandemic, and donation dollars became scarce. One of the reasons for their success was a flawless and energetic Indiegogo campaign with almost constant promotion (trailers, behind-the-scenes videos, interviews, etc.) by Jakub and the team…most of whom spoke very good English, despite the film itself being entirely in Czech.
The money was used wrap up post-production, which included stunning CGI effects for the second half by the British Bastion of Blazing Battles SAMUEL COCKINGS. Part 1 premiered week ago on February 1 and has already been viewed more than 45,000 times on Youtube! In contrast, Diplomacy, after two and a half years, is barely over a thousand views, and other Czech fan films shot on that bridge and released over the past couple of years are still only in the low-to-mid thousands of views. So this one’s pretty special, folks!
In fact, you can see for yourself, as the concluding Part 2 has just been released. Here’s both parts together (with close-caption English subtitles that I actually helped edit)…
The celebrate this impressive release, I recorded my first-ever video ZOOM INTERVIEW with not one, not two, but SIX of the cast and crew of Squadron: the aforementioned executive producer and actor Jakub “Jim” Holý, there was also director Tereza Junová, writer Jan “Johnak” Kotouč, designer and lead actor Michal Husák, director of photography and editor Ondra Vodička, and lead actress Jana Peclová. I’d never interviewed so many people at the same time before, but the 90-minute conversation came out FANtastic!
Take a listen (and a look)…