Interview with Filmmaker James Martinez (Rogue Seven: A Star Wars Fan Film)

“Rogue Seven: A Star Wars Fan Film” was the winner of BEST FAN FICTION FILM at the July 2021 Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I absolutely love Star Wars, and I love that it continues to grow with more movies, shows, games and books! But what was really important to me is that I wanted to see more stories with a rag-tag group of kids who struggle to work together and grow. So I decided to write a comedic, intense action film as a small story within the Star Wars universe.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

This idea for Rogue Seven came up in 2018 as a much longer film, but we condensed it down to 15 minutes to make it feel more episodic and energetic. Filming began and finished in 2019, and post-production was completed in early 2020. 2 years, basically!

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Very funny!

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The biggest obstacle was learning how to complete the visual effects for the film. I had previously done experiments with filming things against a green screen, but I never learned how to do CG effects, or the intricate shots with miniature spaceships as seen in this film. I basically drew storyboards for the space fight sequences, and figured out how to do them as I went.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I practically melted. I was so happy that people enjoyed the film and thought it was funny!

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

In high school, I saw the film “Heat” by Michael Mann, and it was the perfect blend of style and substance, not one over the other. It had a very distinctive visual style with amazing cinematography, intense action scenes and great music, but it also had interesting characters and relevant themes. It deeply moved me, and I hope to achieve this feeling someday with one of my films.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

All 4 of the Lethal Weapon movies! They’re technically all the same movie, haha. But still really good!

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

FilmFreeway is very easy to use, has a LOT of festivals (some quite affordable), and is a very helpful platform for new filmmakers who want large audiences to see their films.

9. What is your favorite meal?

A cheeseburger with fries, and a crispy cold Coca-Cpla in a glass bottle. I like them classics haha

10. What is next for you? A new film?

If I’m lucky, I hope to make another story with the characters from Rogue Seven. A sequel, if you will haha. Honestly, I just want to make another film with my friends, no matter what it is.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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