Ever wished you could have helped make Star Wars IV: A New Hope? Well, that was the dream Casey Pugh, an early employee of Vimeo who now works for Boxee, made come alive for indie filmmakers in the online video world. Using the Vimeo API, Pugh’s Star Wars Uncut project has brought together an international group of fans to recreate George Lucas’s seminal film in 15 second increments — and after seven months online, it’s 98 percent complete.
Pugh chose to recruit people to recreate Star Wars above all other films because of its global appeal. “I can’t think of a single other movie that has such a huge following — even if you aren’t a fan of it, you know it. It’s a globally recognized part of our culture,” he said. Three days after launching the project, every scene had been claimed; the first uploads of scenes came from France, Germany and Japan.
Fans have submitted up to five different versions of classic moments from the iconic sci-fi film since the project’s launch. If everything goes according to plan, the last scenes should be uploaded by the end of the month, at which point Pugh will take everything offline for approximately 30 days so that he can develop the next iteration of the project. The completed version will allow people to vote for their favorite scenes and enable tagging on individual scenes, from animation to parody; he also plans to assemble a final version of the top-rated scenes, accompanied by composer John Williams’ score.
According to Pugh, “there’s no genre of film these people haven’t done.” He’s also planning to reward people for their participation through a Foursquare-esque system of badges.
This week, Pugh met with Lucasfilm regarding the project — according to him, they’re huge fans of the project, and like his approach, specifically because he “treated it like an art project.” The project remains a nonprofit one; while there’s no immediate potential for monetization, he does foresee the potential to work with companies to replicate the process for other films or film trailers. Though whether or not the idea would work with other films is unclear. “[Star Wars] is our culture, our blood,” Pugh said. “I don’t think it would work with Indiana Jones or Ghostbusters.”