Creator-Blessed ElfQuest Fan Film Crowdsources Funds

The graphic novel series ElfQuest, created by Richard and Wendy Pini, has been a cult favorite among fantasy fans since its debut in 1978, and for years, Hollywood has been developing a feature film around the property. But new media actors/producers Stephanie Thorpe (After Judgement) and Paula Rhodes (A Good Knight’s Quest) aren’t waiting around for Warner Bros. (s twx) to get their version going. Instead, they’re creating a fan trailer for the property, financed by IndieGoGo donations and starring some of web video’s best-known actresses for an all-female cast. And they’re doing it not just with the blessing of the Pinis, but their help.

Thorpe and Rhodes initially came up with the idea after Thorpe, who was rereading her childhood favorites while home in Vancouver, British Columbia, posted one of her favorite panels from the comic to Twitter, and Rhodes, a fellow fan of the series, responded enthusiastically. The Twitter back-and-forth quickly lead to casting ideas for a potential ElfQuest movie, drawn from web video players, which lead to the idea for doing a trailer.

Rhodes reached out to Richard Pini via Facebook to get his blessing on the project, and while the Pinis have always been open to fan-created projects, Rhodes and Thorpe’s proposal struck them as something special.

“It sounded so incredibly wonderful and exciting, especially when we saw what they’d already done,” Pini said via phone. “This is the most professional, enthusiastic bunch of folks who have ever approached us; they’ve already demonstrated that they know how to make web video and get people excited about watching it. It’s a first for us and a first for ElfQuest, and we knew that we wanted to take advantage.”

Accordingly, when Rhodes and Thorpe set up their IndieGoGo campaign, the Pinis agreed to donate original artwork and personal phone calls as rewards for those donating at the VIP level. That, plus interest from the passionate ElfQuest fan base, has helped the project earn $3,230 of its $5,000 goal as of writing — in less than a week.

Thorpe and Rhodes are producing and co-directing the project, with Galacticast‘s Rudy Jahchan committed to doing special effects and A Good Knight’s Quest director Brett Register editing. A prosthetics artist has been commissioned to create elf ears directly inspired by Wendy Pini’s art, a cost which makes up a significant portion of the budget, along with food and location expenses. The plan is to shoot for two days towards the end of November — before it gets too cold, as ElfQuest characters don’t wear a lot of clothing — creating a one-to-three minute trailer.

When I say that some of web video’s best-known actresses are involved, I’m not messing around: Rhodes, Cathy Baron, Taryn Southern and Jamie Blair will star as Nightfall, Dewshine, Timmain and Foxfur respectively, and I get the pleasure of announcing that Jessica Rose (lonelygirl15), Taryn O’Neill (After Judgement) and Shanrah Wakefield (Oz Girl) will also be donning prosthetic ears. In addition, Thorpe is joining the cast as the villainess Willowill — and she’ll be wearing a costume originally made by Wendy Pini.

The project is strictly a fan one, with no intention of copyright infringement intended toward Warner Bros. Pini says that WB’s ElfQuest movie, to be written and directed by Rawson Thurber, is still in active development, with the most recent update reporting that a design group that did concept art for Avatar has been commissioned to work on a look for the ElfQuest universe. “Our thought is that the more buzz ElfQuest has in every possible arena, the better things are for the film,” Pini said. “You never know how Hollywood is going to react, but it can’t hurt.”

For Rhodes and Thorpe, it’s really about “honoring the style and tone of the series and putting that on the screen as much as possible,” Thorpe said. “It’s a magical moment when you realize that you can take something that you’ve loved your entire life and do something for it.”

“We realized we could do it, and then realized all the responsibly that comes with it. We cannot screw this up,” Rhodes added. “But with all the passion we have as fans and all the production experience we have, we can bring something new to life, and show [Warner Bros.] hard numbers about how many people are interested in this.”

Elfquest art copyright Warp Graphics, Inc. Elfquest, its logos, characters, situations, all related indicia, and their distinctive likenesses are trademarks of Warp Graphics, Inc. All rights reserved.

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