Have you ever sat and daydreamed about what it would be like if the world was to end, would you have what it takes to survive? Weird question I know, but stay with me, this will make sense in a little bit. I remember a time, after reading 1954’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ book by William Golding in High School. I would enter all my classes and take a look around thinking, if I were to be stranded together with these people on a deserted island who would take charge and how would I act. Would I be a Ralph, a Piggy, or a Jack?
Fast forward many years, I got this same feeling when I read The Hunger Games series of books in 2008. This time I started wondering if I could survive in a similar situation where people were hunting me. The Hunger Games series produced three books and four movies, but what writer Suzanne Collins really did was bring the teen dystopian genre into the mainstream. This leads me into this week’s fan film review, ‘Weeping Willow: A Hunger Games Fan Film’.
Weeping Willow was released onto YouTube in May of 2014 and was produced by Rogue Zoho Productions. This production company is pretty unique as it is made up of a group of home educated and self taught filmmakers from Washington State. Rogue Zoho’s first film ‘Loyalty’ won first place in 2013’s ‘Lightsaber Choreography Competition’. With the success of Loyalty which has over 100,000 views, director Max Jordan started working on making Weeping Willow. With a runtime of just under 20 minutes this film is amazing, it is well written, well filmed, and edited and already has over two million views.
The original Hunger Games books follow Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark both from District 12 (the mining and coal sector of the land of Panem) who volunteer for the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Weeping Willow is set well before this during the 52nd Hunger Games. This according to the site Fan Film Follies was done so that it would be an original script with no already established characters or familiar settings. It is about a young girl named Willow who is picked to represent District 7 (the forestry and lumber sector of Panem) for the 52nd Annual Hunger Games. Her brother Tristan quickly volunteers himself so that his sister does not have to face the games alone. The film condenses a lot of the character building and background information that a normal movie will spend time developing into its first few scenes. This keeps them short, but gives enough information so that you know what is going on. The film then gets right into the thick of it and we get some great camera and aerial shots of the other participants, the Cornucopia and then the start of the Hunger Games.
To avoid straight up showing heavy violence and death in a PG-13 movie, the cinematographer’s of the Hunger Games used the shaky camera technique (now I am not sure if this is the correct name, but it best describes it). With this technique we the audience feel like we are standing watching all of the events go down, and because there is so much happening we are not shown how it happens exactly because of the chaos. Weeping Willow also uses this technique, these young filmmakers were not afraid to have violence in the film, but a lot of the time it is implied and not seen. All of this combined with some very well done choreographed fight scenes and realistic graphics like the original make the film easy to watch and very enjoyable. Even the acting is good (this is usually a let down in Fan Films I have found) especially since all of the actors are teens or young adults.
As I mentioned before the site fanfilmfollies.com has lot lot more information on the film including backgrounds and a little more in-depth on how the film was made and I would encourage you to give it a read. I know in some of my previous reviews I have had a lot to say about what I didn’t like (especially with Robin: The Bird and The Brain, and on a side note I received a very nice message from the makers of Robin stating that the Time are gone for the next episode!), but I really liked and enjoyed this film. It is a perfect example of why fan films are so good and can be useful. It tells a story that is based in a world we are familiar with, but with new. Hats tees and different stories. In a time where the big blockbuster movies with huge budgets rule, it is awesome to see these sort of films being made. Weeping Willow gets Fan Film Boy Rob’s two thumbs up!
Robert is one of the hosts of the Fan Film Boyz Podcast, a podcast that discusses, reviews and helps promote Fan Films. For more in-depth discussion and interviews with directors, writers, actors, and actresses, give the Podcast a listen.
Watch ‘Weeping Willow: A Hunger Games Fan Film’ visit https://youtu.be/o-xwmNDuGgI
To read more about the film visit Fan Film Follies visit http://www.fanfilmfollies.com/fan-film-follies/weeping-willow/
To listen to the Fan Film Boyz Podcast visit www.fanfilmboyz.podbean.com