Film Threat Video
- "I had a choice the other day. Eat for the next three days or buy a ticket. I'm starving."
- ―Anonymous fan waiting in line for The Phantom Menace[src]
Starwoids is a documentary fan film directed by Dennis Przywara and distributed by Film Threat Video. It was released in 2001, but its focus is the gathering of Star Wars fans just prior to the 1999 release of The Phantom Menace. The term "starwoid" is defined at the beginning of the film as one obsessed with the Star Wars franchise and seems to be an invention of the filmmakers; it has not caught on among established fans.
The film features many fans, most notably Daniel Alter, who camped outside the Mann's Village Theater, first to see the trailer, then to see the film, and members of a website called countingdown.com, organized by Lincoln Gasking, who turned the waiting-in-line exercise into a charity fundraiser. A rivalry develops between the two lines as the release date approaches, as countingdown becomes a slick, well-funded multimedia event with webcams and release forms, while Alter and his group of friends take it a day at a time, occasionally doing interviews for local radio.
The film also features footage from a performance of Star Wars: The Musical and interviews with writers Kevin Bayuk and Garrin Hajeian (this is a different version than the Star Wars: The Musical performed at the Florida District III Thespian Festival; this version was performed at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School Performing Arts Center in 1996). Kevin also makes an unsolicited (and unwelcome) visit to the Skywalker Ranch.
Toy collector Guy Klender is featured shopping for and showing off his collection, as well as touring local filming sites for the Tatooine scenes of Episode IV. Uncle Owen actor Phil Brown is interviewed. One section of the documentary centers around the Celebration I convention in 1999, including two out-of-place Star Trek fans dressed as Klingons. Katie Horn's car painted in X-Wing style, dubbed "Red Five," is also featured. Indie hip-hop musician and DJ Morgan Phillips ("Supergenius") discusses his Star Wars Breakbeats album, released on his own label, Suckadelic, and also shows clips from his hip-hop action figure short films.
Interspersed with the various collectors, fans and artists are the trials and misadventures of the two lines at the Phantom Menace opening, as rivalries form and tensions mount and more people arrive. Entire communities form and struggle to survive. In the meantime, posters for the 1999 cyberpunk film The Matrix are ever-present in the background. (Once again, Star Trek fans make an appearance, chanting "Make Trek, not war!" and carrying Spock 3:16 signs.) The documentary finally climaxes with a split screen as the two lines progress through the final day of waiting and enter their respective theaters, complete with costumed fans and media onlookers.
Independent filmmaker and Star Wars fan Kevin Smith provides the opening narration for the film and appears in a special interview on the DVD version. The film was screened at Celebration IV, as noted by Leland Chee in his blog. It has so far earned an 80% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and was rated three stars by TotalFilm.com.