High-Def 'Hunt For Gollum,' New Lord Of The Fanvids

Adrian Webster i i

On the move: Strider (Adrian Webster) — aka Aragon, the Heir of Isildur — tracks a familiar figure in The Hunt for Gollum, a new fan-driven film "inspired by" the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien and the movie trilogy by Peter Jackson. Rickety Shack Films hide caption

itoggle caption Rickety Shack Films
Adrian Webster

On the move: Strider (Adrian Webster) — aka Aragon, the Heir of Isildur — tracks a familiar figure in The Hunt for Gollum, a new fan-driven film "inspired by" the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien and the movie trilogy by Peter Jackson.

Rickety Shack Films

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Orcs i i

Orcs? Of course there are orcs. Their battle scenes, along with the rest of the film, were shot on location in North Wales. hide caption

itoggle caption
Orcs

Orcs? Of course there are orcs. Their battle scenes, along with the rest of the film, were shot on location in North Wales.

On Sunday, a movie is due to get its premiere. It's a 40-minute high-definition film, released over the Internet, made by fans who are earning no profit on it.

That's by design — because the movie is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings.

Called The Hunt for Gollum, the film is the work of 150 volunteers, says director Chris Bouchard.

"We're essentially a bunch of fans and enthusiast filmmakers," says Bouchard, who has put two years into the project.

He made up the plot, which focuses on a search to find the deranged Gollum. The fear is that the wizened creature might reveal the whereabouts of the magic ring to the powers of darkness.

"I guess this story is just a small chapter when you compare it to a feature film," Bouchard says. "We tried to expand it a bit and show the epic scale of Middle Earth in kind of a tribute to what Peter Jackson did."

Of course, Academy Award-winning writer-director Peter Jackson might not consider this production a tribute. New Line Cinema, which produced the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the J.R.R. Tolkien family, which owns the rights to the books, might have a thing or two to say about it as well.

It's an interesting question to Fred von Lohman, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Von Lohman says it's not really clear whether Bouchard and his crew of volunteers are in violation of the copyright for Tolkien's work.

Von Lohman says fans have always written their own stories based on TV shows and movies. That's legal.

But a high-quality movie available over the Internet could change the game.

"Now the fans can reach a global audience immediately through the Internet and make it available in a global way," von Lohman says.

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