Fan films are ambitious projects by definition. They try to recreate something from other media and create the same ambiance and feel of the original, but on a teensy tiny wee little budget. We showed you the trailer for Rebel Scum last May, and the finished version is finally ready. This Star Wars “slice of life” film is about one under-prepared rebel pilot Echo 12, stranded out on Hoth far from his squadron and deep in Empire controlled territory. His snowspeeder is down, his co-pilot Lars is dead, and he’s in trouble a lot deeper than the snow he’s walking in.

What sets Rebel Scum apart from other Star Wars fan films is that all the effects were done using old school, traditional methods. No computer animation, no particle effects were used – just models, miniatures, and matte painting, much in the same manner as the original film upon which it was based.

The backgrounds aren’t computer generated, nor are they models. They’re the real deal. Rebel Scum was filmed over a period of two months at the Columbia Icefields in Alberta Canada on the Athabasca Glacier. Due the nature of the hostile environment a custom thermal rig was built to keep the cameras from freezing in -30C/-22F. You can’t get a more authentic environment than actually being there.

We love the grit and angst of this well crafted film. The only question mark is the music, a selection from Holts’ The Planets which is so unlike the rolling, moody, soaring themes used by John Williams that it takes us out of the moment. Other than this one minor point, we think you’ll love Rebel Scum.

The creators are Timothy, Paul and Daniel Nguyen, all filmmakers, and have been passionate about it all their lives. They come from a unique background: a grandfather who served as a North Vietnamese general during the Vietnam War; a fugitive father fleeing eastern Europe during the Warsaw Pact; a missionary mother rescuing Cambodian refugees from Khmer Rouge. The brothers grew up on the road, from the arctic wastelands of Greenland and Iceland to spending years in dense jungles all over Southeast Asia. Living such adventurous lives themselves has given them a passion for powerful narratives from the life stories of others.

The three brothers have independently produced 22 short films over a period of 9 years, with their first feature film in released 2012. Paul is the writer of the family, having written and produced numerous screenplays for each of his brother’s collaborations. Timothy directs, and has directed 22 film productions. Daniel is the production designer of the team and likes to work mainly with science fiction, fantasy and period pieces. They all graduated from the same place, the University of the Nations School of Digital Filmmaking, class of 2013.

All in all, Rebel Scum is an amazing accomplishment. It’s clear to us that the Force is with the Nguyen brothers and Blood Brother Cinema. Well done, lads. Well done indeed.

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