It’s not one of the most prominent fan-films within the very limited Star Trek community, but it appears the tsunami of the Axanar copyright infringement lawsuit have taken out another production in its wake.
Joe Geragi, a character actor and producer, has decided to shut down his project, “Star Trek: Constellation.” The fan project was designed to be a prequel to the original “Star Trek” episode “Doomsday Machine,” featuring Capt. Decker and what is a brand-new crew for his ship, the USS Constellation, at the Mirdani Space Station.
“His life’s mission takes a drastic turn in a frantic search against an unknown enemy,” the production’s Facebook page said about the Decker character.
“Due to the Axanar lawsuit and the ripple effect from it, CBS is actively protecting their Star Trek intellectual property and appear to be ending fan-fiction,” Geragi wrote on the production’s Facebook page Friday. He added that fan-films were an “activity that was once allowed, tolerated and even encouraged a short time ago.”
But unlike the lawsuit CBS Corp. and Paramount Pictures filed against Axanar Productions and its main principal Alec Peters, or the reported shutdown of Tommy Kraft’s planned “Star Trek: Horizon” sequel, Geragi admits he’s being proactive. He said he was not contacted by CBS, and instead made a voluntary decision “given the current circumstances.”
Last December, CBS and Paramount went after “Star Trek: Axanar,” a production that raised some $1.3 million from fans. The producers had rented out long-term premium studio space in Los Angeles, and were offering all kinds of quasi-licensed merchandise like model kits and coffee, in exchange for donations. Although the production boasted a “locked” script in August with filming set this past January, when the lawsuit hit just after Christmas, sets were only partially constructed. And, according to director Robert Meyer Burnett, the film had not even been cast.
Outside of the Axanar lawsuit, only one other production was reportedly shut down, which was “Star Trek: Federation Rising.” Kraft, the producer of that fan-film effort, was seeking $250,000 to make the project — far more than the $50,000 he produced “Horizon” for, which now has more than 1 million views on YouTube.
In the Axanar case, the defense has filed a second motion to dismiss, which the court will likely rule on following a May 9 hearing.
For Geragi, he’ll still be active with his production shingle, Cakepop Ninja Productions, but his focus will instead be on original projects. Unless, that is, fan-films feel safe again online.
“Over the many [months] that have gone by, we’ve put together a solid team and an exciting first episode script,” Geragi said. “I truly regret that Decker’s backstory will not get to see the light of day, at least in the immediate future. If the Trek fan-film climate changes — either by a favorable Axanar verdict or a change of direction at CBS/Paramount — we may yet fly again.”
To read Geragi’s full (and edited) post, click here.
h/t The Watcher