Fan films have a bit of a trouble history. Because of the tangled web of licenses and film rights, fans of properties like Star Trek and Majora’s Mask have found themselves in a little legal hot water over films they have made. It’s always a bit of a shame; while the technicality of the cases make sense, these films are usually made simply out of love for the thing, not as a way to make a quick buck. However, sometimes there is a happy ending.
Gianmaria Pezzato and Stefano Prestia had been working with Kickstarter to raise funds to make Voldemort: Origins Of The Heir, a prequel film to the beloved Harry Potter franchise focusing on the villain’s rise to power before his first death at the hands of baby Harry. Expectedly, they were contacted by Warner Brothers, the studio behind the franchise, but were able to work out a deal so they could continue with the project. Pezzato told Polygon:
“We had a private and confidential discussion with Warner Bros who contacted us during the period of the crowdfunding campaign. The only thing we can say is that they let us proceed with the film, in a non profit way, obviously.”
From the looks of the trailer, Pezzato and Prestia are putting a great deal of work into the film, between the cinematography and storytelling that will be a (non-canonical, of course) explanation of what Voldemort did during his rise to power. Snippets of the story have been told in J.K. Rowling’s books, especially in The Half Blood Prince, but much of the tale is shrouded in mystery.
“We wondered, ‘What made Tom Riddle become Voldemort? What happened in those years, and what really went down at Hogwarts when he came back?’” Pezzato said. “There are some clues in the books which have not been transposed at all in the movies, but a lot goes unspoken. This is the story we want to tell: The rise of the Dark Lord before Harry Potter and his first demise.”
Harry Potter fans are some of the most dedicated in the whole of pop culture, so it isn’t a surprise that the trailer for the film has racked up over 1.8 million views on YouTube and 30 million views on Facebook in just a few days. Pezzato and Prestia plan to have the film available for fans to stream by the end of the year, giving you just enough time to reread the books before you watch to pick up on Easter eggs.