There’s another Tolkien fan film in the works and this time it involves the first age of Middle-earth. It’s entitled Storm Over Gondolin and is a non-profit film that was inspired from the tale of Gondolin, which is featured in a few of Tolkien’s works such as The Silmarillion and The Book of Lost Tales 2. It will be shot in English and subtitled in different languages which will be available to view for free on the internet. Storm Over Gondolin is directed by filmmaker, Dimitri Frank, and produced by Sylvain Urban.
During the First Age of Middle-earth, in the Lands of Beleriand, the shadow of the Dark Lord Morgoth is growing : he has divided the Elves, and only Turgon, the last Elven king, poses a threat to his ultimate victory. While Morgoth is about to find out the location of Gondolin, all hopes rely on Tuor, a human, and his guide named Voronwë, a shipwrecked elf orginating from the city of Gondolin.
A few years after reading The Lord of the Rings at the age of 12, Dimitri read The Silmarillion. One story in particular stood out to him and it was Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin; his first reaction was that “it could be a great film!” After cinema school and several short films later he decided that he was ready to start a new and ambitious project about the tales of Middle-earth.
Storm Over Gondolin is currently in its pre-production stage, meaning that scripts are still being written and the crew is still in the process of creating the sets, landscapes, costumes, and weapons. Though they are using the book as a reference, the crew is trying hard to avoid too many influences from the LotR film trilogy. “The aura carried by a Tolkien book can be a blessing… or a curse, if you mess it up. So the stakes are quite high, not necessarily in terms of material loss or benefit, but more in terms of personal reputation. The whole team has to live up to the standards of the Tolkien universe, and also try to not stray away too much from what Peter Jackson has done,” one of the conceptual artists, Christophe Vacher, says.
Because the tale of Gondolin is incomplete, imagination will play an important role in this adaption. And taking into account that not everyone has read The Silmarillion (yet! – as Dimitri points out), the crew team will have to make sure they put in a clear background of the people and events. “Books and films are different ways to tell stories, so we have to cut some parts that work in the books, but a movie. And of course, we have to sometimes take liberties to have a credible story from the beginning to the end.”
Working alongside Dimitri are three other screenwriters and don’t worry! Dimitri assures that they have good knowledge of the tale and are working very carefully to make a great movie. They work on the film scene by scene, each writing their own version. Dimitri then takes the best of each and builds a newer and final one. “It is working very well, and for now we have a great script.”
As for the art direction, Dimitri already knew how the movie would look. The conceptual artists create their own vision of the set or character and he is there to help guide them in the right direction. “Most of the time, the conceptual artists have very good ideas which change my own vision.” In the end, the look is a team effort.
Below you’ll find a couple exclusive images. The first is one of the conceptual artworks that will help bring the story to life, and the second is a make-up test for an Orc. The test was completed last July by make-up artist David Scherer. It took up to three hours to complete and I’m sure we can all agree it looks brilliant!
When two time Emmy award winner, Christophe Vacher was contacted by Dimitri a couple years ago his first reaction was, “What is this? A fan movie? Really? Oh boy, what is this going to look like?” But after watching other Tolkien fan films such as The Hunt for Gollum and Born of Hope, Christophe decided to give this film a try. Storm Over Gondolin gives him the opportunity to explore Tolkien’s world with his own vision, which he has not had the chance to do previously.
Christophe has nothing but positive things to say about his experience so far. “Dimitri has left me quite free, and we seem to have very similar visions of what the visuals would look like. Every time there has been difference of views, they were always very minimal, and we always talked it out, I would add new elements, etc… —which is a very normal phase in the process and evolution of concept artwork for a project. I have worked with very difficult directors in the past, so, definitely, working with Dimitri is a breeze.”
We can breathe easy knowing that this story is in the hands of not only experienced filmmakers and artists, but dedicated fans. Fans who are determined to make the best film possible.
“What is very important for me is to build a movie by fans and for fans. Some fans write fanfictions, others make paintings… this is my way to pay tribute to J. R. R. Tolkien who was a dream maker for us and all future generations.”
A crowdfunding page will be set up in 2014 to help Storm Over Gondolin become a reality and be on the lookout for their first video blog! It will be released on September 22.
About Dreamlight Vision
Dreamlight Vision is a French association created in 2013 in order to create and produce this fanfilm. Dreamlight Vision produces other film projects as well as festivals and other cultural events based about J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy.