Showcase of the winning feature film from 2023.
THE LAST GUARDIAN (Star Wars Fan Fiction), 78min., Canada
Directed by Kyle Parish
A Star Wars Fan Film. On the far corners of the galaxy, a lone Jedi Guardian, Cal, suffers in exile while protecting a powerful relic from a new Sith cult. Haunted by visions of his past family and the voices of the dead Sith within the relic, Cal is slowly drifting into madness, not sure what is real and what isnt. Endlessly tormented by his wife, the Sith cultist Aaylia, and hunted by her army of cloned assassins, Cal believes he is making the ultimate sacrifice to protect the galaxy. But when a Republic pilot, Ilia, crashes on his world, Cal is forced to confront his past and present, while determining the fate of not just the galaxy, but his family.
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Movies are only as good as the characters that fill them. A film can look and sound terrible but if the characters and their stories grab you, then you will continue to follow them. I build all my stories around characters that I find very human. The setting might be in a fantasy or science fiction realm, but the characters are very much people you could see yourself in the position of. It’s this core philosophy that drove The Last Guardian forward.
I never expected to shoot another Fan Film. I’ve done several and thought I was ready to move past it. 2019 was a very difficult year for me. I was dealing with a lot of different things and it was during this that I started developing The Last Guardian. Immediately I had the idea of this strong, mythic almost, character who was broken down to the point of forgetting who they actually were. And the idea that this was actually caused by them being manipulated by someone they once loved was very interesting to me. We see in the film the consistent back and forth struggle between Cal and Aaylia. Two people who, despite everything that’s happened to them, still love each other, but they are on very different paths. Their child, Jinn, who is stuck between, forced to pick sides and in this case, make a huge sacrifice. It’s a situation I thought would relate to a lot of people and something I wanted to explore. The question of how far you would go for family, for love.
That was one part of what The Last Guardian is exploring but the other and equally driving focus is on acceptance. Coming to accept the person you are. We all have things that we keep inside. Truths that we might not want to accept or perhaps don’t want to believe about ourselves. Cal must face this deep look at himself but so must the character of Ilia. She carries within her something that her mind and soul have hidden from her. A truth that’s devastating. I wanted to start to peel the layers back and explore this kind of repressed trauma coming to light. While what the trauma is isn’t directly spelled out in the film, the pieces are there. As Ilia becomes more stressed, the truth slowly shows itself. It’s a mystery for the audience as it is for Ilia. If you watch closely and do piece the mystery together, it’s a shocking truth, something to be explored in a follow up.
In all, The Last Guardian is a study of dealing with trauma and family. Yes it is a Fan Film, which means it can’t be sold for distribution. That is never the point behind these. Telling the story is the point. Exploring these characters, enjoying the journey is what truly matters. Fan Films may not get the same appreciation as other projects but that doesn’t lessen the importance of the stories they can tell. A chance to explore new things in a universe we love, while allowing the filmmakers, actors and crew, to hopefully get recognitions for the hard work they have done to bring these stories to life on the minor budgets we have for such projects. In the end we do this because we love it. And I hope you will join us in loving it too.
Thank you for your consideration,