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Fantastic Fest 2019 First Wave of Films Includes ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’ and ‘Jojo Rabbit’

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Fantastic Fest 2019

With our coverage of the Fantasia Film Festival winding down this week, we now have another genre film festival to look forward to. The first wave of films that will be playing at Fantastic Fest has arrived, and we couldn’t be more excited.

This year marks the milestone 15th anniversary for the festival and once again, our staff will be attending the fest!

There’s a lot of great movies we’ve already seen and recommend including Ant Timpson’s genre-bender Come to Daddy, the bloody, the insane black comedy Why Don’t You Just Die, and the offbeat coming-of-age thriller Knives and Skin. There are also a lot of movies we can’t wait to see including Taika Waititi‘s Jojo Rabbit and the world premiere of Jim Mickle’s serial killer thriller In the Shadow of the Moon.

Check out the full list of the first wave of films from the press release down below and be sure to check back in September for our coverage of the fest.

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Fantastic Fest 2019

4X4
Argentina, Spain, 2019
North American Premiere, 93 min
Director – Mariano Cohn
A 4×4 car will be the battleground between a brash thief trapped inside and the mysterious man who will do anything to keep him imprisoned.

BLOODY BIRTHDAY: Presented by AGFA + Arrow Films
USA, 1981
World Premiere of Restoration, 85 min
Director – Ed Hunt
The classic Killer Kids slasher, newly restored by Arrow Films and presented by AGFA.

THE CLEANSING HOUR
USA, 2019
World Premiere, 95 min
Director – Damien LeVeck
Reverend Max and his best friend Drew have a hit web show where they make a pretty good living faking exorcisms for hundreds of thousands of fans until the evening a real demon takes over and terrorizes their crew.

COME TO DADDY
New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, 2019
Texas Premiere, 94 min
Director – Ant Timpson
When 30-year-old Norval receives a letter from his estranged dad begging him to visit, he is set on a weird path of discovery, unusual encounters… and a lot of violence.

COSMIC CANDY
Greece, 2019
World Premiere, 95 min
Director – Rinio Dragasaki
Anna, an eccentric supermarket cashier with an obsessive taste for a trippy treat called Cosmic Candy, undergoes a quirky transformation when forced to care for a ten-year-old neighbor girl.

THE DEATH OF DICK LONG
USA, 2019
Austin Premiere, 107 min
Director – Daniel Scheinert
Dick is dead but no one knows how, and Zeke and Earl are desperate enough to go to any lengths to stop anyone from finding out the reason… but a small town in Alabama is not the kind of place where secrets can stay buried for long. Soon all hell breaks loose, engulfing the two men in a reckoning they had never even considered.

DEERSKIN
France, 2019
North American Premiere, 77 min
Director – Quentin Dupieux
When Georges buys himself a deerskin jacket, he will find his life on a collision course with madness, crime, and the desire to be the only man wearing an overgarment.

DIE KINDER DER TOTEN
Austria, 2019
North American Premiere, 90 min
Directors – Kelly Copper & Pavol Liška
In this experimental adaptation of an epic Elfriede Jelinek novel, a group of Austrian tourists is killed in a traffic accident before reanimating as zombies and terrorizing a local pub.

DOGS DON’T WEAR PANTS
Finland, Latvia, 2019
US Premiere, 105 min
Director – Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää
A heartbroken heart surgeon is introduced to the dark and extreme when his daughter gets her tongue pierced, sending him down a path of pain, dreams, life, love, death, and awakenings.

FIRST LOVE
Japan, 2019
US Premiere, 108 min
Director – Takashi Miike
When aspiring boxer Leo discovers that he may not have long to live, he goes all out to help drug-addicted call girl Monica, facing down gangsters, assassins, corrupt cops, and much more over the course of one long night.

FRACTURED
USA, 2019
World Premiere, 100 min
Director – Brad Anderson
An unfortunate accident at a truck stop means Ray has to rush his daughter to the nearest hospital for a broken arm, but when his family disappears, he soon finds himself in a frantic fight to discover what happened.

THE GOLDEN GLOVE
Germany, 2019
North American Premiere, 110 min
Director – Fatih Akin
Based on true events that transpired in the grimy slums of 1970s Hamburg, loner-turned-murderer Fritz Honka stalks his local drinking spot, The Golden Glove, in search of his next victim.

HAPPY FACE
Canada, 2018
Texas Premiere, 97 min
Director – Alexandre Franchi
In Attendance – Director Alexandre Franchi and Actor E. R. Ruiz
An attractive teenager infiltrates a support group for those with facial differences in hopes of learning how to connect with his cancer-stricken mother in Alexandre Franchi’s (THE WILD HUNT) deeply personal, often hilarious, and powerfully inclusive sophomore feature.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON
USA, Canada, 2019
World Premiere, 115 min
Director – Jim Mickle
In 1988, a Philadelphia police officer doggedly hunts a serial killer whose crimes seemingly follow no pattern, but he hasn’t considered how far the repercussions of his hunt may go.

IN THE TALL GRASS
Canada, 2019
World Premiere, 90 min
Director – Vincenzo Natali
Adapted from the eponymous novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill, IN THE TALL GRASS follows siblings Cal and Becky who find themselves trapped within a vast field of tall grass when they venture in to answer the cries of a young boy.

JOJO RABBIT
USA, 2019
US Premiere, 108 min
Director – Taika Waititi
In Attendance – Director Taika Waititi
Writer director Taika Waititi (THOR: RAGNAROK, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE), brings his signature style of humor and pathos to his latest film, JOJO RABBIT, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis as JoJo) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.

KNIVES AND SKIN
USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 109 min
Director – Jennifer Reeder
The disappearance of popular teenager Carolyn Harper has a profound ripple effect across her small midwest town in Jennifer Reeder’s hypnotic musical mystery.

KOKO-DI KOKO-DA
Sweden, Denmark, 2019
Texas Premiere, 86 min
Director – Johannes Nyholm
When a disconnected couple take a camping trip in an attempt to mend their marriage after tragedy, they find themselves tormented by a peculiar band of misfits.

THE LAST TO SEE THEM
Germany, 2019
Texas Premiere, 79 min
Director – Sara Summa
One summer evening in rural Italy, the Durati family is murdered during a home robbery. THE LAST TO SEE THEM chronicles the previous — and final — day of their lives.

LIMBO: Presented by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!
USA, 1999
Texas Premiere of Restoration, 55 min
Director – Tina Krause
Tina Krause’s unseen and unreal shot-on-video horror movie, newly preserved by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!

THE MCPHERSON TAPE: Presented by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!
USA, 1989
World Premiere of Restoration, 63 min
Director – Dean Alito
The world’s first found footage horror movie, newly preserved by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!

MEMORY: THE ORIGINS OF ALIEN
USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 93 min
Director – Alexandre O. Philippe
Following up his deconstruction of PSYCHO’s shower scene in 78/52, documentarian Alexandre O. Philippe is back with his analysis of ALIEN, its origins, and the impact of Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi shocker.

NAIL IN THE COFFIN: EL VAMPIRO CANADIENSE
Canada, 2019
World Premiere, 88 min
Director – Michael Paszt
In Attendance – Director Michael Paszt
An intimate and heartfelt look at professional wrestler Vampiro’s past, and his new life navigating the management of a lucha libre federation in Mexico, while raising his teenage daughter in Canada.

NIGHT HAS COME
Belgium, 2019
World Premiere, 56 min
Director – Peter Van Goethem
In Attendance – Director Peter Van Goethem
In a dystopian society, the population is threatened by a virus eating its way through the brain, erasing memories. After developing a treatment to store and classify memories, the State requires citizens to comply.

THE PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION: Presented by AGFA + Severin Films
Canada, 1985
World Premiere 2K Restoration, 93 min
Director – Michael Rubbo
The Canadian children’s oddity takes youthful fantasy to strange new places in a brand new 2K restoration.

THE POOL
Thailand, 2018
Texas Premiere, 90 min
Director – Ping Lumprapleng
When a dog trainer and his pet finish their commercial gig, it’s time to head home and enjoy a lazy afternoon floating in the pool… until he wakes up to the pool being drained and no way out.

REFLECTIONS OF EVIL: Presented by AGFA
USA, 2002
World Premiere of Restoration, 137 min
Director – Damon Packard
The new ground zero for gonzo horror surrealism in the 21st century, newly preserved by AGFA.

ROCK, PAPER, AND SCISSORS
Argentina, 2019
North American Premiere, 83 min
Directors – Macarena García Lenzi & Martín Blousson
When Magdalena returns to Argentina to confront her half-siblings about her share of the inheritance, the stage is set for a family reunion both bloody and brilliant.

SHE MOB: Presented by AGFA + Something Weird
USA, 1968
World Premiere 2K Restoration, 82 min
Director – Harry Wuest
A gang of lesbian prison escapees kidnaps a gigolo in a 2K preservation of this sexploitation classic.

SOMETHING ELSE
USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 83 min
Directors – Jeremy Gardner & Christian Stella
In Attendance – Directors Jeremy Gardner & Christian Stella
When Hank’s longtime girlfriend Abby leaves him, he spirals into a cycle of drinking and depression. But it’s the monster that shows up every night that’s really driving him crazy.

SON OF THE WHITE MARE
Hungary, 1981
US Premiere 4K Restoration, 81 min
Director – Marcell Jankovics
A psychedelic animated cult classic is back on the big screen in this brand-new restoration. Three brothers join forces to restore order in their kingdom, encountering bizarre and mind-bending challenges along the way.

SWALLOW
USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 94 min
Directors – Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Beautiful newlywed Hunter has a perfect home, perfect life, and perfect husband. When the pressure to maintain that perfection builds after the announcement of her pregnancy, she develops an unusual craving: swallowing random household objects.

TAMMY AND THE T-REX: Presented by AGFA + Vinegar Syndrome
USA, 1994
World Premiere of Restoration, 91 min
Directors – Stewart Raffill
Fully restored and ready to tear your head off. Literally.

THE WAVE
United States, 2019
World Premiere, 87 min
Director – Gille Klabin
Frank (Justin Long), a bored corporate lawyer, decides to shake it up with a wild night out. In the process, he takes a mysterious drug that launches him into a mind-bending time travel adventure.

THE WHISTLERS
Romania, 2019
US Premiere, 97 min
Director – Corneliu Porumboiu
Corneliu Porumboiu mixes Romanian New Wave with Hollywood noir beats as he follows a corrupt detective who helps a wealthy criminal escape from jail by learning the ancient, secret language of silbo whistling.

WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE!
Russia, 2019
Texas Premiere, 100 min
Director – Kirill Sokolov
In Attendance – Director Kirill Sokolov
After agreeing to kill his girlfriend’s father, Matvei gets in way over his head when he arrives at her parents’ apartment to learn her dad’s a cop.

WRINKLES THE CLOWN
USA, 2019
World Premiere, 78 min
Director – Michael Beach Nichols
In Attendance – Director Michael Beach Nichols
Pennywise isn’t real. But Wrinkles is. This documentary explores the story of the infamous freaky clown from Naples, Florida who makes a living being hired by parents to terrorize their naughty children.

YOU DON’T NOMI
USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 94 min
Director – Jeffrey McHale
In Attendance – Director Jeffrey McHale

Using cleverly edited clips of Paul Verhoeven’s genre-spanning filmography, Jeffrey McHale’s video essay explores the decidedly un-titillating and delightfully inexplicable SHOWGIRLS and its continued, ever-expanding legacy.

Humans by birth. Gamers by choice. Goomba Stomp is a Canadian web publication that has been independently owned and operated since its inception in 2016.

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Let’s Discuss the Revamped Sonic the Hedgehog Design

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The internet has breathed a collective sigh of relief following the release of a new trailer for the upcoming Sonic The Hedgehog movie. Some leaks a few weeks back that turned out to be correct showed the design that we see but the trailer shows a lot more of the new redesign of the world renowned video game character. The movie has been the subject of much attention-mostly negative- after the initial trailer was released six months ago. The first trailer (which initially announced a release date of November 2019) was incredibly poorly received due to the odd design choice for the titular character. With small eyes, a tiny snout and human teeth, the original design was weirdly realistic and resembled an odd humanoid rather than the blue cartoon hedgehog that we all know and love.

The first design for Sonic looked a bit like a child in a Sonic the Hedgehog suit. Creepy to say the least.

The new trailer shows off a brand new look for Sonic which is far more in sync with what we already know for the character. He is definitely an animated character, with the exaggerated features that he has always had in every other iteration. The movie itself still looks cheesy as hell but it looks like a tolerable, even kind of enjoyable sort of cheesy.  The controversy surrounding the terribly received first Sonic design has been so prolific that some even argued that the whole thing has been a marketing ploy and that the character was never meant to look as bad as he originally did. Whatever the case may be in terms of what went down behind the scenes of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, it is clear that even if the film is terrible it will attract a substantial audience of people just curious as to how the whole thing is going to turn out. As a fan of Sonic since the 90’s when I was little, I’m probably going to be one of those people.

Sonic is now appropriately cute, fluffy and more in line with his usual style.

I’m still kind of hoping it can break the curse of the video game movie-like Detective Pikachu did- but alongside the aforementioned cheesiness, it looks like a pretty generic movie aimed at kids rather than diehard fans of the Sonic franchise. Flop or not, at least Sonic is looking far more adorable and less like he might murder you in your sleep. It also shows how the filmmakers were willing to listen to their audience and implement changes following feedback. Incredibly vocal feedback at that.

The comparison between the two designs shows just how much the animators have worked to create a brand new Sonic. Their hard work has certainly paid off.

Sonic the Hedgehog is due for theatrical release on February 14th, 2020.

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Anamanaguchi – [USA] (Album Review)

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Few acts boast such renown amongst uber-nerdy video game enthusiasts as Anamanaguchi. Unveiling their debut EP ‘Power Supply’ in 2009, the Chiptune pioneers have pushed their unique brand of 8-bit powered Rock and Pop across various releases, including 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game soundtrack, and 2013’s Kickstarter funded 22 track LP ‘Endless Fantasy’. And with ‘Endless Fantasy’ being their last LP (excluding their stuffed to the brim ‘Capsule Silence XXIV’ compilations), to say fans have anticipated ‘[USA]’ is an almighty understatement.

Six years is a while, so has Anamanaguchi’s latest batch of tracks been worth the wait? Seasoned fans Harry and Kyle are on the scene to offer their takes, from how ‘[USA]’ stacks up against the band’s other offerings, to its effectiveness as an artistic whole.

Background With Anamanaguchi

I first heard Anamanaguchi around 2010. At the time I was neck deep in my Slipknot phase (a phase I’ve yet to grow out of judging by how much I replayed ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ this year), so their goofy electronic schtick didn’t tick my boxes. But as time passed I developed a stronger fondness of them, so much so that I enthusiastically backed their 2013 LP ‘Endless Fantasy’ on Kickstarter. Now I’ve seen them live twice, followed their progress over the years, and can proudly proclaim my superfan status. – Harry

The late 2000s saw a shift in pop culture: suddenly, geek chic was all the rage. G4 was at the height of its popularity, pixel art infested countless pieces of media, and video games were undeniably cool. Few other pieces of media encapsulate this cultural zeitgeist more than Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game. Based on the popular comic by Bryan Lee O’Malley, the Scott Pilgrim game featured Anamanaguchi’s crunchy pixelated Rock sound, which melded perfectly with the colorful 16-bit beat-em’-up gameplay. Older Anamanaguchi albums are more than just music: they’re a trip back in time to a brighter, more innocent era of pop culture and gaming. – Kyle

Introducing [USA]

I was excited for ‘[USA]’, but that’s stating the obvious based on my prior words. The LP kicks off with its titular track, introducing affairs with an amalgamation of predictably glitchy bleeps ‘n’ bloops. It’s straight up Anamanaguchi, their Chiptune flair intact. This is good, as Anamanaguchi sans Chiptune is like spaghetti sans sauce (still awesome, but lacking a key ingredient). “USA” is chanted as instrumentation morphs stylistically, crescendoing in dynamics and tempo, and setting the stage for the lead single.

“Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” is an LP highlight. Stepping out the gate with Vocaloid-y singing, an aesthetic of grandiose gorgeousness is speedily cemented. This later juxtaposes with the rapid-fire rhythms of Luke’s drumming and manic synthesizer arpeggios that run around like an 8-bit-ified (Sega Master System) Sonic the Hedgehog. This mental meld of melody, Drum and bass, and all manner of other musical magic finally sinks into a sea of atmospheric spookiness, concluding in an out of left field (yet utterly engaging) way. “Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” avoids predictability through each and every beat of its journey, but nails catchy accessibility to a tee. A masterclass in creative songwriting, it sets ‘[USA]’s’ bar sky high. – Harry

The weeks to ‘[USA]’ releasing were positive ones, marked by enticing singles like “Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” and “Air On Line”. Anamanaguchi’s distinct Rock-flavored Chiptune style had undergone a stylistic shift in the band’s 2013 release ‘Endless Fantasy’, where the band shed off some of its punk flair in favor of dreamier synth tones. In the six years between LP releases, Anamanaguchi experimented with singles and EPs featuring sonic palettes characteristic of modern J-Pop (“Pop It”, “Miku”). While the band stretched its legs with poppier beats, it did mark a further departure from the traditional Rock-oriented sound that had defined much of their earlier work.

‘[USA]’ in many respects displays a return to Anamanaguchi’s roots. Tracks like “On My Own (feat. HANA)” and “Air On Line” boast driving guitar riffs, thumping drums, and fluidly complex intricacies. Yet, it’s more than clear that Anamanaguchi has evolved beyond their geeky beginnings to cultivate an airy soundscape of bright pastel colors and crystal clear tones. It doesn’t always hit the mark, but the highs that ‘[USA]’ can reach prove that the guys have still got it. – Kyle

Negative Bits

Unfortunately, said sky high bar is scarcely met again throughout the rest of ‘[USA]’. Plenty of tracks, like “The C R T Woods” and “Overwriting Incorporate”, are serviceable, but fall short of the laser focused compositional direction and melodic magnificence that Anamanaguchi are so super slick at. ‘[USA]’ suffers from banality, with tracks like “Tear” and “We Die” meandering noisily without focus, and big chunks (particularly the interlude-like tracks “Speak To You [Memory Messengers]” and “Apophenia Light [Name Eaters]”) feeling akin to ‘Capsule Silence XXIV’ cuts (i.e. decent demos, but not kickass LP standouts). – Harry

Much like Harry, I found a large chunk of the album rather dull to get through. Admittedly, Anamanaguchi has an undeniable talent for their synth instrumentation. However, what pushes their work beyond generic electronic music is their ability to anchor that instrumentation to a melodic through line built on catchy hooks and unexpected turns. “Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” is one of the few tracks that manages to pull off this floaty, ethereal sound because it moves forward with purpose and constantly engages your curiosity. The same can’t be said for several of the other synth-heavy tracks, too lost in their own sound to offer anything truly engaging. – Kyle

Positive Bits

Nevertheless, there are flashes of brilliance here. “Sunset By Plane (feat. Caroline Lufkin)” is Anamanaguchi firing on all cylinders, delivering energetic poppy bombast in spades. Porter Robinson’s co production is evident in “Air On Line”, resulting in a smooth stomper of happy hooks. “B S X (feat. Hatsune Miku)” incorporates choppily glitched-out singing from the iconic Vocaloid, serving as a pseudo-sequel to the 2016 single “Miku”. “On My Own (feat. HANA)” sees Anamanaguchi’s Chiptune/Pop/Rock melting pot bubbling away again. And speaking of Chiptune, it’s wonderful to hear mountains of 8-bit eccentricity throughout ‘[USA]’, proving even as their sound matures, Anamanaguchi still celebrate where they came from with beaming pixelated smiles. – Harry

As a whole, ‘[USA]’ still deserves a place worthy of praise in Anamanaguchi’s discography. Porter Robinson only collaborated with the band for “Air On Line”, but his style bleeds wonderfully into tracks like “Up to You (feat. meesh)” and “Sunset By Plane (feat. Caroline Lufkin)”. The kawaii-infused J-Pop rhythms and hooks are infectiously catchy, but don’t let that fool you: Anamanaguchi haven’t lost their edge. “B S X (feat. Hatsune Miku)” and “On My Own (feat. HANA)” show that the band can reach back into their deep musical pockets and bring out their signature hard Chiptune Rock to surprise you with something intimately familiar. – Kyle

Final Thoughts

In typical Anamanaguchi fashion, ‘[USA]’ is ambitious from start to finish. ‘Endless Fantasy’ is bloated, but stylistically spot on, whereas ‘[USA]’ trims the fat, but gets a little lost in its journey. Glistening gold sits alongside stale pies, and that description is a fitting metaphor for elements of ‘[USA]’: it’s odd, and doesn’t make much sense (and perhaps that in itself is a metaphor for the real life USA?).

Still, when Anamanaguchi’s latest is good, it’s really good, and there’s bundles of genius in the 8-bit boys yet!

Check out, stream, buy or consume ‘[USA]’ in your preferred capacity by clicking HERE!

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Star Wars Fan Films Embrace the Essence of A Galaxy Far, Far Away

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There is no doubt that dedicated fans are capable of creating brilliant, fan-made content, but the Star Wars fan base has a habit of going above and beyond in making incredible works of art that often surpass official entries in the franchise. Two relatively recent short fan films — one released last week, the other released in March of this year — are great examples of this.

The first is a 1970s/80s-style cartoon from YouTuber Wilkins Animation called Dark Empire Episode One: The Destiny of a Jedi. This animated short is incredibly reminiscent of classic cartoons — so much so that it is difficult not to feel a pang of nostalgia upon watching it. The style gives off a He-Man vibe due to the quirky animation, stellar voice work, and vibrant colour scheme. The story is set after The Return of The Jedi as Han, Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO embark on a mission to save Luke and Lando, who are stranded on war-torn Coruscant. I won’t spoil anything in case you want to check it out for yourself, but the story is engaging, and I couldn’t help but feel that I wanted to see more when it came to an end.

Have a watch below if you want to see more, and to check out Wilkins Animation’s Patreon to support their work, click here.

The second fan made film is a slightly older (from March 2019) one called Battle of the Dreadnoughts, by YouTuber EckhartsLadder. The film is significantly shorter than the 12-minute Dark Empire cartoon, clocking in at about three and a half minutes. It depicts a space battle between the New Republic’s Viscount Class Star Defender and the Empire’s most dangerous of all its weapons, the Eclipse Super Star Destroyer. Battle of the Dreadnoughts may be short, but it is astounding in quality. Upon my first viewing, I was certain I had accidentally clicked on a scene from the movies rather than a fan-made project. The accuracy, attention to detail, and sheer scale blew my mind and — as with the Dark Empire animation — left me wanting more from the content creators involved.

Check out EckhartsLadder’s Patreon here and their Twitch account here.

There is no doubting the talent of the Star Wars fan base, but these two films in particular are incredible works of art both in their own right and as Star Wars fan projects.

For more Star Wars, have a read of our Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer breakdown.

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