Millions of Lord of the Rings fans have shocked Hollywood studios by hailing unofficial movie The Hunt For Gollum as the next big thing in the Tolkien film franchise, with many viewers proclaiming it's beats even Peter Jackson's trilogy...
"Gollum spearheads the Hollywood fan film revolution" - The Times
"Del Toro should see The Hunt For Gollum" - Total Film
“... quite simply the best amateur film I have ever seen. ...” - Eye For Film
"...amazing reproduction..." - Wired.com
Since release in May The Hunt For Gollum has been seen by over 4 million people all over the world. Made on a tiny budget of £3000 and distributed via the Internet, the film is an astonishingly high quality 40 minute movie made in England by unknown director Chris Bouchard. The response from zealous fans was so great that in the first 24 hours of release the website hosting the film couldn't cope with the overwhelming traffic and was unavailable for some time as people all the world logged on. Over a million saw it in the first week, making it the 4th most watched film in America according to a K-State web expert, beaten only by blockbusters Star Trek & X-Men Origins. The film, which depicts events leading up to the official trilogy tries to remain true to the style of the books & offers an extension to the existing films, giving fans a "Middle-earth fix" while they wait for The Hobbit movies.
Total Film magazine said "Del Toro should watch The Hunt For Gollum", while Rotten Tomatoes place it in their top 5 fan films. Other press includes The Times article "Gollum spearheads the Hollywood fan film revolution", plus coverage on BBC, ITV, NPR & blogs across the net. Viewers have said the high quality visual effects, solid acting, camera and spectacular choreographed fight sequences make for a film that pleases fans of books and films alike. Having been marketed purely through word of mouth, it became one of the most viral videos on the net. It has also won several awards, and been selected for festivals all over the world, winning "Best Fiction produced for the web" at Festival Cinema Tous Ecrans in Geneva.
Although not officially approved by Tolkien Enterprises or Peter Jackson, the filmmakers reached an agreement which allowed them to release it free to the Internet in a non-commercial manner.
To achieve a film that looks high-budget on the budget of £3000, producers used digital cameras and "broke every rule in the book" to faithfully recreate Middle-earth in England & Wales with more than 100 filmmakers working unpaid. "It was just for the love of it, we are passionate about film making even if it takes us years" Bouchard says. It took 2 years to complete.
As opposed to most fan films, this one really seems to have satisfied it's target audience. With a score of 7.2/10 on IMDB and favourable reviews on social networking sites, the filmmakers appear to have crafted a very unusual amateur film that has satisfied the hardest to please fans, including several Tolkien societies. While the unknown filmmakers from the UK haven't made a penny off the production, "it's a non-profit film, as it's something we've made because of our love of Tolkien's work, and as a homage to Peter Jackson".
Several of the crew have now been picked up by professional films and BBC productions. And yet others are working on another Rings prequel due this December called Born of Hope. Director Chris Bouchard has since had offers of funding for his next project. He says "Gollum has presented the opportunity for unknown filmmakers to tap into a huge audience, and gain credibility in a tough industry. Plus we think it's time to shake things up a little, the film industry needs new blood."
IMDB rating: 7.2/10 2,140 votes. Achieved #21 in worldwide moviemeter