Documentaries on specific circles of fandom are nothing new. Ever since the 1997 film Trekkies hit big at art house cinemas (and maybe before that in the UK with Dalekmania), we’ve been treated to similar looks at followers of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, My Little Pony, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Alien, Firefly/Serenity, The Big Lebowski, John Hughes and the horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres in general. And that’s just the movie and TV obsessions (we can go back further for, say, heavy metal fans interviewed in parking lots). The fandom doc subgenre will only be growing now thanks to crowdfunding, because there’s seemingly no easier kind of project to appeal to a large niche crowd than something about a subject that appeals to a large niche crowd. It’s the same reason two of the most successful campaigns we’ve highlighted here are those involving Superman and Batman.
Next in line for such a documentary is the fanbase for Back to the Future. While not as well known or unified a devotion as those to Star Trek and some of the other properties that have gotten the treatment in the past, BTTF fandom is still quite big. There have been conventions and obsessive websites and demand for replicas of props like the self-lacing sneakers and hoverboards and flux capacitors. The biggest collector’s item for any BTTF fan, though, is a DeLorean, whether one actually used in the movie or just simply one of the rare originals from the short-lived car manufacturer. Understandably, the documentary Back in Time is using the vehicle and the proud owners of their own model as a foundation for a look at the cultural impact and fan following of the 1985 time travel movie. And, yes, there’s a Kickstarter campaign for that.
Directed by newcomer Jason Aron, the film is just beginning production and isn’t slated to premiere until October 2015, when it’s booked to debut at the 30th anniversary celebration called We’re Going Back. That’s also when copies of the doc on DVD and digital file, offered as incentives to pledgers, will be available (the day afterward, to be exact). But the funding campaign has until mid August to raise at least its goal of $33, 120. Regardless of whether or not you contribute, you’ll be able to follow the production and keep tabs on any other updates over the next two years via its website, Facebook page and Twitter.
Fandom docs come in all levels of quality, and it’s not totally clear just from the Back In Time campaign trailer what sort this one will be. Personally, I’m not that crazy about looking through people’s BTTF collections, though I am amused by the guy who has dressed up mannequins to go along with his vehicles at car shows, especially since he has a blue VW bus complete with terrorists. Hopefully it does get into the culture and particularly the way we ponder the futurism of Back to the Future Part II and continue to quote the dialogue and have the debates on the paradoxes and other questions we’ve had over the decades and just the way the trilogy has indeed permeated pop culture (by the way, am I the only one reminded by a certain SNL skit from 1991 seeing the Back In Time title?).
If it’s too focused on the car, well, we’ve seen some of that before. Not counting the verite film DeLorean by documentary legends D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus from 1981 (obviously way before BTTF came out, let alone spawned fans, and actually mostly about John DeLorean), there was the 2004 BBC doc Car Crash: The DeLorean Story and then a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2009 for “Back to the DeLorean,” which is now titled DeLorean: Living the Dream and set for release next year.
Check out the trailer and campaign spiel for Back In Time below.
Do you want to see this film? Enough to help fund it?