Whether they’re done through crowdfunding efforts or a pickup by Hollywood, short films are being turned into features left and right these days (or being promised for such at least). But how many of these adaptations are of shorts made 35 years ago? Roger Christian’s Black Angel went viral when it was posted on the web a couple weeks ago, having otherwise been unseen since 1980, when it played with The Empire Strikes Back in UK cinemas, so it’s almost like it’s a new thing. At the time, the filmmaker teased an announcement for June 2. Today’s the day, and here it is: as we guessed, Christian is doing a feature version.
The project has been set up for a crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo, where the goal is $100k. In its first few hours, Black Angel has already raised almost a third of that. At this rate, Christian is sure to wind up with more money than needed. The production is actually already mostly financed – fortunately he’s not trying to make a great fantasy epic, which he’s comparing to Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, for only $100k – and the money he’ll get from the crowds is to ensure the best design and effects work, most of which he assures will be practically done with computers employed only when absolutely necessary.
Black Angel will be based on the initial treatment for a feature version Christian wrote decades ago and will star fantasy film vets Rutger Hauer and John Rhys-Davies, appearing alongside some as-yet-unrevealed younger actor playing the lead knight character, Sir Maddox. By that knight’s side in his journey will be Laura Weissbecker, best known for the 2012 Jackie Chan movie Chinese Zodiac. There’s no mention of who will shoot it, but the short is partly notable for its cinematography by Roger Pratt. Can he come back for the feature? What if the project raises extra money from the crowds?
If the feature winds up being as good as the short, Black Angel could be a saving grace for Christian’s directorial career, which has never been great but which has a particular low point with the notoriously awful Battlefield Earth (he also did second unit on the two least favored Star Wars movies). If this isn’t great, either, we’ll still always love the guy for his early work as a production designer for Star Wars and Alien.
Watch the Black Angel campaign video below, and visit the Indiegogo page at least to see some more concept art.