Fan films are a tricky business. It can really go one of two ways; either the studio is flattered that you love their IP so much and if it’s good enough it gets some attention, or the studio is feeling a little litigious and they drop the old “cease and desist” letter in your lap. This is the situation the makers of the Harry Potter fan film Voldemort: Origins Of The Heir found themselves in, and their labour of love nearly never saw the light of day.
Makers Gianmaria Pezzato and Stefano Prestia had started a Kickstarter campaign to fund their prequel film exploring the backstory of Harry Potter villain Voldemort. Warner Bros caught wind of the production, and no doubt their lawyers got a bit itchy, so they were given the notice to take down their campaign. Normally that would be the end of it but in an excellent movie twist, Warner Bros weren’t the evil faceless corporation. So say Pezzato and Prestia:
“We had a private and confidential discussion with Warner Bros who contacted us during the period of the crowdfunding campaign. The only thing we can say is that they let us proceed with the film, in a non profit way, obviously.”
So the filmmakers continued, and they have since shot a very impressive teaser video, which you can watch by pressing the play button in the header above. The story follows new character Grisha McLaggen, the heir of Gryffindor, as she attempts to stop Tom Riddle/Voldemort’s rise to being the world’s most powerful wizard.
“We wondered, ‘What made Tom Riddle become Voldemort? What happened in those years, and what really went down at Hogwarts when he came back?’” Pezzato said. “There are some clues in the books which have not been transposed at all in the movies, but a lot goes unspoken. This is the story we want to tell: The rise of the Dark Lord before Harry Potter and his first demise.”
You can see why Warners might be a little worried about the film; it is technically very impressive (even that house elf looks the goods), and they’re in the midst of their own prequel franchise started with Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. It’ll be interesting to see the entire film when it’s finished, and I just know it’ll be a massive success given Potter fans massive appetite for new stories set within the universe.
VOLDEMORT: ORIGINS OF THE HEIR is planned for online release by the end of the year.