words: Bonnie Burton

At this year’s Star Wars Fan Movie Awards presented by Lucasfilm and Atom at San Diego Comic-Con International, Solo Forever won the Best Comedy Award. chats with Los Angeles-based filmmaker Trey Albright about his award-winning film Solo Forever.

What prompted you to make a Star Wars fan film? How has George Lucas and his films influenced your work?

I was prompted by the website. The fact that it’s out there for anyone to do. That’s pretty cool. George Lucas’ movies were my childhood. Star Warsand Indiana Jones where in constant rotation in the VCR. I remember climbing all over my parents car try to re-enact a scene in Raider’s of the Lost Ark. Climbing on the side of the car, opening the door and swinging in feet first. Kicking the hell outta some Nazis. I think that’s the kinda action hero I’d like to be. Really just wanted to be Han Solo and Indiana Jones rolled up into one. Maybe with a pinch of John McClane.

What is the back story regarding your film?

I’ve been creating sketches for about a year now and I was having a conversation with a writing partner about what he did with his action figures once he got too old for them. He said he lit them on fire. HA! I thought that was great cause I shot mine with a pellet gun. I remember shooting most of them and I kind of felt sad as I was doing it. But I was getting older and girls were interesting, and they didn’t play Star Wars. It was just a part of growing up; and who wants to do that?!

What were some of the challenges and surprises that happened to you as you were writing/directing/filming your movie?

The real challenges came when we where shooting the cut aways. It was just me and Darren shooting. So shooting the door opening to reveal what was happening in the closet was tricky. Darren’s arm wasn’t long enough to open the door and get the full shot at the same time. But some fishing line saved us. Shooting the ocean scene was hard as well. Again it was just me and Darren and some very cold water. I sent the Falcon out on one wave the batted it right back at me.

On the second try I went a little further out with it. It sailed well but, a little too far out. I couldn’t get back to it without diving all the way in. So I’m taking off my leather jacket when this rogue wave comes up and flips the raft with the Falcon on it. The raft does two barrel rolls and on the second the Falcon was NOT on it. I gasped and screamed and dove in. But the rip tide took it! I really did almost cry that day.

What are some of the technical aspects of your film? What did you shoot and edit with?

That is why I have Darren Hafford. He’s my tech man and he rocks it! All I can answer on that is Canon 7D and Final Cut. That’s all I know.

Who were all the principle people in helping get the film made? Who would you thank if your film won an Academy Award?

I have to thank my mother. Then I have to thank my darling Elyse Mirto for her support on and off the set. She produced this along with Jane Petrov. Jane introduced me to the one man crew that is Darren Hafford. Gotta thank Darren for his supplying such immediate support to a dude he just met. Thank you guys!

Why do you think recognizing fan films is important?

It’s the every-mans Oscar I guess. It’s important to recognize that the people who make your latte or deliver your pizza have a passion for filmmaking and this is in support of that. That’s a good thing. People need encouragement in the early years of film making. This is a great way to do that.

Do you have aspirations to make films as a career? Or is this simply a labor of love?

WHAT?! And give up my job as waiter?? I”ll have to think about it.

If you could meet George Lucas, what would you say?

I’d ask, what would he say are the invaluables he’s learned from Irvin Kershner and his own experience. And maybe ask to get a tour of Skywalker Ranch!

Watch all the fan movie winners here:
Atom: Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge


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