Guest-written by Ben K.
Flash to then….
A cart rattles down Broad Street on a collision course, two men (one of whom has an interesting speech impediment) row into the city on a freezing river, a terrier watches it all begin to unfold to the tune of millennium hands and shrimp, and I was introduced to Discworld, created by author Terry Pratchett, for the first time.
Fifteen years ago, a friend of mine gave me a copy of The Truth and said I might enjoy it. Forty novels later, I still find myself reading the series over and over. I’ve walked the Shades with Sam Vimes, kept the machine running with Vetinari, solved everyone’s problems with Granny, and even walked the pits of Hades with Rincewind. The humor drags me back time and again, and the heart holds up a mirror to our world in a way that sparks my imagination. Goblins taught me that beauty can be found in rubbish, an orc taught me that family can be found in the shove, and Leonard of Quirm taught me that even the brightest of us have their weaknesses. These books have become part of the fabric of my life.
Flash to now…
The wind is blowing down from the mountain, filling the air with ice. An elderly barbarian and his horse (interestingly speaking without impediment) ride off to fulfill a lifelong quest that involves finding a bridge, and I am once again introduced to Discworld.
Troll Bridge, by Snowgum Films, is a short film based on a short story of the same name originally published in a collection of short stories in honor JRR Tolkein. The project is thirty minutes long (forty minutes for the director’s cut) and positively oozes quality – one trip to the website shows you why. The team working on the project are not only Pratchett fans, but also got his permission to create this film before he passed in March of 2017. The film, which was entirely crowdfunded and built on what appears to mainly have been the blood, sweat and tears of volunteers, is currently on the festival circuit; but if you would like to be able to view it in the comfort of your own home, you can do so by purchasing a BluRay of Troll Bridge for $85.
Eighty five dollars (and that’s cutting my own throat) might seem like a lot of money but when you consider the exclusivity and collectible nature of the BluRay, it is still a lot of money. So why should anyone drop that sort of coin on a forty minute movie?
For a very long time the moving pictures that Hollywood has given us have been based on what they tell us we will like. We are now at the point where we can tell Hollywood what they are going to give us. Crowdsourced fan films that can turn two or three hundred thousand dollar budgets into millions force Hollywood to consider new properties. Just as Ryan Reynolds was able to get Deadpool made based on a short film, Troll Bridge could just as easily springboard Discworld from the page to the silver screen.
Citing the ongoing success of the MCU, fans have proven that they are willing to invest in a multi-character universe for more than a decade. The Lord of the Rings and the The Hobbit trilogies showed that fans are willing to shell out for swords and sorcery. The Harry Potter franchise proved that, when done lovingly, audiences want the books that live, dog eared, on night stands turned into years of films. I would argue that the time is now to visit the geological pizza, supported by four giant elephants, carried through space on the back of Great A’Tuin. With stories ranging from wizards displaced in time, to murder mysteries, to the strangest grandfather to ever speak in ALL CAPS, all the way back through a postmaster controlling an army of golems, the universe Pratchett created is just waiting to be brought to life by people who care about the source material; to be discovered by a brand new audience.
Until that day comes, however, we have Troll Bridge.