FRANKLINTON, LA -- Each new film in the Star Wars series is an opportunity to grow the fan base.
Many of the fans make their own elaborate costumes that appear to be identical to those in the films. And some smaller but especially dedicated groups of fans will even make their own tribute films to post on social media.
While the fan films can be fun or even funny, often they are obviously amateur endeavors.
But not a fan film currently under production on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. People who stumble upon this production might feel like they've found the next Star Wars film's set.
The fan film is called Hopeless A Star Wars Story. A Mandeville entrepreneur named John Armijo is the film's producer.
"It really is a weekend warrior project," Armijo tell WGNO.
Along with his work as an entrepreneur, Armijo is also a familiar face around Hollywood South. Between commercials, music videos, and feature films, he's been involved in as many as 100 projects and has worked as an extra, a stuntman, and principal characters.
His fan film Hopeless is his first go round as a producer. To get a better idea of how the project is growing, Armijo says Star Wars fans from around the region are participating.
"It started as a 3 minute idea with 3 people in it, and it turned into 75, 100 people, 8 day shoot," he told WGNO while we were on-set along the banks of the Bogue Chitto River in Franklinton. "Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, everybody got together and said, 'Let's see what we can do with our talents'."
It's an all volunteer project, so nobody is making any money on the film. Armijo says the final product will be about 20 minutes long, and he plans to post it on social media and take it to comic and science fiction conferences around the country.
If you'd like to see what it's like to be on the set, click on the video button at the top of this page.
Armijo says the project still has some filming to do and he's always looking for additional fans who want to get involved.
Also, while the film is all volunteers, Armijo says he still must pay some production expenses to get the film completed. If you'd like to contribute to help cover the costs, you can at this crowdfunding campaign link.
If you'd like more information on getting involved in the project, visit its Facebook page here.