Or, how terrific indie creators are finding ways to get projects made outside of the studio system with the help of fans.
Cox, the man who put the green glow in the trunk with “Repo Man” and (wisely) thought Gary Oldman would make a pretty raw and dangerous Sid Vicious (“Sid and Nancy”), is enlisting backers to help him fund a low-budget intergalactic war story about grunts replacing fuses on a spaceship.
The feature-length “Bill the Galactic Hero” is based on the 1965 comedy sci-fi novel by Vietnam veteran Harry Harrison. Harrison wrote and co-wrote several stories about Bill including “Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Robot Slaves” and “Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Ten Thousand Bars,” and he was also responsible for the novel that would ultimately be adapted into the film “Soylent Green.” In the novels, Bill is an innocent farmboy drafted into the Space Troopers where he serves as a fuse tender, keeping the flagship flying in a war against the reptilian Chingers.
If you look at some of the other satirical work in Alex Cox’s filmography, you can see “Bill the Galactic Hero” fitting right in. Cox is not stranger to working outside of the studio system for odd or out there work with ambitious misfires (“Revengers Tragedy”) and outright odd, kind of bad ideas (2009’s “Repo Chick”). This project is a bit different from the iconoclastic director’s other output in that he’s enlisting his students at the University of Colorado’s Film Studies Program to help him make “Bill the Galactic Hero,” using locations at the school for the feature.
It’s not quite a student film: Cox has brought in VFX studios Tippett Studios (“Robocop,” “Starship Troopers”) and Collateral Damage (“Repo Chick”) to supervise the effects work on “Bill the Galactic Hero,” with a mixture of models, green screen, and CG for this (mostly) black and white production.
The campaign is currently at $22,000–a bit short of its $100,000 goal, but there’s still 27 days to go if you’d like to help Cox get his next strange, possibly beautiful vision out there.