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Origin of Fan Films

The earliest known fan film is Anderson ‘Our Gang, which was produced in 1926 by a pair of itinerant filmmakers. Shot in Anderson, South Carolina, the short is based on the Our Gang film series; the only known copy resides in the University of South Carolina’s Newsfilm Library. Various amateur filmmakers created their own fan films throughout the ensuing decades, including a teenaged Hugh Hefner,[1] but the technology required to make fan films was a limiting factor until relatively recently. In the 1960s UCLA film student Don Glut filmed a series of short black and white “underground films”, based on adventure and comic book characters from 1940s and 1950s motion picture serials. Around the same time, artist Andy Warhol produced a film called Batman Dracula which could be described as a fan film. But it wasn’t until the 1970s that the popularization of science fiction conventions allowed fans to show their films to the wider fan community.

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