Born of Hope 

Guillermo Del Toro should be worried. His multi-million pound epic – Lord of Rings prequel, ‘The Hobbit’ – could be upstaged by a fan-made movie that cost just £25,000.
Cambridge actress Kate Madison spent her life savings and six years making her own Lord of the Rings prequel, ‘Born of Hope’. And it’s bound to change her life as the film has been seen by over half a million people on YouTube since it premiered in December.

‘Born of Hope’ features sword fights, CGI creatures and the sort of sweeping action set pieces that made the original trilogy so successful. However, while the first three cost hundreds of millions of pounds to make and featured some of Hollywood’s biggest names, ‘Born of Hope’ cost just about the same as the catering budget on a Hollywood movie, starred amateur actors and was shot in England’s Epping Forest.
“The film has gone down really well with the fans and some say it is even better than the Peter Jackson movies, which is amazing. They have all been very supportive and would love us to make more films," she said.
It all started when Madison spotted a Lord of the Rings fan film competition, which asked budding filmmakers to create a five-minute epic in the style of the films. However, she had greater ambitions than just a short movie.
Spotting a story buried in a couple of paragraphs in the appendices of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, she decided to tell the story of Aragorn’s parents.
Madison explained to The Daily Telegraph: "Aragorn is an extremely important person in Lord of the Rings. But we don’t know much about him except he is a ranger and becomes king. People wanted to know where he came from and what his people were like before he becomes king.
"I used a couple of paragraphs in the appendices and we followed a timeline Tolkien had written at the back of the book so we had certain facts to follow, but the rest we had to make up.”
Pouring her £8,000 life savings into the project, raising an extra £17,000 by posting a trailer online, she spent years with a 400-strong cast and crew who worked with nothing on their ‘no-budget’ epic. They would camp in tents in a bid to shoot early, while Madison worked as an office temp between shoots in a bid to pay her bills.
While she didn’t win the fan competition (date of entry has long since closed) – she is heading to Hollywood in a bid to get the film distributed.

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I finally did it – yay!


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JK Rowling: The fringe benefits of failure

Extraodinary insight, clarity and an inspiring speech. We just don’t know how lucky we all are…

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

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