Last month, Joe Sill uploaded his short film onto the internet. What happened next was a hurricane of exposure as “Kara” was shared out to every Star Wars fan page and community on the world wide web. The film was discussed, analyzed, and praised by the fans. Behind the film is a young man whose passion for Star Wars gave him a chance to gain recognition from the most passionate fans on earth. Honor The Force was lucky enough to grab a moment of the directors time and ask him a few questions.
Honor The Force: In less than a month, your Star Wars short film Kara has reached almost 200,000 hits on YouTube and has elicited an overwhelmingly positive reaction from all the hardcore fans online. Were you anticipating such a tremendous response?
Joe Sill: I didn’t set out with many anticipations, other than that people are probably going to have pretty polarizing opinions. Star Wars is an intensely loved universe, so people are going to feel strongly. Since I love Star Wars as a fan as well, I figured it was a universe I wanted to speak to.
Honor The Force: What was it that led you to create this tale of Kara, a seemingly wayward force user?
Joe Sill: I’ve always been interested with a character that doesn’t know about the Force. Rarely in the Star Wars films have we seen someone who just wants to be normal. Kara hides her abilities for the most part, and I think there’s something interesting to that. She’s almost afraid or ashamed to showcase it, and her emotions drive her when she does. It’s not calculated.
Honor The Force: This short film is amazing in the fact that it has such an epic scope, yet focuses on a very small group of characters. In your own words, can you tell our readers what feelings you hope viewers walk away with after seeing Kara?
Joe Sill: I hope people view Kara as a very meditative day in the life of Kara and Markus. I think we purposefully made it almost completely without dialogue (save for select moments to hint at backstory and for exposition), so that we really live with these characters for a day — that being said.. a very eventful day. I intended to have a large scope to the world, but focus really intimately with a singular moment between this father and daughter’s larger journey.
Honor The Force: The visuals on this production are top of the line. Could you describe the special effects work that went into this project?
Joe Sill: The special effects were done largely by myself and my good friend Luc Delamare (http://lucdelamare.net/). Neither of us are FX artists by trade (Luc is a cinematographer) but we both wanted to make this film happen, as a passion project for both of us. It was just evenings we had off from our other projects. It was a lot of fun!
Honor The Force: In the credits you give special thanks to the infamous 501st Legion. How instrumental were they in process of shooting?
Joe Sill: The 501st were amazing — and also integral to literally 60% of our cast. Six awesome guys from the Legion came down to the Dunes with us during our weekend of shooting and got into their armor and gear, and started working with us. It was surreal. I had a real moment there. I seriously geeked out to getting to direct a Stormtrooper.
Honor The Force: Getting a film made and making a film are often cited as two separate tasks. What was a major concern that you encountered during the planning or production of the film?
Joe Sill: Since most of the people on the project have all worked together before, it wasn’t hard for us to convince each other to do it. Planning it becomes clockwork once we all sign on and commit, since we’ve all had experience beforehand. On the creative side however, getting all the details — the costumes, the armor, the location, and authentic visual effects — all the Star Wars centric detailing, that was the hard part. Our costumer Robin Ray (who made Kara/Markus’ outfits), Lisa Saunders (who generously lent us her X-Wing outfit), and the 501st (who brought their Trooper squad to the table) all made it happen.
Honor The Force: What lasting impact do you hope your short film will have on the Star Wars fans?
Joe Sill: I’d love for Star Wars fans to ideally feel that same feeling I do about SW when watching it, but see a different perspective to the world that we worked to create. It’s a little bit more intimate, a little more unhinged, and a little less fantastical. We tried to give a realistic and authentic approach to the world.
Honor The Force: What are some existing or upcoming projects, that you are involved in, that our fans should be on the lookout for?
Joe Sill: I am working on a few Nike commercials that I think should be pretty fun. Those will come out…and then who knows? I’m developing a few feature projects which is ideally the kind of length of film I’d like to live in when doing these projects moving forward.
Honor The Force: If you could give one piece of advice to a novice or aspiring film maker what would it be?
Joe Sill: If you have a project or a dream you want to make happen, you 100% need to push as hard as you can to make it happen. Bring your contacts, your friends and resources together and figure out a way. You have to self-start your passion. Nobody will give you a push out the gate as hard as you will. When you show people your energy for something you want to do, typically people will bring that energy back to you, and it will become a movement. Then, you can make magic happen.
The magic of “Kara” still has many of us in awe. We thank you, Joe Sill, for your passion to create and for helping us all Honor The Force.
To see more of Joe’s work as a director, visit his YouTube Channel.