Mike Horn and Deathstar over San Francisco

All the way back in Dec, 2016 when we launched Show 2 - Star Wars Fan Films Michael and I talked about the film Deathstar over San Francisco (oh how time has flown since then!).  I was recently looking through some old interviews I did when I was writing for a Star Wars Fan Film Blog called Crossedsabers Reviews and I found this little gem.  I had contacted Mike Horn the film’s creator and he emailed me back.  Here is his email about the film.

Back in 2007, I used to live on Telegraph Hill in SF, which has some amazing views of the city, and one night the moon was sitting really big and low over the skyline, and the thought just popped in my head: wouldn't it be cool if that was the Death Star instead of the moon. I was just starting to learn motion tracking with After Effects, so the next night I went out and shot the moon, motion tracked it, and replaced it with a still photo of the Death Star. I was just going to post a video of that one shot, but I kept shooting more scenes over the course of the next year.

I didn't know 3D at the time, my skills were limited to just 2D compositing in After Effects and Photoshop, so all of my shots were conceived with what I could pull from the films. I would frame-by-frame mask out whatever vehicles I wanted to use from the actually movie footage, then re-time it and composite it into the SF footage I shot. It took me a year working on and off a few hours at a time (each shot took on average 10 hours to complete), but I finally put together 2 and half mins worth of FX shots and posted it to Current.com in August 2008. (Current was where I worked at the time). It got a million views overnight on Current. A few weeks later I put it up on YouTube, and it got a million views there after a few days.

In 2009, I submitted the video to the official Star Wars Fan Festival, which was hosted by Atom.com at the time. It became a finalist, and I got to go to Comic Con for the award ceremony, but didn't win any awards. I thought it was a sure bet to win best VFX, but they got rid of that category that year  A lot of people ask about the parrots in the video. They are wild parrots that live on Telegraph Hill, most likely because of the abundance of trees. It's believed the parrots were escaped pets that started off as a few birds that have bred over the past 30 years to become a colony of over 500 birds. They've also cross-bred with another species to create a new species unique to San Francisco.
The protest scene in the video was a protest of the Olympic torch run through SF, protesting against the Olympics being held in China (for China's human rights abuses). There was a guy holding a really clever sign depicting the Tienanmen square incident with a stick man drawing standing in front of a tank with the Olympics logo for wheels. I erased the tank and replaced it with a stick-drawing of an AT-ST I drew.
Feel free to hit me up with any more questions, and good luck with your site! I look forward to reading about other fan films you've discovered.
- Mike Horn

I really love this film, I think it is very inventive and completely different from all of the other many Star Wars fan films.  I would love to hear what you all think though.  Feel free to comment and let me know!

Until next time gang, goodbye for now.