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Montreal Premiere
  • USA
  • 2012
  • 115 mins
  • HD
  • English
Hosted by Writer/Director Patrick Read Johnson

“A great reminder of why we all love movies in the first place... this one is going to make you roar like a Wookie with pleasure" - Sean Smithson, TWITCHFILM

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away — or rather, in early-’70s Wadsworth, Illinois — Pat, a teenage geek with a big imagination, devoted his spare time and excess energy to concocting supremely amateur “sequels” to the genre cinema of the day. With his backyard and basement standing in for a Hollywood studio, he set the sights of his Super-8 on his own visions of JAWS, PLANET OF THE APES, DUEL and of course the catalyst for his crazed creativity, 2001: A SPACE ODDYSEY. His best pal Bill doesn’t entirely share his raging passion but he’s perfectly game to have his arm torn off or heart ripped out in the name of homemade sci-fi cinema — and be Pat’s comrade in discovering the delights and disasters of an average adolescent’s life. But such lives, even those in ordinary Wadsworth, have their dramatic defining moments. Pat’s arrives in a chance opportunity to visit Hollywood and while there, meet with special effects maestro Douglas Trumbull. Along that path, however, lies a fateful detour… an audience with the young, rising director Steven Spielberg, a journey through the guts of Industrial Light & Magic in its infancy, and an encounter with one George Lucas as he manically mixes up a little space-opera movie that would soon shake the foundations of cinematic art and business…

An autobiographical coming-of-age story that will resonate with the intensity of a big black monolith (or perhaps an exploding Death Star?) for an entire generation of dream-struck movie nerds (a term we at Fantasia use with great affection), 5-25-77 is a love letter to the medium with a powerful motivational message, care of filmmaker Patrick Read Johnson (SPACED INVADERS, BABY’S DAY OUT, ANGUS). For over half a decade, Read’s labour of love has languished in the twilight of production, rumours of its impending arrival stirring up the STAR WARS fanbase and various unfinished cuts surfacing at festivals. Starring John Francis Daley (FREAKS & GEEKS, BONES) and produced by, among others, Gary Kurtz (yes, the same guy who produced STAR WARS and EMPIRE!), 5-25-77 boasts richly nostalgic art direction, energetic yet impeccable editing, endless nods and winks to the era’s movies and a genuinely respectful and empathic sense for the hearts and minds of the young, and of all who remain young at heart.

Fantasia 2013 - 5-25-77 from Fantasia Film Festival on Vimeo.

— Rupert Bottenberg