Ringers: Lord of the Fans Premiere: Los Angeles
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Ringer Celebriel writes: Ringers celebrated the November 22 launch of Ringers: Lord of the Fans with a Hollywood screening and party Wednesday night. The screening took place at the Vista Theatre on Sunset Boulevard, where so many Los Angeles Lord of the Rings events have taken place. The theatre itself even appears a few times in the film. Fans gathered outside for a line party featuring costumed elves, hobbits, and even a wizard. Two elves held up a sign to passing traffic that read “Honk if you love hobbits!” Lots of Ringers who appear in the film, some interviewed, others flashing by in montages, were also present.

Hal Eisner from LA Channel 13 (UPN) interviewed fans outside the theatre for the 11 o’clock news, assisted by cameraman Robert Howard. Inside, Eisner introduced the people who made Ringers possible: Carlene Cordova, Cliff Broadway, Tom deSanto, Jeff Marchelletta, and Director of Photography Josh Mandel. During the screening, there were lots of yells and applause when people recognized themselves or friends in the film.

After the screening, there was a 20 minute Q&A with the filmmakers. In response to one question, Cliff made clear the differences between “Ringers” and “Trekkies,” saying of fandom, “We celebrate it not exploit it.”

Composer Robin DiMaggio was also introduced. Robin created the film’s music, incorporating all the different music styles in the film. Cliff spoke of the magical feeling of working in the Capitol Records building, where so many famous artists worked before.

The “Ringers” project goes back to 2001, to the early days of TheOneRing.net, when Cliff and other staff members would go to conventions to interview people involved in the films. They started talking to fans at the conventions as well, and “Ringers” grew from there. It was a matter, Cliff said, “of being in the right place at the right time.” In the course of that journey they started their own production company and shot 186 hours of film, which were edited down to 97 minutes for the finished film. It’s all been digitized, so there’s plenty available for future projects.

It was also announced that noted fantasy author Peter S. Beagle, who attended the screening and party, was working on a “Ringers” companion book. Mr. Beagle will work from the production team’s extensive research and those 186 hours of film.

In other breaking news, Cliff announced that in honor of the film’s DVD street date on November 22, he will get his first tattoo, with the experience broadcast live on radio. (Perhaps the location of the tattoo limited the possibilities for live television.) There’s still talk of “Ringers” sound track album and maybe in future a Special Edition.

When asked about their best experiences working on the project, Colleen said it was working with her fellow filmmakers and going to New Zealand, which she described as “a magical world, totally gorgeous.” Tom added, “Lord of the Rings fans have a soul and spirit that’s incredible.” Jeff described the fan community as “warm, earthy, caring, and compassionate.”

Had they sent the finished film to Peter Jackson? Yes, said Carlene, but they haven’t heard anything yet, as he’s working round the clock finishing “King Kong.”

Many great segments had to be cut from the final film either because of time constraints or rights issues. Segments that were hard for the filmmakers to cut included Elijah Wood’s interview on The Tonight Show and footage of the Middle Earth campus at UC-Irvine.

The party took place across from the Vista at Rudy’s Barbershop and featured a silent auction of posters, books, jewelry and a very famous part of pants, as well as costume contest, music, food and drink. Hal Eisner did a live segment with partygoers on the 11 o’clock news in addition to showing segments filmed earlier in the evening.

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