Jude Fisher HeadshotFor those of us who have made a habit out of collecting the various tie-in books that have been released alongside Peter Jackson’s Tolkien adaptations – Jude Fisher is a name that springs instantly to mind. She is the author of the Visual Companion books that have come out with each Continue reading “Creating a Visual Companion: Jude Fisher talks about her life in Middle-earth”

finalopeningtitleIn 2005 we premiered our very own documentary feature film RINGERS: Lord of the Fans at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, where  it was quickly snapped up by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for worldwide distribution on DVD and cable! It is finally available on iTunes after 7 years of hopeful waiting… you can also find it on Amazon Instant and on VUDU.

What a fun movie! Dominic Monaghan (Meriadoc Brandybuck) came on board to be our wonderful narrator! Actually this film is a time capsule of many decades of pop culture history — giving us the full story on how the world has embraced Tolkien’s masterpiece THE LORD OF THE RINGS over 50 years and more!

Winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival, RINGERS was produced in association with TheOneRing.net — this remarkable little film was forged BY fans and FOR fans, just like our website, with the production/writing talent of Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway (who hosts TORn TUESDAY every week), Jeff Marchelletta, and supercool director Carlene Cordova. It was executive produced by X-Men/Transformers guru Tom DeSanto.

With a wonderful rock-driven score and detailing all the outpouring of love bestowed on Tolkien over many generations, this film is a must-have for your digital collection! Get it on iTunes now for only $9.99!

From the original Sony Press Release:

RINGERS is comprehensive, entertaining and informative pop culture history.”
The Toronto Star


“…Will always be a salient part of ‘LORD OF THE RINGS’ history…
See it, absorb it, love it.”


RINGERSonesheetWinner of “Outstanding Achievement” Award at the
Newport Beach Film Festival






CULVER CITY, Calif. (September 12, 2005) – Sony invites you to return to the Shire with the release of the feature-length documentary RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS, direct to DVD.  In association with the popular fan-site TheOneRing.net, Carlene Cordova produced, directed and wrote this award-winning film with executive producer Tom DeSanto(X-Men, X2: X-Men United and Transformers), which charts the incredible influence and ripple-effect that Lord of the Rings has had on worldwide pop culture over the past five decades.  Whether you are a fan or first timer, critics agree, RINGERS, stands as the most comprehensive film documenting the ongoing impact of J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary achievement.

Dominic Monaghan (star of ABC’s Lost and the Academy Award® winning Lord of the Rings trilogy) narrates the documentary as it looks behind the curtain between Lord of the Rings and how it inspired so many artists of different mediums.  The film moves beyond “cult classic” and through different generations unearthing the way legendary rock musicians, filmmakers, professors, actors and authors all unite under the banner of ‘Ringer.’  Interviewees included in the film are Lord of the Rings trilogy filmmaker Peter Jackson as well as Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin and David Carradine.  Infused with a dynamic rock-driven score, irreverent cut-out animation (á la Terry Gilliam), and a centerpiece audience sing-a-long, RINGERS is a genre-busting documentary that shows how a single literary work continues to spark the minds and hearts of millions.

RINGERS continues the momentum of the motion picture trilogy Lord of the Rings, a winner of 17 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director for Peter Jackson, who made history as the first person to direct three major feature films simultaneously. 


From the official synopsis:


Ringers: Lord of the Fans is a feature-length documentary that reveals the ongoing cultural phenomenon created by The Lord of the Rings.  Very funny and often moving, Ringers shows the hidden power behind Tolkien’s books — and how after 50 years a single literary work continues to spark the minds and hearts of millions, across cultures and across time.


6919cliffsalamorganShot with groundbreaking new digital technology in 24P, Ringers explores the real foundations of Middle-earth; a community of true fans who share a common bond.  Moving beyond “cult classic” and over several different generations, the film unearths academics, musicians, authors, filmmakers, and a plethora of pop junkies — the people gathered under the banner of ‘Ringer.’  From the hippie counter-culture to the electronic age; from the Bakshi animated film to Jackson’s epic trilogy; this documentary brings together extensive footage from across the globe.  With units in Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Bonn, Germany, Wellington, New Zealand, and Oxford, England, our cameras capture the most fascinating “Ringers” and Lord of the Rings events.


What began as the private amusement of a tweedy Oxford professor has now become a new mythology for the 21st century. Ringers: Lord of the Fans shows how an adventure story published in 1954 has had dynamic ripple-effects through Western pop-culture.  Ringers carefully pulls away the veil between Tolkien’s book and the creations of art, music, and community that have been inspired by it.


Check out the official trailer here:

Once again it has been a long time since I posted in this series, but what with the run-up to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure and the reaction to it, TheOneRing.net has been a busy place, and now we’re coming up on The One Expected Party on Oscar night! But I’ll delay no longer.

In the first entry I recalled getting the permission to interview the filmmakers and going down to start my work, back in September-October of 2003. The second one dealt with my first interview and tours of the Three Foot Six office building and the Stone Street Studios. Now, more of the facilities I visited.

The Film Unit

Film Unit Oct 2003My third full day in Wellington was Wednesday, October 1. Melissa Booth called and said I could come to the new Film Unit building to meet Barrie Osborne. He, as I cannot stress often enough, was the one responsible for getting me New Line’s permission to interview the filmmakers for my book. This meeting, though, wouldn’t be for an interview. (I interviewed Barrie twice for the book, first a couple of weeks later and again during my third Wellington visit in December, 2004.) He was driving out to the old Film Unit facility that afternoon to give the people working there, sound mixers, editors, and other post-production crew members, a pep talk.

As most readers know, the race to finish The Return of the King was on by that point, and a lot of people were working long hours. I was told that Barrie often gave these pep talks, and the filmmakers really appreciated them; it was part of what gave the production that feeling of being one big family. I could at least introduce myself to Barrie and ride with him to the Film Unit; the half-hour drives there and back would allow us time to talk about my project. Continue reading “Researching The Frodo Franchise: Part 3, Places Full of Magic”

Back in July I posted the first in this series of memoirs about my work on my book, “Researching THE FRODO FRANCHISE: Part I, Off to Wellington without a Handkerchief.” I’ve been all too long in following it up, but lots of travel, including attending the “Return of the Ring” event in England in August, has interfered. I’ve got at least a dozen of these entries planned, so despite the fact that so much attention is focused on The Hobbit, I’d better get going!

This entry begins my recollections about the places where The Return of the King was still being worked on when I showed up at the end of September, 2003. They are scattered mostly around the Miramar peninsula, which was and is sometimes referred to as “Wellywood.” I gradually visited all of them to interview filmmakers or to get tours to familiarize me with the facilities that Peter Jackson and his colleagues had built up. That process had happened during the 1990s, but it accelerated to a breathless pace as the infrastructure for accomplishing the three parts of The Lord of the Rings were built and expanded.

Those facilities have grown even further as King Kong, Avatar, and now The Hobbit have been made. This is the story of how I discovered them in 2003 and 2004. Continue reading “Researching THE FRODO FRANCHISE: Part 2, Arriving in Wellywood”

[Part 1 in a series from The Frodo Franchise Author Kristin Thompson]

Me and My Book

I’m a film historian by trade. I got my Ph.D. in film studies in 1977 and have written several textbooks and academic books on various topics in the field. In 2007, my book The Frodo Franchise: The Lord of the Rings and Modern Hollywood, by Kristin Thompson, came out from the University of California press. As we all wait for the release of the first part of The Hobbit, I thought some of you might be interested in some of my experiences while researching the book. I had a lot of access to the filmmakers for interviews and was given facilities tours during the last part of the post-production on The Return of the King.

I first conceived the book in 2002, when it became obvious to me that Peter Jackson’s film (I call the three parts one film, as he does) was going to be very, very important historically for a wide variety of reasons. The technology (the techniques developed to animate Gollum, the selective digital color grading) would be revolutionary. The internet campaign was pioneering, as was the filmmaking team’s approach to cooperating with the video-game designers. It was a big franchise film—and a fantasy at that—and yet it won the respect of critics and Academy-Award voters as no such film ever had. (The Fellowship of the Ring had won “only” four Oscars, but I knew even then that The Return of the King would be awarded lots.) Somebody should write a book about it, I thought. But probably nobody would, not the way it should be done, with interviews with the people involved. Not while the film was still in production. I concluded that it was up to me. Was it possible, though, to get the kind of access I would need? I set out to find out.

In January of 2003, through a mutual friend, I was put in touch with producer Barrie Osborne. Fortunately, he was interested in having such a book written. Without him, my project would have been dead in the water. Continue reading “Researching THE FRODO FRANCHISE: Part 1, Off to Wellington without a Handkerchief”