Kate Madison as Elgarain in Born of Hope.  Photo by Richard Unger
Kate Madison as Elgarain in Born of Hope. Photo by Richard Unger

When Kate Madison’s fan prequel to the Lord of the Rings, Born of Hope, was released in December 2009 it instantly raised the bar for fan film productions and was hailed as an accomplished and in every respect a worthy addition to Peter Jackson’s trilogy.

Three years and 23 million online views later Kate has revealed that she is now planning to raise the bar for fantasy web series.  “Web series have become a popular and important way for independent filmmakers to showcase their work and compared to a film, the potential for shaping an on going story line for, and with, the fans is really appealing”.

Ren encounters the leader of the Kah'Nath.  Concept art by Max von Vier
Ren encounters the leader of the Kah’Nath. Concept art by Max von Vier


Ren is the story of a young woman, who lives a quiet life in a small village until her face is branded by a powerful ancient spirit and she becomes feared by all who see her.  Dramatic events, involving the ruling warrior order of the Kah’Nath, force her to leave her safe existence and journey across the land to find the truth behind the web of lies she’s believed in all her life.

“The first season will consist of 6 ten minute episodes and is scheduled to go into production in the next few months.  It’s so exciting to be creating a brand new fantasy world and I’m already working with concept and story artists to brainstorm what the next season could bring” says Kate.

Ren and Hunter's dramatic escape.  Concept art by Max von Vier
Ren and Hunter’s dramatic escape. Concept art by Max von Vier

The inspiration for the show is rooted in great fantasy stories like The Lord of the Rings, but epic books and TV series like Game of Thrones and the more lighthearted Legend of the Seeker have also influenced the creation of REN. One of the most important features of Born of Hope was the fan base that helped finance, design and even act in the film and we are keen to involve the fans even more in this project. The series is in the very early stages, with only the first season written, so we will look to the online fan community to influence what happens… and yes, even be in it!

RenAvatarKate needs your help to get the show off the ground and has launched a Kickstarter campaign which runs until the 19th August.  There are some great rewards to getting involved and she is releasing exciting updates throughout the campaign.


BOHfixed-1Director Kate Madison, who produced the hugely successful Lord of the Rings prequel, gathers some of the main actors for an online screening of the film with live commentary “It’s going to be a fun evening with many of the still untold stories from behind the scenes, live music, questions from fans via Facebook and Twitter and the start of my next project to crown the event” says Kate and adds “It’s totally unscripted, so anything can happen!”

Continue reading “Born of Hope online screening with live commentary TONIGHT!”

On the eastern flank of Epping Forest, a short walk in from the town of Debden, there is a huge tree, lying on its side, upended by a storm. It was in this clearing that independent film-maker Kate Madison, along with dozens of game volunteers, filmed Born of Hope, a homemade prequel to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy that has caused a great stir since its release in December. A production pulled together over four years with a budget of a mere £25,000 – about a tenth of one per cent of the cost of Jackson’s epic – it has impressed critics and recorded close to a million views on video streaming sites. The upended tree seems a fitting place for it all to have begun. More..

PJ writes: BBC Radio interviewed Kate Madison about her prequel “Born of Hope.” The interview is between minutes 14:00 and 18:00 here.