Uncovering Jedi Junkies
An Interview with Director Mark Edlitz
September 23, 2010
Jedi Junkies, a film by Mark Edlitz, showcases the stories of extreme Star Wars fans. Fans featured in the film include a woman who dresses up as Slave Leia, a club the choreographs real lightsaber battles and even a guy who built a Millennium Falcon in his backyard. Director Mark Edlitz talks about shooting his Star Wars themed documentary.
What is Jedi Junkies?
|How did you break into the film industry?
I went to NYU Film School. Martin Scorsese went there and I figured if it was good enough for him it would be good enough for me. After graduating, I worked on a few movies including Batman Forever. ”But I mostly worked on really small independent films.
Eventually my friends and I made our own indie-feature film called The Eden Myth - - which I wrote and directed. Some of my friends from NYU including Jerry Kolber (who has produced a lot of reality TV shows) and Adam Davis (who wrote the film Just Friends with Ryan Reynolds) worked on Jedi Junkies. Jerry is the producer of Jedi Junkies and Adam was a cameraman and all around cheerleader.
When did you see your first Star Wars film? Are you a Star Wars fan?
I saw Star Wars in 1977 when it first came out. But I saw it so late in its run the theater was pretty empty! Of course, I was blown away by it. I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I’ve seen the original trilogy more times than is cool to admit.
Jedi Junkies is a documentary about extreme Star Wars fans.
How did you decide to shoot a Star Wars documentary?
We figured we’d make a documentary because it was something we could do cheaply. We didn’t need to wait for someone to give us “permission” to make it.
We also needed to make it about something that we knew a lot about and also cared a lot about. Something that would keep us excited and interested during the long period of time it would take to shoot and edit the movie. So, naturally we decided it should be about Star Wars.
What kind of research did you do for Jedi Junkies?
I know an awful lot about Star Wars so we didn’t need that much research about the movies themselves. The harder part was finding the right fans to interview.
How did you select the fans featured in the film?
We reached out to Star Wars fans using the social network sites. We used MySpace, Meet Up, Facebook and CraigsList. We also met fans at conventions. And some fans would give us tips about other fans.
How did shooting Jedi Junkies compare with other projects that you'd done? What was the same and what was different?
Jedi Junkies is my second feature film. It took 4 year to make it. Compare that with The Eden Myth which we shot in about 21 days and edited in four or five months. This took 4 long years to a long, long time to shoot and edit.
Can you describe a typical day working on the film?
The shooting of the film did not have a typical day. It was always different. One day we were watching the NY Jedi rehearse and the next day we watched John Bardy shoot his fan film. On another day we’d watch AeroSith perform their songs at a convention. Part of the fun in making the film is how diverse each day was.
Editing the film was a bit more routine. Stephen Walker (the editor of Jedi Junkies) deserves most of the credit for shaping the film. He took countless hours of footage and made a coherent film.
Editing also involved eating a lot of pizza and Twizzlers.
What was the most challenging and rewarding part about making the Jedi Junkies?
The most challenging part was developing a level of trust with the people we interviewed. Getting them to feel comfortable enough with us to trust that we would not take pot shots at them. That we wouldn’t take what they said out of context to make them look foolish.
The most rewarding part was talking to and meeting really passionate Star Wars fans. Fans who are brave enough to express their love for Star Wars in really interesting and unique ways.
Describe some of the fans you interviewed.
We profiled a really interesting group of fans. There’s Flynn and the NY Jedi who get together several times a week to practice their mad Jedi skills. They are Jedis-in-training.
Candy Keane does CosPlay and dresses up as Slave Leia. She’s had so much success doing that she’s been able to own up her own costume shop called Three Muses Clothing.
Bob Iannaccone builds and sells his own light sabers called Advanced Light Weaponry.
AeroSith make Star Wars inspired music.
We also interviewed the Chad Vader guys. Who are very funny and created one of the most popular Star Wars fan films.
And speaking of fan films there’s also Dennis Ward who built a life size Millennium Falcon in his backyard. Love that.
We also interviewed Olivia Munn and the actors who played Darth Maul, Boba Fetta and Chewbacca.
How can people watch the film?
Star Wars fans can buy or rent Jedi Junkies at Amazon and iTunes. Only $9.99 to buy and $2.99 to rent. They can also get the film or watch the trailer through our website JediJunkies.com.
A big thanks to Mark Edlitz for taking the time to share his story with SWBookZone.com. For more information about Mark or Jedi Junkies visit JediJunkies.com.
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