‘Star Wars’ documentary by LU alumni to screen Monday

Bradley Weatherholt, 25, said he was introduced to “Star Wars” through the prequels. However, he soon found out that not everyone loved the trilogy as much as he did.

Poster“I was probably like 12 or 13 or something,” he said. “That was the first time that I learned that people didn’t like Jar Jar Binks.”

Weatherholt has turned his love of the movies into a documentary exploring the influence of the “Star Wars” universe.

The Reaud Honors College will host a free screening of  “The Prequels Strike Back: A Fan’s Journey,” Jan. 30 at 3:30 p.m.,  in the Executive Event Room of the Reaud Administration Building. A Q&A featuring the writer and director of the film, Bradley Weatherholt, will follow the screening.

“I remember the moment where I found out there was a difference (of opinion),” Weatherholt said. “I used to do AtomFilms Star Wars competitions back in the day, Lucasfilm would sponsor it.”

Weatherholt said the winner of the annual contest made fun of Binks, a character he really liked.

Weatherholt said he liked all episodes from the ‘Star Wars’ series, but unbeknownst to him, there was a growing dislike for the prequel trilogy that began after the 1999 release of “Episode I: The Phantom Menace.”

“(It) was the opinion of those disappointed people — the older generation,” Weatherholt said. “You got to remember, 10-year olds are talking to 30-year-old men at that time — there is no internet. You only talked to your friends about the things that you liked, so your circles were smaller.”

After graduating from Lamar University with an MBA in 2012, Weatherholt decided to create his own indie studio, Ministry Of Cinema. In 2015, he created an Indiegogo campaign to fund a documentary about the prequels from the perspective of fans, critics and experts. The response raised more than three times the amount he originally expected.

“When we made the film, we weren’t thinking about making a ‘Star Wars’ fan film,” he said. “We wanted to make a movie about cinema, and it just so happened to be about ‘Star Wars.’ I wanted to be able to inject as many different ideas in film theory into the movie, and inspire a desire to learn those kinds of things.”

Weatherholt said it’s important to review cinema with a critical eye.

“There isn’t one interpretation to this kind of thing,” he said. “It’s up to you to discern whether they’re valid.”

Weatherholt said ‘Star Wars’ movies are often passed down like a torch.

“The story is about father and son,” he said. “When I traveled, the question I would always ask is, ‘What was your first experience watching Star Wars?’ Nine times out of 10, it was, ‘Oh, my dad took me,’ or, ‘My mom.’

“It didn’t have to be mom or dad — it could have been either. With both, it’s a family thing. Most of the times it was dads because, you know, we like spaceships and stuff like that.”

The documentary begins with a young boy watching “Star Wars.” Weatherholt said he is actually passing “Star Wars” onto the next generation — his son. One of the big points he is trying to make, he said, is that the films should be enjoyed by everyone.

“‘The Prequels Strike Back’ seems a little misleading in that it seems like it’s argumentative, but I didn’t want the film to be argumentative,” he said. “I ultimately wanted it to be a message of like, ‘Hey, let’s all get along.’”

Weatherholt said that the documentary was carefully planned out before shooting began.

“There are other people, they just go out and get a whole bunch of stuff and let these story kind of happen as they’re filming, and that’s a really interesting way to shoot a documentary,” he said. “I hope to get to make a couple more and try that out.”

Weatherholt said that, at the end of the day, “Star Wars” isn’t a movie to be taken too seriously, but rather, enjoyed.

“It’s an incredibly well-done children’s film that is filled with mythology and filled with interpretation,” he said. “To say it’s a children’s film doesn’t mean it’s worse — that’s just means that’s what it is.”

For more information on the movie, visit unlearntheprequels.com.

Trevier Gonzalez

UP Multimedia Editor

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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