The LEGO Star Wars Movie Making Contest was a brickfilming contest hosted officially by The LEGO Group in association with RealTime Media, Inc in 2007. The theme of the contest was to create a Star Wars brickfilm of 3 minutes or less that featured parts from the official LEGO Star Wars line of sets. It was geared towards people who had not created a brickfilm before, offering tips on how to make one as well as sample films, and served as the starting point for many brickfilmers, including Dylan Woodley, Harrison Allen, Gregory & Garry Moore, and Chris Wynn.
The contest was not viewed favourably by the entrants from the community of Brickfilms.com at the time, as they had reason to believe that most of their films were not considered in the selection process to get to the voting stage.
The LEGO Star Wars Movie Making Contest was launched by The LEGO Group in 2007 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars. It was announced in May 2007 in the LEGO Club magazine and at the Star Wars Celebration IV. Information was posted on LEGO's website in mid-June. The contest had a dedicated website, located at legostarwarsmoviemakingcontest.com.
The end date was listed as the 30th of August 2007, but this was in fact the date on which the judging of the contest was to conclude. Submissions were to be accepted from the 28th of June until the 28th of July. No more than 3000 entries were to be accepted. The contest was open only to residents of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, excluding Quebec. Submissions were divided into three age categories; 6-12, 13-17 and 18+. Entries were required to make use of LEGO Star Wars products and to be three minutes or less. A playlist of located entries to the contest can be found here.
The judging phase consisted of two parts. The first occurred at the same time as the submissions. Submitted films would be evaluated by a panel of judges. Films would be scored in the categories of content/story, creativity, originality and portrayal of LEGO Star Wars products, each with a weight of 25%. Selected films would be displayed in a gallery on the contest's website as honourable mentions. Nine films, three in each age bracket, would be chosen as semi-finalists. These were the films judged in the second phase of judging, the public vote. Viewers could vote on a semi-finalist in each category to determine the three winners. The deadline for voting was August 30, 2007.
A set of prizes was awarded to the winner of each age bracket. This consisted of a $500 gift certificate for LEGO Shop at Home, a copy of LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga for the game system of the winner's choosing and a personalised plaque signed by the president of the LEGO Group and the president of Lucasfilm.
The contest was aimed primarily at people who had no prior brickfilming experience. Material was provided with the contest to introduce the concept of brickfilming. This consisted of a one-page PDF with tips for animation and filmmaking in general, and three example brickfilms. These three were Airlock by Erik Varszegi and Ron Turcotte, Digested by Keith Malone and a third film which lacks a title or credits. Additionally, a pack of Star Wars sound effects was supplied for use in contest entries.
The contest caused controversy among entrants from the community of Brickfilms.com, particularly during the judging, but also with issues beforehand. The rules of the contest were not posted until around July 4, long after the announcement of the contest. Once they were released, the first major controversy began. When the rules were first posted, they called for entries "using only LEGO® products from the Star Wars 2007 collection." This sparked a hugely negative reaction from the community, seeing it as overly limiting, even being interpreted as potentially disallowing the use of baseplates. The segment of score devoted to portrayal of the product line was also met with negative reception. Representatives of the LEGO Group were contacted over the issue, clarifying that the contest was not limited to only 2007 sets.
The main controversy arose during the contest judging. Most of the community's films were not selected as honourable mentions, despite many films which were perceived to be of much lower quality being selected. It was speculated that the entries were not even watched by the judges due to being submitted close to the deadline. Members contacted various representatives of the LEGO Group and Realtime Media, receiving conflicting information over whether their films had been viewed for judging.
Three finalists were chosen in each age category, and one winner was chosen from each group of three. The full list of finalists is not currently known.
12 and Under:
- Safety First by Peter Iwasiwka
13 - 17:
- An Average Death Star Day by Eden Sanders
- Another known finalist believed to have been in this age bracket is an unknown film by Riley Santiago.
- A Remote Location by Stephen Cox and Brian Cox
- The contest rules
- The tips offered on how to make a film
- The contest page on LEGO's website
- Dylan Woodley mentions starting from the contest
- Chris Salt and Gregory Moore briefly explain the contest controversy
- Jonathan Vaughan sums up the contest controversy under The Exiguous Eschewal
- Article about the contest on a Star Wars fan site
- Brickfilms.com thread about the contest
- FBTB thread about the announcement of the contest
- Press release for LEGO's booth at Star Wars Celebration IV
- Earliest archive of the Star Wars section of LEGO's website with the contest displayed
- Archived front page of legostarwarsmoviemakingcontest.com
- Front page of the gallery
- Page showing impatience for the rules in late June.
- Page noting the release of the rules and the beginning of controversy over the rules.
- Page with a quote from the rules when first released
- Page with baseplate question
- Response from the LEGO Group regarding the product restriction
- Arend Hintze's assessment of the contest
- Posts about contacting Realtime Media and the LEGO Group
- 12 and under winner page
- Article about Peter Iwasiwka's win
- 13 - 17 winner page
- 18+ winner page
- LEGO website Star Wars videos page archive