Judge Minty | We interview the crew behind the fan film

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Judge Minty is one of those fan made films that shows if you put hard work and care into something the end product will show it. We here at Zombiegamer really enjoyed it as well, so we thought we would send the team behind Judge Minty a few questions and Steven Sterlacchini and Steve Green were kind enough to oblige. I would like to thank both Steve’s for their input.

SS = Steven Sterlacchini (Director)
SG = Steve Green (Director of Digital Effects and Photography)

Why did you decide to make a movie based on Judge Minty and the Judge universe?

SG – I met up with prop and costume-maker Daniel Carey George at an exhibition, and he’d mentioned that Steve S was talking about doing a short film – I’d always been interested in effects and CGI, so it seemed a perfect opportunity to help make it happen. I was also curious as to what we could get out of very little budget.

I am a big fan of the movie Dredd starring Karl Urban. Did it influence the design and story of Judge Minty in any way? If so how?

SG – Not really, Minty was under way before we heard that Dredd was being made. Daniel actually took the costume down to DNA’s offices so they could have a look at a comic version, and they did borrow the helmet for reference for a bit, there’s also a bit of Minty-related graffiti in Dredd itself, which Alex Garland kindly arranged. We were always going for a comic vibe, just to see how it could work – although originally a ‘riot-cop’ look was a possibility. Weathering stuff down was always on the cards, though with hindsight I think we could have pushed it further – it’s an aspect I particularly like about the Urban Dredd.

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How long did this project take from idea to finally being released?

SG – Well, first shooting was Dec 2009, and it got a first showing Oct 2012, but there was pre-production and I was also tinkering with additions up until the release in May this year.

How big was the team working on this?

SS – The credits come to around sixty people – including cast, but I don’t think we every had more than sixteen people working at any one time. The location crew was never more than four or five, which wasn’t really enough. In post production we were lucky that a number of professionals joined the team, such as editor Ben Woods, sound designer Travis Hefferen and composer Phil Oates, along with Jared Butler, Fryda Wolff and the U.S. voice over team.

On a project like this I assume the budget has to be kept to a minimum. Did you have any financial backing to support you or was this self funded?

SS – The project was completely self funded and was only made possible by fans and professionals giving their time for free. Our main expenses were location and studio fees. We splurged a little securing Edmund Dehn for the role of Minty, but it was worth every penny and more besides, as he really holds the film together.

Did you have any contact with 2000AD/Rebellion about this project? If so, how helpful and supportive were they?

SG – Yeah, they were fine during development, we kept them informed and as long as you’re not making money from it, they’re cool. Fan films are a tricky thing, especially if you’ve got another company who have paid the rights for the audio/visual representation of Dredd.

SS – Yes as the project developed and they could see what we were doing, they were very encouraging. Initially we had some test shots and some story boards produced by Barry Renshaw, but it’s when things start getting filmed that people can really get an idea of how things might look.

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How has the response from fans been?

SG – Very good – I think people appreciate seeing something realised from their childhood – I certainly got a thrill myself the first time I saw the Minty costumes. There’s always the complaint (rightly or wrongly) when things are changed to much in a transition to another medium, I joked that sticking a big eagle on a shoulder will give you an easier ride.

SS – As many of the people who volunteered to help were hard core Dredd fans, we hoped that we hadn’t gone too far off the mark.

What are your plans now that Judge Minty has been released?

SG – In the immediate future, getting paying work in – I took a few months off to buff up Minty for the online release, so I wasn’t doing much paying work then. After that, who knows – we have a couple of ideas, but if we did another 2000AD IP it would be smaller in scope than Minty, just to turn it around more quickly.

Our thanks once again to Steven Sterlacchini and Steve Green for their time.

About Zombie of Doom

Between trying to be a comedian and contributing to the cause of the Zombies, Zombie of Doom is also known as Dante of Doom or Richard to his parents. They are probably a little concerned about him.