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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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SDCC 2015: "Star Trek"

Last year, I wrote about an independent Star Trek movie, “Prelude to Axanar,” and there is, of course, a lot of Star Trek-related things going on at this year’s San Diego Comic-con.

The people behind “Prelude to Axanar” are now ready to make a movie about Axanar and again are turning to crowd-sourcing, this time on Indiegogo. The four-part campaign opened this week. The intention is to fund one act at a time.

“Prelude to Axanar” was a documentary style, 21-minute movie narrated by a historian, John Gill. The topic is the Four Years War between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. One of the main historical figures in the movie, Garth of Izar (Alec Peters), was a hero of Captain James T. Kirk. Garth eventually descended into madness. The character appears in the "Star Trek" episode “Whom Gods Destroy.” 

Richard Hatch appears in “Prelude of Axanar” as a Klingon Supreme Warlord named Kham the Undying. (Hatch also made an appearance at SDCC for a "Battlestar Galactica" panel).

After only one day, the Axanar Indiegogo campaign has raised $162,700 from 1,646 people—that’s 65 percent of the $250,000 goal. You still have time to contribute. The campaign continues for another 32 days. 

The original James T. Kirk, in the person of William Shatner, made an appearance on Thursday morning to read excerpts from a new novel, “The Autobiography of James T. Kirk,” written by David A. Goodman. Shatner was charming and added a few ad libs to his reading to provide some humor and even sexual innuendo. Audience members may chuckle when they hear references to horseback riding and rock climbing after this panel discussion.

Shatner answered questions from Goodman and audience members. When asked about bad scripts, Shatner quickly rephrased the question as: “You mean what can an actor do when he gets a bad script besides weep?” Shatner noted that saying, “'My character wouldn’t do that' could have repercussions because a director could easily reply, 'My character won’t pay your character.'"

Science fiction and fans are about mythology, he commented. “You subscribe to it and become part of it.” But he also noted that celebrity is “a real gift and I don’t take it for granted,” adding that one could take “a shallow thing like celebrity and increase its depth by doing good” as an explanation for his varied charity activities.

Shatner was also appearing at the San Diego Comic-Con to promote his new cinematic graphic novel, “Man O’ War,” which launched Tuesday. He’ll be on a panel on July 11thSaturday, from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. with Gary Laird, Mariano Nicieza and Scott Liggett and Jeremy Westin. He’ll be autographing the graphic novel from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Factory Entertainment booth (2647).

Also appearing Thursday was Adam Nimoy, on the panel about how science fiction has helped inspire scientists “NASA: Turning Science Fiction into Science Fact,” along with Aditya Sood (producer of the upcoming Matt Damon movie “The Martian”), Amber Straughn (astrophysicist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) and Kevin Hand (Deputy Chief Scientist for Solar System Exploration, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory). "Mad Men" actor Jay R. Ferguson moderated. Nimoy showed a sizzle clip of the documentary “For Love of Spock” and Sood showed a trailer for “The Martian.” Nimoy recently concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising $662,640 with 9,429 backers. Zachary Quinto is set to narrate.

The name behind "Star Trek," Roddenberry Entertainment, was also at SDCC with a narrative movie that uses 360-degree technology, “White Room: 02B3." The film, which stars Breckin Meyer, Tamlyn Tomita, David Blue, Rachel True and Doug Jones, as well as Internet icons Tony Janning and Milynn Sarley, was created, shot, produced and distributed specifically for 360-degree viewing and takes full advantage of mobile formats. The technology offers an expanded and tremendously immersive viewing experience, allowing the viewer to actually rotate their perspective 360 degrees around the film without breaking the viewing quality or interrupting the storytelling. The movie is about six strangers who wake up in a white room.

Roddenberry Entertainment teamed with Immersive Media—the company behind Google’s Street View—to launch Roddenberry 360° and “White Room” is its first offering. “White Room: 02B3” will be available for download on August 3rd. The sneak peak teaser can be viewed on a mobile device through the following link. As the signature app has not yet been released, the free im360 Android or iOS app must be downloaded to view.

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