'Trekkies 2' Director Finds Fans PositiveBy Kristine
April 20, 2004 - 9:31 PM
Roger Nygard was overwhelmed by the positivity and enthusiasm of the Trek fans he met while making his second documentary about the fandom, Trekkies 2.
In a chat at Startrekfans.net, Nygard said he found Trek fans to be exceptionally positive and upbeat. "They are a group of very positive people," he commented. "I find that much more interesting than the negativity that pervades some other groups of people."
Nygard was especially moved by his trip to Serbia, a country that has experienced much hardship in recent years. "Serbia was a great example," he pointed out. "There is a country that the U.S. bombed 4 or 5 years ago. So we were a little nervous about going there, hoping they wouldn't have an risidual animosity against Americans and take it out on us." Instead, Nygard and his crew were treated to a warm reception. "And they didn't [take it out on us;] they were the sweetest people, simply ecstatic that we were there to document their first ever ST convention in the Balkans."
Nygard visited countries such as Germany, Australia and Serbia for his documentary, and found that Trek fans across the different countries did have at least one thing in common. "Each country had its differences and I could tell you about some of those. But they all had one thing in common," he said. "No matter where we went, you could take ST fans from any country and put them all in a room and they would all belong."
Nygard was impressed by the reach of the show. "We learned a lot about how pervasive the message of a TV show can be," he said. "Everywhere there is television, there are ST fans. A good idea takes root, no matter where you plant it. This show is just one of those special ideas that people respond to everywhere."
Nygard saw the fans united not just by love of the show, but an appreciation for the principles for which it stood. "Despite any difference, they all share a similar philosophy, as a group of people, and it's the same as Gene Roddenberry's philosophies behind the show," he noted.
Nygard defends his choice to focus on the more unique Trek fans, rather than the average fans. "If you made a doc[umentary] about sports fans, you wouldn't focus on the average players, you would focus on the exceptional players," he said. "So I think Exceptional is a better word than Extreme to describe the fans we profiled this time."
Nygard cites the generosity of the fans as something he found extraordinary. "I think it's exceptional the fact that the fans do charity work as a part of their fandom," Nygard commented. He went on to describe the efforts of one fan: "Willi told us about how he works to raise money for AIDS children, and that's in the film."
The future of the Star Trek franchise is on the minds of many fans, and Nygard fielded opinions from fans about where they see Trek headed. "We asked people to make predictions for the show, and not everybody was positive in its future," he commented. "Although, even so, they were usually still hopeful."
According to Nygard, many Trek fans think its time for a break. "The overiding consensus around the world was to give the show a rest for a few years, so they can come back to it with some fresh ideas," he said.
Nygard noted that Trekkies 2 would most likely be released in the U.S. at the end of the summer on DVD, with a foriegn release to follow two to three months later. Trekkies 3 might be a possibility as well, as Nygard has talked to Paramount about it and also notes they still have a few more places to visit. "We still have Asia, Africa, and the Middle East yet to visit. Oh, and Antarctica," he noted.
For more from Nygard about his experiences making Trekkies 2, visit the chat transcript here at Startrekfans.net.