Watch: Manchester companies combine for Star Wars: Origins film

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A new Star Wars production, promising to change your expectations of “fan films” forever, has been released.

The labour of love for Velvet Films’ Director, Phil Hawkins over the last 3 years includes more than 100 VFX shots from Flipbook Studios.

Star Wars: Origins was filmed in the Sahara Desert and takes a unique look at where the saga began. The action-adventure draws inspiration from Star Wars and Indiana Jones, telling a story based on earth during World War II.

It stars Marie Everett (What Happened to Monday, Netflix), Jamie Costa (Han Solo: A Smuggler’s Trade) and Hadrian Howard (The Mummy, Mi Rogue Nation).

The Executive Producers first approached Flipbook Studio in May, before they began shooting in June. The team was then given just 8 weeks to complete the VFX.

“These folks at Flipbook have honestly blown me away with their work on the film. I’m not one of those filmmakers that do VFX themselves so handing over some of the most important and ambitious sequences to someone else makes me a little sick thinking about it,” said Hawkins of Manchester's Velvet Films.

“It’s the lack of control that I find difficult. But, these talented artists have created ILM level effects for this film. They’ve done it purely for the love, passion for Star Wars and challenge of creating full-scale, ambitious sequences... and all in 4K!”

VFX Supervisor Ben Haworth, who is also the Art Director and co-founder of Flipbook Studio had previously worked with Hawkins on commercials, including a photorealistic CG dragon for Vanquis.

“Phil is very much a practical director, and he likes the way we work. The Vanquis dragon convinced him that CGI is an option and that Flipbook Studio are up to any task he throws at us...including the development of Star Destroyers rising from sand dunes!

“There are shots in the film like nothing else we've achieved before, and we've managed to tackle them in less than two months. That's over 100 shots at 4k.”

Haworth explained that the most ambitious shot was the star destroyer at its different stages, including the internal shots, the temple and the full ship rising out of a dune after being buried for a thousand years.

Velvet Films has also employed VCode cyber technology developed by VST Enterprises, which has been embedded into the film, to allow fans to access a “hidden treasure trove of content.”

As fans download the app, they’ll scan a code to find deleted scenes and extras.

“Already the feedback we have had has been phenomenal. We would like to think that the film pays tribute and homage to George Lucas and what he has achieved and created with the Star Wars franchise,” said Velvet Films’ Exec Producer Gary Cowan.

“What makes this even more exciting is to have the VCode technology embedded into the film for the first time, which we know fans will love. This clever new piece of technology, never seen before, allows Star Wars fans to have an immersive and interactive experience and to literally go on a treasure hunt, scanning the VCode and finding hidden extra features, deleted scenes and directors comments, making this truly unique and a world first.”

Louis-James Davis CEO and founder of VST Enterprises Ltd added:

“We are thrilled to be working with such incredibly talented film makers like Gary and Phil to create a world first using our VCode technology. Star Wars; Origins is a truly epic block buster with high end Hollywood style production values. VCode provides an immersive and interactive experience between the film and Star Wars fans.”

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