A bonkers Lord of the Rings fan has spent her entire life savings producing a new prequel to the blockbusting trilogy — in the forests of East Anglia.
Kate Madison, 31, filmed, produced and stared in her hour-long film Born of Hope, which took six years to make with a cast and crew of over 400 people.
She spent all her £8,000 savings on the epic project, and raised another £17,000 by posting a short trailer on YouTube appealing to fans for donations.
Everyone worked for free, and Kate held down a job as an office temp in between shoots to help pay her bills.
Over half a million people have watched the final cut since it was launched online in December, and Kate is now hoping to pitch it to major Hollywood distributors.
She described the project as a ”labour of love” and has spent around £10,000 of the budget on colourful fantasy costumes, make-up and wigs.
To keep costs down the film was shot in Epping Forest, Essex, and West Stow, Suffolk, and the cast and crew camped out in tents on set.
The amateur actress was inspired by two paragraphs written by Middle Earth-creator JRR Tolkien in the appendices of the original Lord of the Rings.
Kate, from Cambridge, who plays a forest ranger Elgarain in the film, said: ”I invested my own money after watching the Lord of the Rings films and they blew my mind.
”The battle scenes and the array of incredible characters really inspired me and I was desperate to have a go at making an epic myself.
”As we went along the project snowballed and there were moments when money was tight and I wondered what the hell I was doing.
”There were times when it was cold and wet and we were up to our eyes in mud standing in the middle of a forest wondered if we could make this a success
”But now it’s all done it’s an amazing feeling. We have created a film on a tiny budget which comes completes with battle scenes, orks and even a giant hill troll.”
The film’s plot follows Arathorn and Gilraen(corr), the parents of Aragorn, who was played by superstar Viggo Mortenson (corr) in Peter Jackson’s Hollywood version of the trilogy.
The action starts with their first meeting and follows the couple across a fantasy landscape as they lead their people, the Dunedain, into battle against orks and trolls.
Kate had first wanted to make a fan-made Tolkien film after hearing about a short films competitions at a Lord of the Rings Convention in 2003.
But with limited film-making experience she shelved the ambitious project to hone her skills acting and directing with her local Cambridge Filmmakers Network.
She returned to the idea to do test shots in 2006 and after placing an audition notice online spent three days auditioning hundreds of actors before starting filming in 2008.
In total the film relied on 400 people across the world giving up their free time to write scripts, make costumes and edit special effects and film action sequences.
One of the highlights of the film is a battle with a computer generated giant hill troll.
Kate added: ”It was surreal seeing all these ugly green creatures running around the set brandishing swords but I think Peter Jackson would have been impressed.”
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