(KMSP) - Star Wars fans are known for going to great lengths to honor their favorite movies, but, a group of Minnesotans are hoping their "fan film" makes the final cut in an international contest.
The Star Wars Fan Film Awards went through 500 movies to pick 25 finalists from countries like Mexico, the United Kingdom and Australia as well as one from Dan McLaughlin of New Brighton.
"It's awesome. It's like I'm on starwars.com. That's the a reward in and of itself, " McLaughlin, who wrote, directed, produced and stars in a five-minute movie about a pair of bumbling interstellar bounty hunters Sheevster and Murfo, said.
Despite its cosmic setting, "Manic on Minos" was shot in Minnesota with the house McLaughlin grew up in in Oronoco doubling as the space cantina, while the sand pit next door was a perfect stand-in for the alien terrain.
"I love telling stories and I love Star Wars. So it was an opportunity to get some work out there, " McLaughlin said.
Its creators hope to join viral videos like "Star Wars Gangsta Rap", the cops parody "Troops", and "George Lucas In Love" in taking home one of the seven prizes.
"I saw the movie and I was like wow! This is funny and the characters are endearing," McLaughlin's former high school art teacher Chris Rackley, who made Murfo's mask and other visual and special effects for the film, said.
With his shoe-string budget, McLaughlin may not be the next George Lucas yet, but at least he's in the same universe.
"It was so much fun to make. I just hope some of that fun will translate when people watch it. That's the best I can hope for," McLaughlin said.
After the contest is over, McLaughlin hopes to turn his movie into a web series.
You can vote for your favorite film through June 19 at www.starwars.com.