Many still regard them as flatulent waste products of the socially deficient unemployed-layabout community. In most cases, they're pretty much right. But it looks increasingly likely that some of the amateur fan films that pervade YouTube and other online broadcasters will one day be cherished by movie-lovers as the formative works of the next generation of cutting-edge film-makers.
The idea of the fan film – an amateur, not-for-profit work inspired by a commercial movie, TV show or comic book – isn't new. Even before science fiction conventions in the 1970s began to provide sizeable audiences for homemade homages to much-loved sci-fi/fantasy franchises, teenage movie geeks such as Hugh Hefner and Batman fan Andy Warhol were finding their film-making feet making short