A Finnish Star Trek spoof, released by its amateur makers into the wilds of the internet a week ago, has already been downloaded 450,000 times. According to reports, the film's makers estimate that a further 250,000 copies have been downloaded from mirror sites.
Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, has been a labour of love. With a tiny budget, it took seven years to make, mostly on computers in producer Samuli Torssonen's living room. The team behind it describe the film as "the product of a core group of five Finns, and over 300 extras, assistants and supporters".
"We took a conscious decision not to go to the theatres as the movie was done mostly on a voluntary basis," director Timo Vuorensola told Reuters. "Through the Internet and DVD it will probably get the widest possible viewership. We are hoping to reach one million downloads by the end of the year."
The team says on its web site's FAQ that they wanted to offer it for free because so many people had given time to the project and had been paid nothing. Samuli describes it as an expensive hobby, but adds that in terms of film budgets, it has cost nothing.
That the film has been a success should not be surprising: after all, the Star Trek fans to whom the film will certainly appeal, and early adopters of technology are overlapping groups. But perhaps the sheer volume of downloads might be enough to give Hollywood food for thought. ®