Saturday, June 15 2024 17:38 AEST

The Brazen Attack on Trekzone’s Independence

A letter co-signed by 19 Star Trek fan film makers was received this morning, detailing concerns they have about editorial decisions made for The 2023 Trekzone Fan Film Awards.

EDIT (25/8): Following an escalation in rhetoric this week from Ray Tesi and the author of Fan Film Factor, it has been decided that the initial email that triggered Trekzone’s significant scaling back of Star Trek fan film coverage be relased.

That email, I would learn, was the culmination of several days of secret communications in a Facebook Messenger group called, ironically, The Peace Talks. I wasn’t invited.

The email lays bare the brazen attack on Trekzone’s independence, as it was demanded that MTM and I throw out over ten months of planning for the sake of two people’s feelings. In fact, there were two other names listed in the senders list who never explained their reasoning for being included given that one hadn’t released a fan film that year (and had spent the build up the previous year slapping the olive branch we had extended away) and the other cared not for awards.

It would emerge in the days that followed, when I didn’t cowtail to their demands, that the largest issue was with our subheading of Fan Films Done Right – because, apparently, even as the editor of Trekzone I had no right to label things appearing on my content. People were so aggrieved by it that they never once raised their concerns with me in the six years I had been using it to describe fan films that weren’t Axanar, fan films that actually got made.

There were two attempts made, in the hours preceding the email, to alert me to some form of upset brewing. I would learn later that Samuel Cockings was chosen by The Peace Talks to communicate with me and report back, he, however, failed to express his mandated talking points effectively.

Nick Cook broached the subject with me an hour before Ray Tesi sent the email, once again failing to effectively communicate that there was a secret groundswell of support behind the movement generated by the individual whom authored the attack email.

Upon the joint response from MTM and Trekzone, Ray Tesi immediately withdrew his nominated fan film, which saw a strong contender disqualified.

Gary Davis and Nick Cook would reach out to me and advise that the final letter – clearly written by the individual who hadn’t released a fan film that year – was not what was discussed in The Peace Talks, in fact stronger than they had agreed to. Gary would elaborate on a half hour video call, choking back tears, that he felt he had no choice but to withdraw because he needed Joshua Irwin’s support as his 2024 Director of Photography more than he needed my support as an independent publicity outlet – in a roundabout way Gary told me that he believed Joshua’s volunteering was reliant on his support against me.

Four days later, I was summoned to a video call with Joshua Irwin where, for one hundred and six minutes, I was subjected to judgement and accusations of unfair treatment. Of supporting Sam’s Trek Shorts, but not projects actively working with Axanar. Of never articulating what defined a “Fan Film Done Right” – yet it was plain to see – and of holding a “fake moral superiority” for daring to editorialise my content.

In the weeks that followed, Nick Cook would withdraw from all fan film awards and Samuel Cockings attempted to ignore what had transpired with dozens of messages aiming to get publicity for a new Trek Short. Vance Major Owen would discuss the situation with me where he conceded that he didn’t care about awards and I should’ve known the ban he’d placed on me in 2018 wasn’t meant to last forever, and I was reminded of Frank “FilkFerret” Parker Jr’s message months earlier where I was described as a waste of DNA, petty and pathetic.

So, we’ve got five individuals out of nineteen who have actively communicated with me. The other fourteen on that list remained silent. Pretty telling the type of characters they are. One would go on to win an award at this years awards and not thank Trekzone or MTM in their congratulatory post, Emma Thorne (attached to Samuel Cockings Trek Shorts) would ignore her Best Actress accolade altogether.

The individual who created The Peace Talks and wrote the letter while ignoring people’s input, deliberately excluded Potemkin Pictures, Euderion Infinity, FS Film and a few other “smaller” productions from all of this with one group telling me that,

“[He] is an absolute snake always trying to stir the pot, fomenting crap like this among people who don’t know the whole story, only his twisted side of things.”

Anonymous source to Trekzone

Joshua says I have a moral superiority complex, I think he needs to look in a mirror, and down the Zoom window to the individual who stirred all of this up. That individual wants to subtly weave in a false narrative to interviews months later? He’ll be called out.

That individual committed fraud for his fan film, he stole the identity of Paul Jenkins and covered it up. And when it was revealed by this website, these nineteen individuals SAID NOTHING. So, you have to draw the conclusion that creating the sub-heading “FAN FILMS DONE RIGHT” is a worse crime than IDENTITY THEFT.

They are the individuals I have left behind.

How terribly sad that passion projects turn into this bloody mess.

Originally published as “In Response To Concerns Over Editorial Decisions Made For The 2023 Trekzone Fan Film Awards” on June 8 2023.

The original article follows…

Ray Tesi, David Cheng, Samuel Cockings, Nick Cook, Gary Davis, Jakub Holý, Joshua Irwin, Paul Jaques, Michael L. King, Jonathan Lane, Greg Lock, Vance Major, Greg Mitchell, Frank Parker, Jr., Dan Reynolds, Michael Stütelberg, Aaron Vanderkley, Glen Wolfe and Randy Wrenn worked together to draft a letter outlining their belief that I am not promoting fairness, positivity and inclusion in the Star Trek fan film community. I have replied to the group email, but have decided to also publish the letter here to head off any attempts to alter the narrative.

RE: The 2023 Trekzone Fan Film Awards

Good Afternoon Ray, David, Samuel, Nick, Gary, Jakub, Joshua, Paul, Michael, Jonathan, Greg, Vance, Greg, Frank, Dan, Michael, Aaron, Glen and Randy,

Thank you for expressing concerns over the exclusion of 24 fan films in The 2023 Trekzone Fan Film Awards, which we believe are as follows:

No Budget Productions: Stuck on an Unknown Planet
No Budget Productions: Stuck on an Unknown Planet, Part 2
No Budget Productions: Stuck on an Unknown Planet, Part 3
Crossroads Project Gemini: After The Fall
Crossroads Project Gemini: You Are Recalled
Starship Manchester: Come Together
Starship Manchester: Fighting Thru
Constar Chronicles: Some of Us Stand On Our Own Together
Constar Chronicles: Dive
Constar Chronicles: Mental Jewellery
Constar Chronicles: Threat Level Midnight
Constar Chronicles: Gomer’s Theme
Constar Chronicles: Ramifications
Constar Chronicles: The Pretender
Constar Chronicles: The Light Behind Your Eyes
Constar Chronicles: Broken Sunday
Constar Chronicles: Silent Failure
Constar Chronicles: Broken Road
Starship Antyllus: Episode Twenty
Commodore Productions: Sorry
Commodore Productions: The Breach
Commodore Productions: Engineer Going Nuts
Avalon Universe: The Needs of the One
Avalon Universe: The Truth Within

We maintain a manual spreadsheet of Star Trek fan films released throughout the year, with constant keyword searching through YouTube and the Star Trek “Fan Film” Resources and Star Trek Fan Productions Facebook groups for releases. This means we can miss a release if our searches do not yield results and we can confirm that the three Commodore Productions episodes fell through our searches as they do not contain any reference to Star Trek or Fan Film in their title or description.

With regard to the 19 productions featuring Vance Major Owen, we refer you to the following message received on Thursday, February 8 2018 at 08:51.

Vance and Matt have not spoken since then so as can reasonably be expected that order is in good standing. Vance could’ve communicated a reversal, however it’s possible that given the intervening years he may have forgotten his strong desire to remain outside of Trekzone’s podcasts.

Following the pairing of Avalon Universe with Axanar Productions as a sister series, with the use of the Ares Studio and support of Alec Peters – requested or not – the decision was made to exclude those two productions.

Many of you may remember what happened last year when we tried to be all inclusive despite personal battles, with Jonathan Lane responding to our efforts by posting a withdrawal blog entry instead of communicating directly with us to opt out.

Additionally, we refer you to a comment he made on his blog which proves we were facing our own Kobayashi Maru.

Unfortunately, it’s too late to change any nominations as the announcement live stream is well into pre-production and all candidates have accepted our offers. With that said, we will include Commodore Productions in our honour roll of films released and considered this year with an addendum noting the human error that predicated their exclusion and that they will be included in our list for consideration next year.

Out of 24 films excluded, 19 were from self-imposed exile, 3 were missed by human error and 2 were omitted due to their tacit endorsement of Axanar Productions.

You have stated, “we urge you to refrain from singling out specific members of our community in a negative or critical manner”, does this message apply to all parties? We note examples of belittling, bias and condescension from Jonathan Lane and Joshua Irwin.

As Matt has stated numerous times over the twenty years of Trekzone, editorial control is his and his alone. If you don’t agree with a decision he makes about content on his channel, website or social media platforms you are free, of course, to voice your objection or simply not watch, but you cannot and will not dictate terms.

It is disappointing to see co-signatories on the letter with whom we believed worked well with us and who did not come to us with their concerns, our inboxes have always been open to each and every one of you.

If anyone wishes to withdraw acceptance from nomination, they have until 07.30 AEST tomorrow (Friday, June 9.)

A copy of this letter has been posted on Trekzone’s website to allay any attempts at doctoring the narrative once again.

Warm Regards,
Matt Miller (Trekzone) Chuck Stevenson (MTM)

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