THE OATH: A BATMAN FAN FILM, 17min., USA
Directed by Johnny K
Sergeant Frank Kelly is one of the last good cops in Gotham, and his life is about to change forever. This fan film takes a trip back to the mean streets of Gotham when “the Bat” was just a rumor chased by reporter Alexander Knox, and the city was powerless against crime bosses like Carl Grissom.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I wanted to make The Oath: A Batman Fan Film because I think the universe created by Tim Burton, Anton Furst, Sam Hamm, and others in Batman (1989) hasn't yet been explored to its full potential. Imagine the diversity of characters who inhabit that world and all their stories. It's a dark, twisted version of Gotham City, and I was determined to tell a street-level story in the dark corners, not about Batman, but through the eyes of a cop who has to live and work in that dreary world.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
Almost two years... for 15 minutes of film! Writing and pre-production on The Oath began in February 2021. The final product was released on YouTube in December 2022, and we're now closing in on a half-million views!
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Finding a suitable location for our Gotham City, and then arranging all the permits, fees, insurance and safety requirements, etc. was definitely the biggest obstacle. The story, cast, and most of the crew were lined up from day one, but location was always going to be a challenge. We considered filming in several east coast cities, including Wilmington (DE), Baltimore, Alexandria, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville before finally settling on Petersburg, Virginia. The City of Petersburg was great to work with, and we had a great infrastructure and community there to support our all-night filming needs for several nights, in frigid weather.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Audience feedback is always great to see. Everyone is different, so it's interesting to see which things certain people pick up on. Some people comment on the story or the acting, others hone in on the cinematography or costumes. My favorite feedback is always from the diehard fans of Batman (1989) who notice and mention all the care and attention to detail we put in to really make it feel like our little street-level indie film exists in the same world as one of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters of all time.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I've had an interest ever since I was kid, but in those days, becoming a filmmaker was far too difficult and expensive to become a reality. The common belief was that you needed a film school education and tens of thousands of dollars to even think about making a movie, and even if you made it, there was a big chance no one would ever see it. Times have changed. The highest-quality equipment for the "prosumer" market is getting cheaper and cheaper, and that's allowing the voices of filmmakers who never had a chance to finally be heard. The barriers to entry for film production and distribution have never been lower, and indie filmmakers can finally find their audience.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
It's an exact five-way tie between Jaws, Batman, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jurassic Park. They're classics for a reason!
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Continue to highlight filmmakers. Spread the word on up and coming projects, and keep in touch long after the festival is over!
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
FilmFreeway is the industry standard and simplifies all submissions and other information. It's a perfect resource, and at this point, I'm weary of submitting projects to festivals that don't use FilmFreeway.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Anything that is, or claims to be, from Thailand.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
We're now knee-deep in the production of Farragut Forward, one of the biggest and most ambitious Star Trek fan films of all time! After that, there's talk of a return visit to Gotham City with a sequel to the Oath, and then we have several more original stories to wrap up and produce. We have projects on the calendar through 2026! Follow Kaotica Studios on all social media for info!