You may remember the mock-up trailer that circulated last fall, promising an unofficial Final Fantasy VII fan film. At the time, director Gionata Medeot told me he wasn't worried about Square Enix's lawyers stepping in and trying to take it down.
Well, today the team launched a Kickstarter to raise $400,000 for the project, which is now a 5-6-episode webseries based on Square's popular role-playing game. They say they've got the blessing of series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi—and the rights to use music from Final Fantasy VII.
"We have been in contact with SE for several months, and have attained full music rights," producer Dan Purcell told me in an e-mail today. "We have not however been endorsed or backed by SE. We have passed all necessary steps, including Kickstarter's review process."
Music rights or not, here's hoping the lawyers don't decide to go after them. I've reached out to Square Enix for comment, and will update should they respond. (In the past, Square has gone after fan-projects like Chrono Resurrection but allowed OCRemix to remix Final Fantasy VI tracks for their most recent CD.)
This project sounds really interesting. To quote the team:
Final Fantasy VII: The Web Series is a fan project dedicated to bringing the characters, events, and excitement seen in the iconic videogame Final Fantasy VII into a live-action web series. Both the game and the series follow Cloud Strife, a former elite soldier turned mercenary, who joins the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE in their campaign to stop the huge mega-corporation Shinra from draining the planet’s life energy. The threat, however, looms larger than anyone can predict. Over 10 million copies of the Final Fantasy VII videogame have been sold globally, and the game still captures the imagination of gamers all over the world. Our web series is a tribute to Squaresoft’s (now Square Enix) genius, and season one is going to be 5-6 episodes of about 15 minutes each, totaling 80-90 minutes.
We’re not creating this web series for ourselves. We’re creating it for you. The Final Fantasy community is built from the most dedicated and passionate fans around. We know, because we’re fans, too. And we want to share our vision with you. But we need your help. Yes, we could pull a fan video together using an old handicam and some homemade costumes, but Final Fantasy VII deserves so much more than that. It’s been part of our lives for over a decade, and we want to make sure it gets the adaptation it deserves. And by backing our production, you’ll be an integral part of that. We want to reassure you that every red cent of this Kickstarter is going straight to the film. No one on this team (except for the actors and crew hired by Team2X) is making any money off this. It’s all for the love.
So, yes, it's fanfiction. But it's ambitious, well-produced fanfiction. And judging from the cinematic trailer, it could very much be worth watching.
For more on the series—casting, writing, etc.—check out their Kickstarter.