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Lord of the Rings tribute's Cambridge roots

Trailer for Lord of the Rings fan film Born of Hope

How long would you be willing to spend making something that can never make you any money and will even cost you most of your savings?

If you're Kate Madison, the answer to the question is six years.

In November 2003 Kate set out to create Born of Hope, an entry for a Lord of the Rings fan film competition.

By December 2009, over five years past the entry date, she had completed a stunning dedication to one of the decade's most popular movie brands.

Cambridge roots

"I think people think I'm a bigger fan than I am, or at least I claim to be," Kate explains.

Kate Madison as Born of Hope character Elgarain
As well as directing the film Kate plays newly-created character Elgarain

"I didn't know about Lord of the Rings until the Peter Jackson movies came out. These were fantasies without being completely unreal and I really enjoyed them."

Kate's family moved to Cambridge when she was 10 years old, where she went to Netherhall School and Long Road Sixth Form College, before completing a degree in zoology, which took her out to Florida for six months..

Since then she has pursued an acting career, working on projects both in front and behind the camera, and hit upon the inspiration for Born of Hope in a moment of chance.

She said: "I found a competition for a fan film. I did kind of know about fan films but hadn't seen any Lord of the Rings ones and it just sparked an idea."

Help of 400

Fan films, as it happens, are produced in response to commercial productions.

They can sometimes be shrouded in controversy with corporations unhappy that their copyrighted material is being put into the hands of so-called amateurs.

Recently, however, relations between fan film makers and the big shot producers have improved.

As long as the fan version isn't out to make money, everybody is usually happy.

The Hunt for Gollum has become one of the most famous fan films in recent years.

The Lord of the Rings spin-off notched up two million online views in its first month of release after its creators came to an agreement with Lord of the Rings studio bosses to let the movie exist.

So despite Born of Hope's incredible production quality, it will never be able to make a penny for Kate or any of the other 400 people who appear on the credit list, not that she was ever concerned about profits.

She said: "Although it was going to cost a decent amount of money and it would take up a lot of my savings, I never really knew how much it would cost because the budget was done as we went along."

Lord of the Rings aficionados will be eager to know what the narrative of Born of Hope has in store.

It's essentially a prequel to the big screen releases, following the lives of Aragorn's parents.

Love on set

"Aragorn is an extremely important person in the Lord of the Rings," explained Kate.

Kate Madison while directing Born of Hope
Kate is an active member of the Cambridge Film Network

"Yet we don't know much about him, except that he was a ranger and then he becomes king.

"People were really interested in where he came from and what his people were like before there was a king."

The hope now is that the film will spark acting, directing and production careers for the people who have given up their time and money to make it happen, but as Kate reveals, some of the cast do have at least one thing to show for their efforts.

She said: "It was quite funny actually. We have joked that Born of Hope wasn't a film - it was a dating agency - because I think there were about eight partnerships made during the filming.

"But that's really what happens when you're doing such a long-term project, everyone becomes a bit of a family."

To watch the film and to keep up-to-date with any screenings go to the Born of Hope website.

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