FARRAGUT FORWARD: Star Trek Fan Film Wraps Production

April 14, 2024

After 18 months of production, principal photography has wrapped on Farragut Forward.

At nearly 4:00am on March 17, 2024, with an exhausted cast and crew gathered in a dark field in rural Virginia, filming concluded on one of the most ambitious Star Trek fan productions ever made.

Farragut Forward is still funding on Indiegogo, so it’s not too late for fans to support the project and see their names in the credits. 

“To all our backers, thank you for supporting this film, financially,” said executive producer John Broughton, who also plays Captain Jack Carter in the film. “Without your help, we wouldn’t be here.”

John Broughton as Captain Jack Carter. Photo credit: Britt Dvorak.

A successor to the long-running Starship Farragut web series which started nearly 20 years ago, Farragut Forward is one of the few fan productions set in the 1980s movie era of Star Trek, and the filmmakers hope to capture the specific look and feel of fan-favorite Trek movies such as The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country.

“Farragut Forward been a long road,” said director/cinematographer Johnny K., “but it’s been an experience none of us will ever forget.”

Director and cinematographer Johnny K. filming Farragut Forward.

“I’d be lying if I said that the last two years didn’t feel like much longer,” said first assistant director Romel Punsal. “It actually feels like we’ve finished our own five-year journey.”

Johnny K. and first assistant director Romel Punsal review playbacks on the set of Farragut Forward.

Cameras first rolled in October 2022, filming on a freshly constructed Sick Bay set in a warehouse near Frederick, Maryland.

The Sick Bay set of Farragut Forward.

“That seems like such a long time ago,” Johnny said. “We shot one of the final scenes of the movie on the Sick Bay set during that very first weekend. Everything we’ve shot since has just been getting us back to that point.”

Director Johnny K. with cast on the set of Farragut Forward.

Filming became more complex as additional sets were built by a dedicated group of volunteers. Shoots were scheduled several months apart to allow enough time for each new set to be built, transported to the studio, and assembled for filming. 

Filming corridor scenes on the set of Farragut Forward.

Early in pre-production, the filmmakers decided to do away with traditional green screens and fully committed to building practical sets. 

On the set of Farragut Forward.

“Our sets were built at three different locations in two different states – in private homes, in scene shops, and in corporate offices,” said Romel Punsal. 

In January 2023, more scenes were filmed in a brig cell and a laboratory, and two months later, several scenes were filmed on a full 360° Klingon Bird of Prey bridge set. 

On the set of Farragut Forward.

“The Klingon sets were incredible”, Johnny said. “We hazed them up and tried to mimic the iconic lighting and feel of Klingon ships as closely as possible.”

The Klingon bridge set of Farragut Forward.
Filming Farragut Forward.

“We could all feel that everything was building toward the Starfleet bridges. Those had to be just right, so we scheduled filming on those sets late in the process to give our set team the maximum amount of time they needed to dial it all in.”

Each new set used wall-flats and other parts from previous sets, so as production progressed, more resources were recycled and reused to save on production costs. 

The bridge set of Farragut Forward. Photo credit: Britt Dvorak.

Filming began on the Starfleet bridge in June 2023, with many of the crew spending 60 hours on set in a single four-day weekend. Cast traveled from Arizona, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Virginia to be part of the shoot. 

Director Johnny K. and cast on the set of Farragut Forward. Photo credit: Britt Dvorak.

“The bridge set was jaw-dropping,” Johnny said. “Standing there, surrounded by all the lights and computers and actors in their incredible costumes – it made any challenge and frustration worthwhile. Besides being filmmakers, we’re all huge Star Trek fans, so having a moment on the bridge to geek-out before getting to work was a blast.”

On the set of Farragut Forward.
The cast of Farragut Forward. Photo credit: Britt Dvorak.
Actor Gina Hernandez with director Johnny K. on the set of Farragut Forward. Photo credit: Britt Dvorak.
Director Johnny K. on the set of Farragut Forward.

Preliminary editing and visual effects work continued throughout the summer of 2023, but production paused for several months to plan the most logistically challenging shoot yet – the climactic battle scenes which involved most of the cast, many background actors, and the demanding logistics of safely shooting exteriors at night with up to 75 people. 

Filming the final night/exterior scenes for Farragut Forward.

“We’d originally talked about shooting the climax in Vasquez Rocks in California as the ultimate nod to Star Trek”, Johnny said. “That didn’t work out for a bunch of reasons, so then we looked at rock quarries in the mid-Atlantic area, where most of our cast and crew are based.”

“Regulations for shooting at active quarries were challenging, but one of them happened to mention a paintball field, and that prompted us to start looking in a completely different direction.” 

Soon the final location was discovered: the Towers Field at SplatBrothers Paintball near Hopewell, Virginia.

SplatBrothers Paintball near Hopewell, Virginia. Photo credit: Certain Gravity Photography.

“We scouted it in September 2023 and I saw the potential right away,” Johnny said. “It was remote, but there were these towers and elevated walkways where we could mount practical spotlights. Most importantly, our set team didn’t have to spend additional time or money building anything new. It was all there for us, just waiting to be decorated and lit.”

Actor Paul Sieber rehearsing on location for Farragut Forward. Photo credit: Certain Gravity Photography.

The final shoot was originally scheduled for November 2023 but was delayed until March 2024. Weekly production meetings leading up to the shoot were held with department heads and focused largely on logistics – how to safely shelter and feed up to 75 cast and crew in a rural field with only two porta-potties and no electricity. 

“Every set for this entire shoot has been jaw-dropping,” said actor Wes Johnson. “And looking at what they did with that paintball range… they made it magic.”

Farragut Forward maps, storyboards, and call sheet.
On location preparing for the final night/exterior scenes for Farragut Forward.

“At some point it stopped feeling like a little indie film,” said Johnny. “Probably around the time the box truck and trailers showed up with all our generators and gear, with miles of cables, and we had an assembly line of background actors getting into elaborate costumes and makeup.” 

“If you know what a Fraturday is, we did two back-to-back, with very short turnarounds. That’s rough, and even though this is a fan production, we can’t take any shortcuts on safety.”

First assistant director Romel Punsal (left) and Director Johnny K. (right) on location filming Farragut Forward.

“I don’t think Romel and I ever sat down once,” said Johnny. It was a lot to squeeze into two nights. But looking back, I’m really glad it wasn’t a three-night shoot. We did that on The Oath (a Batman Fan Film) and that third night of rain and cold just wipes everyone out.”

“It was a full production, and everyone worked hard in tough conditions for very long hours. Kudos to our production management team and the rest of the crew for all their hard work.”

Actor Michael Bednar on location filming Farragut Forward. Photo credit: Certain Gravity Photography.

“Thanks to our crew,” John Broughton said. “Because of them we had tables, tents, electricity, and heat, which was much needed during those cold nights.”

Background actors on location filming Farragut Forward.

On location filming Farragut Forward.

“The footage is just amazing,” said John Broughton. “I was overly impressed with how well Johnny orchestrated things, given the many obstacles put in front of him: night shoot, cold weather, rain. A lot of challenges compared to our previous film shoots.”

Behind the scenes filming Farragut Forward. Photo credit: Certain Gravity Photography.

“And to all those background actors/extras that came in from all around,” Broughton continued. “Thank you. Hopefully you got to experience what we call Farragut, which is fellowship and filmmaking. Hopefully you experienced it at its best.”

Behind the scenes filming Farragut Forward.
Makeup artist Michele Clauser on location filming Farragut Forward. Photo credit: Certain Gravity Photography.
Behind the scenes filming Farragut Forward. Photo credit: Certain Gravity Photography.

With two nights of exteriors in the can, Farragut Forward now moves into post-production. Editing continues and there’s still much to be done. 

The “assembly cut” edit of Farragut Forward.

Pre-viz/draft starship shots and space battle scenes were created last year by Sam Cockings in the UK. His rough shots are already in the assembly cut and already look incredible.

“We originally wanted to shoot as many practical ships (model kits) as possible, as an homage to 1980s filmmaking and to honor the wizards at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM)”, Johnny said. 

“As great as that sounds, we shot the Bird of Prey as a practical model for our Prologue, and I found out very quickly how much work goes into shooting and motion-tracking practical models, even using modern tools.”

I’m glad we went the CGI route, especially when it comes to battle scenes with layers of ships and weapons coming from all directions. There’s no way our production could have achieved that using practical models. A few practical ship shots might sneak into the finished film, but we’re primarily using CGI ships, and I’m thankful for all the hard work Sam has put in.”

A few insert and pickup shots are scheduled to be filmed in June, and after color-grading and sound design, Farragut Forward is expected to premiere in July 2024 on YouTube. 

Behind the scenes of Farragut Forward. Photo credit: Britt Dvorak.

“Once this premieres, it’s going to set the standard for all fan films going forward,” said Romel Punsal.

“It’s really cool to be a part of this family – the Farragut family,” said Wes Johnson. “And I was honored to be a small part of something so magical. Thank you all for having me.”

Gina Hernandez as Commander Logan in Farragut Forward.

“I hope the audience sees all the effort that went into this,” said Johnny K. “It was an incredible amount of work by a group of talented and dedicated people who wanted to be as respectful of the Star Trek IP as possible. For a group of volunteers to donate this much of their time and energy over the last two years – I think we’ve really created something special. This is the true definition of a passion project.” 

Director Johnny K. and executive producer John Broughton on the set of Farragut Forward. Photo credit: Britt Dvorak.

“Our film is going to be released this summer,” said John Broughton, “and based on what I’ve seen in Johnny’s rough cut, I think it’s going to set the vanguard for future fan films in the Star Trek genre. Thank you all!”

Farragut Forward stars John Broughton, Paul Sieber, Michael Bednar, Holly Bednar, Wes Johnson, and William Jay, and warps onto YouTube in Summer 2024.

The project is still funding on Indiegogo.

For updates and more information, follow Kaotica Studios, and Farragut Films on all social media!


Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.