With the release of Mass Effect 3 approaching, the time was certainly right for Director Caleb Evans and his production team to release a teaser for the upcoming fan film Red Sand. While based in the same universe as Mass Effect 3 - and notably starring the voice actor for Commander Shepard, Mark Meer - the film will take place before Shepard entered relevance, with Mark Meer playing a completely different character.
Red Sand takes place in 2148, when humans first find Prothean ruins on Mars and begin to discover their secrets. At the head of this research is Doctor Averroes (Ayman Samman), Colonel Jon Grissom (Mark Meer), Lily Sandhurst (Amy Searcy), and a team of alliance soldiers tasked to defend the valuable artifacts as the threat of biotically-charged, red sand addicted maurauders approach.
Mark Meer stars in the quick teaser video, in which his character (Grissom), begins to tell his story:
Funded by the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona, the flick has reached a large production size and filming has wrapped up completely, leaving a large amount of post-production work to do before release. We got to speak with Caleb Evans, the director, to talk about the upcoming film:
Game Rant: Any specific release date for the full film aside of the mid-late 2012 window?
"This is no guarantee, but we are really pushing for a late April, early May release. However, if any of you know film, post-production can be crazy! So dates may change."
How did Mark Meer get involved with the project? Did any discussion on producing something including Commander Shepard himself ever get put on the table with his involvement?
"We contacted his agent, and gave him the script, and he loved it! The way to reel an actor in is with a well-refined script. Due to the story, we never planned on including the character Shepard himself. However, we knew Mark was a talented actor and could bring his iconic voice and presence into the film."
Has anyone from BioWare contacted you about this production?
"No one has personally contacted us yet, no. Before the film was made, we did personally have a meeting with a lead artist at BioWare and he loved the script. We haven't had information about the film up on the web very long yet. However, with the teaser released I feel that we may get a few e-mails..."
How many people have been involved in the project?
"In total about 30 to 40 people. I'm sure certain people are eluding me as of now, but the project flourished due to the dedicated crew. And that is just crew; we have the support of our school so that's a great feeling."
Were you nervous about getting funding from the University?
"Not at all, our provost loves film, and our Digital Video program produced award winning material. So the funding was a sinch."
Lastly, anything to say to fans of Mass Effect in regards to Red Sand?
"I really want fans to know that this was written by someone who loves the Mass Effect Series. The research has been done and creative minds help bring you a familiar, yet extremely unique world. I want fans to keep an open mind and to get extremely excited for this film. It is going to be a visual spectacle with a great story. We are putting hundreds if not thousands of man hours into making this film great, I hope everyone is getting as excited as I am for this film to release!"
From the photos on the group's Facebook Page, you can see by the sheer amount of green screens that a lot of digital editing is going into the project. We'll keep you posted when the full video eventually surfaces, and we hope it excites the fans out there who are always hungry for more Mass Effect.
Mass Effect 3 is set for release on March 6th for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. The demo is now available so read our thoughts on it.
Follow me on Twitter @Makelevi.