“Horizon so aptly named both for its majesty and its grand power. 250,000 years ago one race united the entire galaxy, for the first time, in peace. But there is always the separatist one who will not join the whole. The Arioui a race of beings unlike any the Iconians had ever known, sought to lay waste to the galaxy and the Great Alliance, to rebuild it anew. They were cunning. One-by-one, they turned the galaxy against its protectors. And when the races of the Great Alliance turned their attention to destroying the wrongly accused Iconians, the Arioui secretly constructed their greatest weapon…”
Horizon, is simply one of the best Star Trek fan films I have ever seen, back in 2015 when I first saw a trailer for it, I was so excited and apprehensive at the same time as unlike some other fan films I have seen prior to this most of Horizon was shot using green screens and very little physical sets which if done badly makes anything really hard to watch, but there was something about Horizon that just drew me to it. Was it the fact it was a continuation, although a non-canonical one to Enterprise the fifth live-action series that was cancelled at the end of season four back in 2005 or was it because it featured the Iconians a race we have never really seen in Star Trek bar two episodes, to be honest, I am not sure but looking back on it I have no regrets about the excitement I felt for this amazing film.
A few things that simply resonate from this film and some of the main factors that make this simply one of the best fan films I have seen is, the film has an experienced cast with all of the actors having done some previous work within the industry, the music was a totally original score which for most Fan Trek is almost unheard of, the look of the film is simply amazing from the uniforms which are almost identical to the ones seen on Enterprise right down to the VFX which could easily be mistaken for the real thing, which is not bad what so ever on the budget of less than $30k.
Back in 2012 when I began the odyssey that would become Horizon, I wanted nothing more than to marry my passion for filmmaking with my love for a show that inspired so many amazing and wonderful changes in my life. I hoped people would like it and I assumed some would watch it, but I never expected the reception the film has received. I can’t thank the fans and viewers of Horizon enough. They’ve literally propelled me into the next stage of my career and my life.” — Tommy Kraft, Exec Producer
” I can’t speak for everyone but there was never any doubt that the film would reach 5 million, and I have no doubt it will double that at some point. Horizon is a complete, stand-alone Star Trek film that can be enjoyed by anyone. When you hear that people watch it over and over you know that the movie has staying power and the viewership will grow. I look forward to more of Tommy’s work reaching these milestones.” — Paul Lang, Captain Hawke
The Story of Horizon…
The Horizon story starts back in 2013 when Tommy Craft first conceived the idea for Horizon, Horizon was to be Tommy’s biggest project to date, and certainly, one that back then was an ambitious one for someone who had experience in filmmaking but not had made one of this magnitude. With a series of blogs posted on his YouTube page the story of Horizon started to take shape for all to see and follow.
Tommy’s documented journey of Horizon can be watched > HERE <
Horizon to Tommy was not just another fan film project but one that was born from a personal struggle; back in 2012 not long before he began work on Horizon Tommy was fighting with depression and turned to Trek to help him cope, in an interview with Jonathan Lane in February of last year Tommy had this to say about why he set Horizon in the 22nd century a time setting that only one other fan film has done thus far.
“My depression started in 2012, not long before I began working on Horizon. Enterprise, the character of Captain Archer, and working on the film served as huge inspirations and passions for me that helped guide me through that initial episode and find some ways to cope. There was also this huge religious de-conversion to atheism involved that was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Captain Archer, always being the explorer, inspired me to explore beyond my fundamentalist Christian upbringing, and what I found—basically, science; I found I have a huge passion for it—changed my life for the better in a lot of ways.”
Having suffered from depression myself I know that Trek can and does help to cope so I can relate to this so much, and I take my hat off to Tommy for not only using trek to battle his inner demons but also making a Film that will no doubt help others in the way Trek helped him.
So fast forward 12 months to April 2014 the team behind this ambitious project launched their Kickstarter with a small target of $10.000 and in less than a month they broke it and raised more than $20.000 and the film was funded and the hard work in getting this project from page to screen began.
Skipping ahead again to February 26th, 2016 and the film was released despite a bit of worry from the donors over at Kickstarter as the film had been slated for release in December 2014, but as anyone within the film industry knows delays happen even to the films with the biggest budget but the wait was finally over and it was well worth the wait.
It is no small endeavour to create a 102-minute long feature film that was almost entirely shot and rendered on green screen with such a tiny budget (this is very much fan-level comparison to what was done with Battlestar: Galactica – Blood & Chrome, right down to the camera motion and seamless transitions from location to location). On a technical level alone, the team behind Horizon deserved some massive congrats on pulling this off.
Since Feb 2016 the viewership of Horizon has been fast yet steady and in the space of six months surpassed the numbers accumulated by the controversial fan film “Prelude to Axanar”.
Despite Horizon surpassing what formerly was considered the highest viewed Star Trek fan film made in August of 2016, this event was tarnished by instead of congratulations by Axanar they hit back with claims of brought viewers and none genuine numbers, this was a spiteful move from the team at Axanar and regardless of its intent did nothing to sway the viewers from watching Horizon and as a result Horizon has now become the most-viewed Star Trek fan film made to date.
This is a testament to Tommy Kraft and his team behind this truly inspiring fan film as it shows not only dedication but a love for what they did.
In fact, Horizon was so successful it led Tommy to plan a follow-up called FEDERATION RISING, however, due to the Axanar lawsuit we will now not get to see what would have been yet another amazing film.
In April 2016, co-producer Tommy Kraft issued the following regarding a proposed follow-up production.
“STAR TREK – HORIZON” SEQUEL, “FEDERATION RISING”, SHUT DOWN.
“Earlier today, executives from CBS reached out to me and advised me that their legal team strongly suggested that we do not move forward with plans to create a sequel to Horizon. While this is a sign of the current climate that we find ourselves in with Star Trek fan films, I want to personally thank CBS for reaching out to me, rather than including us in their ongoing lawsuit against Axanar.
It was conveyed that the reason CBS was reaching out to me was due to the legal troubles stemming from the Axanar case. Again, CBS did not have to reach out personally. The message I received felt more like they were giving me a heads up before we got too involved in another project, rather than a group of angry executives swinging a hammer.
On behalf of myself and Ryan Webber, my co-writer and co-producer on Federation Rising, we appreciate your initial support and are saddened that we cannot bring you what we believe was a fantastic feature film. However, rest assured that Ryan and I are committed to continuing our storytelling partnership with an original project. We also welcome other fan productions and fan film lovers to join us in this new venture.
While we initially planned to debut our Kickstarter for Federation Rising this Saturday, we hope that you will instead stand with us as we announce an original sci-fi project that Ryan and I have been co-developing in addition to Federation Rising. We’re incredibly excited to tell you about this completely original story that follows the ideals set forth by Star Trek that Ryan and I have been such huge fans and admirers of our entire lives.”
So what is the plot of Horizon in a nutshell?
Horizon is set in the same era as Star Trek: Enterprise, picking up where that series concluded. The film centres on the discovery, an NX class ship like Archer’s Enterprise, and its crew. Captain Harrison Hawke leads a principally human crew. The one exception is Lieutenant T’mar, a Romulan defector conveyance vital tactical data to Starfleet. Horizon covers the Romulan war mentioned in Enterprise, and conjointly takes parts of the temporal conflict, bringing that to a conclusion.
The film opens with a prelude that includes the last living members of a race legendary within the Star Trek galaxy, the Iconians. They have been defeated by another race that created an excellent weapon known as Horizon. The two Iconians take and conceal the weapon; therefore, it cannot be used again.
The first scene brings us to 2160 and begins with Discovery heading back to earth to get T’mar and her Romulan secrets to Starfleet Command, however, they are not out of danger with three Romulan warbirds in hot pursuit. The Discovery takes serious injury and suffers many casualties. The Enterprise makes a surprise cameo, swooping in to save them at the last moment, in fact, the Enterprise makes many little cameos throughout the flick, which Enterprise fans will love! Just like they will love Horizon.
With Discovery limping back to space dock to undergo vital repairs and debrief. During their debrief they learn from T’mar that the Romulans are building devastating weapon with-in 2 light-years from Earth. A fleet of Vulcan and Earth ships, as well as the freshly repaired Discovery, head out to seek and find and destroy the weapon, known as Horizon. The fleet comes under fire by Romulans, and it’s left to the discovery to destroy the weapon with their new prototype torpedoes. The torpedoes cause a surprising spatial rift that form and Discovery are forced through.
The crew notice themselves in orbit above the planet Horizon that is that the planet we see being pulled through a gate like structure at the beginning of the film. While investigating a structure on the surface they’re found by Daekon, a Romulan deserter from the twenty-eighth century and a combatant within the temporal cold war. We learn that he’s the mysterious man from the future within the Enterprise series. The crew of Discovery works to defeat him and at last fully destroy the weapon, ending the temporal cold war to a detailed end at long last.
The story of Horizon is a canon-worthy outing for the Trek franchise, official or not this fits right into the universe with little trouble, the script is so tight and the story is so compelling I am sad that we will not get to see a follow up but I am happy that I can always get my fix of the Discovery and her crew when I need it from just loading up Horizon on YouTube.