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Interview

Casey Pugh

Casey Pugh Casey Pugh helped make Vimeo and is now the head of web development for Boxee. He also founded the crowdsourcing film project Star Wars: Uncut, which recently premiered at CPH: PIX, a Copenhagen film festival. The project broke the film down, and users were asked to recreate and submit the scenes of their choosing. The result is a fully user-created collage of one of the defining films of a generation.

The Morning News: What prompted you to start this project? Why use open collaboration?

Casey Pugh: As a developer I helped create Vimeo.com and became interested in people making videos and sharing them on the internet. It was a pretty natural jump to want to make a new technology that could let people make videos together.

TMN: Why remake Star Wars, in particular?

CP: A movie like Star Wars that is internationally adored seemed the best choice to start this kind of experiment.

TMN: How exactly did all of this come together?

CP: I cut up the movie into 15-second pieces and let people claim and remake the scenes any way they wanted to. Within a short time of the launch, all of the available scenes were taken and I was overwhelmed by requests to let more people participate. Over a thousand people uploaded their versions and then we put it all back together with video editor Aaron Valdez and sound engineer Bryan Pugh. Other Star Wars: Uncut team members are Jamie Wilkinson, who helped develop code, Chad Pugh, visual designer, and Annelise Pruitt, visual designer and management.

TMN: Now that the film’s premiered in Copenhagen, what are your plans for it?

CP: We’re going to be screening the finished film at various film festivals the rest of this year. I’m currently planning screenings here in the States, but no dates have been set yet. Most likely the first screening will be here in N.Y.C.

We also can’t wait to relaunch the site with the finished film within the next month—this new site will have a great new look and feel, and users will be able to watch the whole movie with a different combination of scenes every time.

TMN: What is most exciting about the crowdsourcing phenomenon?

CP: It’s exciting that over 1,000 people from over 100 countries want to work on a group creation, and we’re excited to keep doing Uncut movies in the future. The crowdsourcing phenomenon opens up the world to a limitless resource of talent. When you create a simple tool combined with a worldwide passion, you get a bottomless resource of creativity. That, to me, is very exciting, and I can’t wait to see what other people do to leverage the world’s passion for something besides film.

TMN: Speaking of Uncut movies in the future, what else would you like to see remade in this fashion?

CP: There are plenty of movies I’d love to do Uncut versions of. The rest of the Star Wars series, Batman, The Matrix, Indiana Jones…the list could go on and on!
biopic

TMN Editor Erik Bryan is living the dream. He grew up in Florida, but he’s from all over. He likes playing chess, making cocktails, smarting off, and not freezing to death in Brooklyn, where he currently resides. More by Erik Bryan

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