While volunteering at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, I had a chance encounter with Adam Harris, director of the documentary My Saga. He briefly told me his story and I found it amazing. Thankfully, he agreed to do an interview for MakingStarWars.net so that he could shed a little light on his documentary, and how supporting it can help the lives of seriously ill children.
Mark Seyb: First off, thanks so much for taking the time to do an interview. When I saw you at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, there was such an infectious energy about you and your son, that I had to find out what your story was – and it’s quite a story. But before we get to what your documentary, My Saga, is about, why don’t you tell me about how you became a Star Wars fan?
Adam Harris: I first became a Star Wars fan, like many others, when my father took me to see my first movie in a theater. For me that film was Return of the Jedi in late 1983. Seeing that universe on such a large scale, it changed me forever and I instantly fell in love with that universe and dreamed about being part of it. Even when Star Wars disappeared for a time off the screen and TV my passion and love for the films always remained the same.
Mark: Mostly the same for me except it was my mother who took me to The Empire Strikes Back and who went searching for every Kenner figure that I didn’t have. You and I both have parents that took us to these movies that changed our lives. Many of us are older now and sharing our passion with our children. You might not have gotten that chance. Tell me about the the brain tumor you were diagnosed with four years ago. What goes through your mind when you learn such a thing and what helped keep you sane?
Adam: It is a hard thing to truly describe what goes through your mind. Fear… I was afraid of never seeing my children ever again. I was scared for my wife that I had let her down in some way. It is really hard thing. The tumor was discovered after I suffered a bleed in my brain only five days after my second child was born. It was a tough time. After being the hospital for nearly nine days I was discharged. My blood work was fine and the tumor seemed non-malignant, so I have had scans and blood tests for the last four years and I am happy to say, the tumor has stopped growing and my blood work is great. I still live with the tumor as the doctors did not want to risk taking it out.
For me the love of my family kept me strong and I made a promise to myself I would chase a dream I had had for many years, becoming a filmmaker. Ever since seeing Return of the Jedi, I wanted to be able to one day make a Star Wars film. So I began chasing it and here I am today, living my dream.
Mark: So you’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker. Lot’s of people want to be filmmakers. You went from dreaming to doing though. So what was the first step? How did you decide on the subject matter? Was there anyone you turned to for advice on what type of cameras or lenses to use?
Adam: After I got out of hospital I had it in my mind to pursue my dream as a filmmaker, but at the same time I had to think about the fact that my family had just added another member and my priority was to provide for them. I would wait for the right opportunity to come along for me to get to that first step which didn’t take long. I was at work having a general chat with two of my closest friends about our love of film and I said “well, why don’t we go and make our own films” and it sprouted from there.
Jack/el Productions (Named after my children Jack and Elouise) was born and for about 6 months we sat around and discussed ideas with people about making films. Eventually we began production on my first short film entitled That Day, which I had help writing from an extremely talented actor, Bryce Padovan, which centred around an individual who had lost his memory during the final 24 hours before the end of the world and was searching for answers to who he was.
For me It was a personal story of what I felt when I was in the hospital–lost, alone and not sure of who I truly was. From there we got some exposure on Twitter thanks to actor David Arquette taking an interest in a teaser trailer we had put out on the film. For a couple of years there we tried to push to make a feature but without more experience we had no luck. Then on that day in October 2012 when Lucasfilm and Disney announced new films, My Saga began to form and the rest is history.
I had some amazing people with me on the That Day shoot and that is where I was introduced to Terry King and the team of Haywire Films, who are currently a part of the My Saga Documentary. Terry is just amazing and extremely talented. He is the ultimate talented filmmaker and I am truly humbled and honored to have him and his team with me on this journey.
Mark: So you’ve combined your passion for Star Wars with your dream of becoming a filmmaker. There are quite a few individuals who share that passion and who are involved in the Star Wars universe that sat down with you for interviews. Can you tell me a little bit about how it was to meet these people who helped create the universe that so many fans love?
Adam: It was such an incredible experience. To meet ILM model makers Charlie Bailey and Steve Gawley was just mind-blowing. These guys made the dream of George Lucas a reality. To speak to Perry King who voiced Han Solo in the radio dramatizations was a dream come true for me as I am such a huge fan of those recordings. Everyone I met was just amazing, from the fans, to those who made Star Wars what it is today, I feel privileged to be able to hear their stories, and to share these moments with my son is something I will never forget.
Mark: The whole experience sounds amazing. So tell us, finally, what exactly My Saga is about. Also, I understand that it will be supporting a charity as well? Star Wars fans are very giving and supportive so let us know what we can do to to support the film and this charity.
Adam: Here is also a blurb about what the MY SAGA documentary is all about:
My Saga follows the journey of Adam Harris (me), a husband, father and Star Wars fan. Four years ago, the discovery of a brain tumor and a serious health scare caused Adam to re-evaluate his priorities and follow his dreams.
Star Wars has always been a constant source of joy, comfort and even safety in Adam’s life. When it became apparent his children shared the same deep love and affection for Star Wars, Adam felt compelled to discover just what it is about Star Wars that creates such devoted fans that span across multiple generations, all around the world.
With his son Jack by his side, Adam has spoken with fans, enthusiasts, die-hards as well as cast and crew members from the films. All the while discovering what Star Wars means to him, and the impact it’s had on making him the husband and father he is today.
Every fan has their own saga. This is one.
We are working closely with the Starlight Children’s Foundation here in Australia and we are hoping to raise awareness and donations for this wonderful organization. If people wish to donate or learn more about the foundation they can head to: https://starlight.org.au.
However, we are currently working on a Web site (hopefully will be ready soon-ish) where we will be selling exclusive My Saga merchandise like the theatrical film posters (three variant types), t-shirts, and a variety of other goodies. The profits from the sale of the merchandise and the film on DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital copy will be heading directly to Starlight. So Star Wars fans can grab some great My Saga items and help Starlight at the same time.
So I suggest to all the fans out there to keep eyes on www.mysaga.com.au and you will not be only helping support our documentary, you’ll be helping the Starlight Children’s Foundation. We have recently donated a My Saga Poster signed by Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Daniel Logan, Matthew Wood, Amy Allen, Ian McDiarmid plus a stack of others to Starlight so they could auction it off to raise funds. We just want to help as much as we can and also make a documentary that Star Wars fans will be proud of.
Mark: I saw you getting that poster signed. That’s very cool and a wonderful way to benefit the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Thanks so much for taking to time to speak with me Adam. This documentary sounds amazing and something every Star Wars fan should get behind. We will watch your documentary with great interest.
Watch the trailer below and make sure to follow Adam on Facebook at mysagadocumentary, as well as on Twitter (@MySaga_SW)