TICONDEROGA - The Klingon homeworld has been discovered - at Fort Ticonderoga.
The award-winning internet series Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II recently filmed a portion of an on location at historic Fort Ticonderoga.
Klingons began showing up at Fort Ticonderoga last month in search of their rumored homeworld, confusing both visitors and aliens alike. The truth about the fort's alternate-future-reality didn't become apparent, however, until the visitors left and light were thrown at the fort's stone walls and nearby grounds. Earthlings who braved the grounds found themselves facing aliens at every turn, strange buildings from the future, and breathtaking panoramas of alien landscapes that stretched into the night.
Based in Ticonderoga, the Cawley Entertainment Company/Retro Film Studios production films new episodes of the classic Star Trek series from the 1960s and offers them for free on the internet.
With new actors taking on the roles and using museum-quality duplicates of the original sets, after 30 million downloads the Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II series has been named "the most successful internet production" and James Cawley, its senior executive producer, one of "the 10 most important Star Trek fans in history."
"Kitumba," the latest story, called for location shooting on the Klingon homeworld, Qo'nos, and a cast of 36, with 59 extras sporting both classic Klingon makeup and the ridges later seen in the Star Trek feature films.
When the script described Qo'nos as "comprised of rough-hewn stone buildings as if untouched by time immemorial", Ti resident Cawley had no doubts where on 21st century Earth the production would find a "double" for the 23rd century location.
"We have to use Fort Ti," said Cawley, "or we're not doing the episode."
Marci Hall, Fort Ticonderoga's public relations and marketing director, embraced the project the moment she heard about it.
"We're looking at creative ways to broaden the fort's audience," Hall said. "As a private not-for-profit historic site we're able to entertain special projects like this. When I saw how thrilled our visitors and staff were when they encountered Klingons at the fort I knew it was a good fit."
"Marci was really excited to have us there and brought us to several locations that were just incredible," said Cawley. "She had a real eye for what we were looking for and had great ideas on how to work with us."
The concerns of staging the shoot on location were quickly way-laid by the ultra-modern Mars Center, which was used as both wardrobe/makeup and a green room/craft services area.
Hall's support of the new, ambitious shooting plan found her greeting the truckloads of Star Trek: Phase II's cast, crew and equipment as they arrived. She stayed for a 10 hours of shooting each night, aiding the producers to quickly overcome any unexpected obstacles that cropped up.
While the crew magically turned night into day and transformed the stone buildings and nearby paths into parts of the "Sacred City" on Qo'nos, the makeup and wardrobe department used the ground level classroom in the Mars Center to turn every passing body into an alien - including a surprised Hall.
"With Hall's support, unparalleled teamwork on the part of the production crew - and several dozen pizzas, the two nights of filming went off without a hitch and the impossible location shoot became a brilliant reality. The footage from Fort Ticonderoga looks absolutely amazing," declared Cawley. "Using that location is going to make this our best episode yet."
Also helping the film crew was Lyle St. Jean, supervisor of Fort Ticonderoga's property. He worked closely with Co-Executive Producer and Lead Electrician Gary Evans and Lighting Designer (Gaffer) Robert Mauro.
Principle photography on "Kitumba" wrapped in the early morning hours of June 15 and the episode is now in post-production, with an expected release date in early 2010 at www.startreknewvoyages.com