Roswell Filmfest and Cosmicon

June 29, 2013 • Local News

Jeremy Baggs, aka Gimli, from left, Shelby Halvorson as the Weeping Angel from Dr. Who and Tara Trever dressed as an alien, pose for photos during Roswell Filmfest and Cosmicon at the Roswell Mall, Friday morning. (Mark Wilson Photo)

The inter-galactic worlds collided as Star Wars crossed with Doctor Who, and Paul was introduced to “Hadoken!” A Weeping Angel lurked in the corner, carefully watching the comic book vendors, while an electronic tiger drove by displaying Brony shirts. With a mix of geek, nerd and science fiction, Roswell Filmfest and Cosmicon was a flurry of eventfulness, livening up Roswell Mall on Friday.

Incorporating famous Internet memes like, “It’s over 9000” and “Mega Buster,” a photo booth grabbed the attention of meme enthusiasts. Even props, like Thor’s hammer and Captain America’s shield were available.

Meanwhile, Doctor Who’s TARDIS stood nearby, majestically and silently overlooking the happenings. The TARDIS, or Time And Relative Dimension In Space, looks like a small 1950s police box, but we all know it’s actually a time machine that’s “bigger on the inside.”

Switching to a different element of space fiction, life-size Star Wars characters made a bold [auth] appearance as part of Far Away Creations, an enterprise owned by a husband and wife team that specializes in life-size models of various weapons, characters and props.

Cal and Kathy Pierce make base in Loveland, Colo., but enjoy traveling to different conventions to display what was originally a personal hobby.

“We build it for us because we love it,” Cal said of their Star Wars replicas. A Tatooine scene was the center of their display, complete with a Tusken Raider, a jawa, a landspeeder and even a walking, talking R2-D2 to complete the scene.

Every piece is made of different materials, but most are started the old-fashioned way: with a lump of clay, Cal said. Lately his favorite, as well as his nightmare according to Kathy, are the landspeeders.

“(Kathy) does the magic at the end,” Cal said, giving his wife credit for the authentic, rustic, worn look painted onto the speeders.

Using multiple materials such as leather, neoprene and fiberglass, the Pierces have created an entirely physical world of Star Wars personnel. They have also worked on movie scenes, doing work for “Paul” and “Lone Ranger.”

“We like to find something to test new abilities,” Cal said. “And then hopefully we’ll get paid for it,” he added with laughter. But he is an artist first and a businessman second.

Storm Trooper TK-7883 and Darth Revan are friends with the Pierces, and all of them are in the 501st Legion: Vader’s Fist, a Star Wars club whose members operate at conventions but also do charity walks and visit children’s hospitals.

“If you can take time out of your day to (visit kids) why wouldn’t you?” TK-7883 said. It’s more than a “nerd in a costume” thing for him.

But moving along into a modern age of almost sci-fi like technology, the Xsens MVN suit was being displayed, giving aficionados the chance to see the technology firsthand.

The best way to explain the suit: “It’s like 17 Wii Remotes all tied together” to calculate movements, said Technology Performance Capture intern Chris Barton.

The suit takes the actor’s movements and uses sensors to project the actions onto a screen. And it only takes roughly 10 to 20 minutes to get set up, said Rowan Melanson, who somehow got roped into modeling the suit.

“I just showed up and they said put this on,” she said. Then after a pause: “I feel like Golem.”

And in correlation with bringing creatures to life, Zoofari Express brought a whole new meaning to electronic transportation.

Using pieces from electronic wheelchairs and modeling after a European idea, Zoofari has plush stuffed animals that can be ridden and driven.

They may look all cute and childlike, but they are actually capable of withstanding 300 pounds, said Gilbert Barela, who was running and overseeing the Zoofari rides. Some Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings players even rode them once, racing down a track on an array of zoo and safari animals, he said.

Of course, no convention would be complete without merchandise, and the vendors ranged from selling T-shirts, to Steampunk garb to comic books. Whether consumers needed accessories for a future cosplay or simply an everyday shirt to proudly proclaim their geekiness, RFC had a little something for everyone.

With all the excitement continuing today and Sunday, RFC will continue to be filled with “out of this world” technology and plenty of epic photo opportunities.

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