In light of the recent success of DC’s new Wonder Woman film, talk has already begun regarding the role of superheroines in fiction. While it’s great that Wonder Woman got her first feature-length film, there are countless female comic book characters who deserve to have their stories told onscreen. The lack of a Marvel film focused on Storm led Maya Glick to make and star in her own 2016 fan film about Ororo Munroe.
In the fanfilm titled RAIN, Storm has forgotten who she is and only retains flashes of memories about her former self. As the story develops, she begins to figure who she was and what was taken from her. For Glick, Storm’s ability to find strength in her powers was the big inspiration she needed to make a fan film about this particular X-Man.
“[Storm] was powerless, she was depressed… and, of course, managed to bounce back,” Glick said.
For Glick, it was important to tell a story about regaining stolen power, especially as a Black woman.
“There was just a huge lack of representation as far as sci-fi… movies where women of color are concerned. And I think that, even the places where women of color were present, the stories were told by people who weren’t women of color,” she said.
While RAIN has always partly been a personal story for Glick, she also believes that there are elements to Storm’s character, and therefore her fan film, that anyone can connect to and appreciate.
“She went through being considered a goddess and a thief… and to go from being this goddess to this depressed woman, rolling up in bed, feeling sorry for herself, and then back to the leader of the X-Men. I think that, for me, that one of the most important traits,” she said. “She’s African and she’s been broken down and risen back up again… There’s just some aspect of her that anyone can relate to.”
Despite being only 23 minutes long, the level of production and the money needed to make the fan film happen was more than Glick herself even anticipated.
“When I set out to do this… in 2013, I’d never made a film before, I didn’t know what I was getting into… There was two different Kickstarters, and I ended up raising $22,000 altogether, which to me is huge,” she said. “But for the scale of production that the film ended up being, I kept being told that it actually wasn’t very much. So there was a lot of begging and borrowing, the story got condensed in a lot of ways…”
Glick explained how she first had to find a filmmaker whose team then also worked on the fan film. In the end, she ended up with two directors and a producer – all from the filmmaker’s team. This producer then had to seek out a director of property and a film crew. After all these positions were established, they were finally ready to start casting. Glick originally had envisioned specific people – including her friends – who she wanted cast in the fan film while retaining a low budget, but by the time she had her whole team together, that idea was discarded.
“There was things like insurance on the studio where it was shot at, there was set building,” she said. “All of it except for the bar scene were filmed on sets that we built, including the motel… which is pretty amazing.”
The team incorporated several fight scenes into the fan film, which was particularly enjoyable for Glick to film as someone who studies martial arts.
“Martial arts is hugely important to me… I wrote in fight scenes because I knew that I knew how to fight and so it was fun…” Glick said. “It was different from real fighting because [in real life], they teach you how to pivot, but in filming, they teach you how to miss… that was hard because the stunt guys were a little bit afraid of me because they saw that I was aiming for their faces.”
Aside from the fight scenes, Glick also enjoyed filming the scene where Storm finally flies, especially being able to see it happen in the fan film.
Glick also talked about how she managed to avoid the film being shut down due to copyright infringement.
“Originally [RAIN] was just kind of a personal story that I needed to write, and I didn’t know that it was going to end up being this slick… and while I didn’t think it was going to look crappy by any means, I didn’t think it was going to look this cinematic, and so it never occurred to me that [intellectual property] would be an issue to have to worry about,” Glick said. “My defense [to Marvel] was going to be if you’re that upset about somebody else telling a Storm story, then you get us a Storm story.”
She also explains that there are a lot of elements missing in the fan film that would prevent people from seeing it as an infringement of intellectual property. For example, the X-Men are never referred to in the fan film nor does the title have the name “Storm” in it – in fact, the names “X-Men” and “Storm” are never said once in the fan film.
Now, a year after RAIN’s release, Glick is already focusing her energy on future projects.
“There is the second part to this story and, originally… I didn’t have the idea that it would take so long to get completed and, by the time it came out, I was passed the idea of doing another Storm film… But the next thing I am interested in doing… is kind of a similar version of a fan film [and] backstory on the Mad Max character Aunty Entity.”