Originally Published: April 20, 2013 10:03 p.m.
Science fiction fans found reason to celebrate when the Sci-Fi Mini-Fest transported onto the campus of Yavapai College Friday.
Spaced-out films, a dance, panel discussions and more rounded out the first-time event. Highlights included the screening of the film "Trek Nation" and a visit from Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry, son of late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, affectionately nicknamed "the great bird of the galaxy."
"Trek Nation," a documentary filmed by director Scott Colthorp, follows Rod as he explores the legacy left by his famed father. Rod also served as producer on the 2011 film.
Rod said he made the film out of a personal desire to learn more about his father, who died in 1991.
"It really has to do with humanizing my father. I didn't grow up with the great bird of the galaxy. I grew up with Dad. When he passed away I heard stories about the lives he touched with 'Star Trek,' and how it inspired a lot of people," Rod said.
Rod is the chief executive officer for Roddenberry Entertainment, which produces graphic novels, comics, television and film projects. He is also co-founder and chairman of the Roddenberry Foundation, which funds science, technology, environmental, educational and humanitarian advances. And he leads the Roddenberry Dive Team - an ocean stewardship and exploration organization.
"I'm not that interested in traditional Hollywood," Rod explained. "I'm not cut out for it. I love the creative side of things, but I love trying to inspire people in my own way. The Roddenberry Foundation is really a real-life example of the Roddenberry philosophy and the idea in 'Star Trek' - the beautiful future we all want to live in."
Besides Rod's film, "Trek" played heavy at the festival, which also featured appearances from actor David Frankham, who appeared on the original "Star Trek" episode "Is There In Truth No Beauty"; actor Barry Jenner, who appeared on episodes of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"; and actor Sean David Kenney, who appeared on episodes of the original "Star Trek" television series, most memorably as the injured Captain Pike.
Jenner said he really enjoyed his visit to Prescott, especially after seeing the courthouse plaza downtown.
"This is a really nice piece of America, this town," Jenner said. "As (Kenney) and I were saying, we should all move up here, just for vacation homes."
A number of "Star Trek" films were also screened during the festival, including "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" and the 2009 "Star Trek" film. Other festival films included "Galaxy Quest," "The Matrix," "District 9" and "Forbidden Planet." Jerry Chin, who worked in the special effects department on the original "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," offered a workshop based on his experience during the festival. Frankham, Jenner and Kenney held a panel discussion following the screening of "Star Trek II."
The event wraps up today with a discussion on the 1978 "Star Wars" novel "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" - the first stand-alone continuation of the original motion picture, and written prior to the release of "Star Wars" - by author Alan Dean Foster. Foster, who lives in Prescott, was on hand for the Sunday discussion.