Born of Hope

Born of Hope: The Ring of Barahir… is a 72-minute fantasy-adventure fan film directed by Kate Madison and written by Paula DiSante (as Alex K. Aldridge) that is based on the appendices of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The film centres on the communities affected by Sauron's war; the story of Arathorn II and his relationship with Gilraen, and the importance of the Dúnedain bloodline.

The bulk of the film was shot at the West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village in Suffolk. Forest scenes were shot in Epping Forest, and flyover shots include views of Snowdonia National Park in Wales and Derwentwater in the Lake District of England.

The Story…
In the late Third Age, Sauron's power is increasing, and he has sent his Orcs to seek out the remnants of the bloodline of Elendil, kept alive in the Dúnedain. Dirhael, his wife Ivorwen and their daughter Gilraen are fleeing from an attack on their village when they are ambushed by Orcs on a forest road, and saved by a group of rangers led by Arathorn. Not having any place safer to go, the refugees go with Arathorn to Taurdal, the village led by his father and Chieftain of the Dúnedain, Arador. While there, Arathorn and Arador ponder the Orcs' motives after finding various pieces of jewelry on their bodies. During her stay in Taurdal, Gilraen falls in love with Arathorn.

In light of the attacks on surrounding settlements, Arador leads his forces on a campaign against the Orcs in the area in an attempt to restore peace to the region. Meanwhile, he sends Arathorn separately in an attempt to determine the meaning behind the attacks. Both are successful, and Arathorn discovers the orcs are serving Sauron, who seeks the Ring of Barahir. Arathorn and Gilraen receive Arador's blessing to be wed, but Arathorn cannot summon the courage to ask Dirhael for his daughter's hand. Arador is summoned to Rivendell to seek Elrond's council, and the wedding is postponed until his return. Arathorn eventually confronts Dirhael, and receives permission to marry his daughter.

A year later, Arador is killed by a hill troll in the Coldfells, making Arathorn the chieftain of the Dúnedain. Gilraen becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son, Aragorn. Taurdal knows peace for a while, until Elladan and Elrohir come with news from Rivendell. Elrond has sensed that danger is once again threatening the region, and they request that Gilraen and Aragorn be brought back to Rivendell for safekeeping, as is the tradition with all Dúnedain heirs to the chiefdom. Before Arathorn and Gilraen can come to a decision, orcs attack the village. They are beaten off, however, many Rangers fall, and Arathorn's closest friend, Elgarain, is mortally wounded while defending Gilraen. Arathorn then leads the remaining Rangers in pursuit of the stragglers. They are successful, but Arathorn is mortally wounded in the process. Without a chieftain capable of leading them, the Dúnedain abandon Taurdal and go into hiding in small secret settlements in the forests of Rhudaur, while the Elven twins, Elladan and Elrohir, bring Aragorn with his mother Gilraen to Rivendell, and safety.

The Movie…
The idea for the film was born in 2003 when director/producer/actor Kate Madison wanted to submit a film for the Tolkien Fan Film Exhibition. Originally a modest plan, it grew until April 2006 when the first test shoot occurred. Principal photography started in June 2008, and continued through 2009. The goal was to debut at Ring*Con 2009, which it did. It was later streamed for free on various video websites including DailyMotion and YouTube.

Madison spent her life savings of £8,000 on the film. An extra £17,000 was generated by posting a trailer online, raising the budget to £25,000. Born of Hope was made over a period of six years, using a cast of 400, who would camp in tents so as to be able to shoot in the early mornings.

Christopher Dane (Arathorn) ended up getting very involved in the process of making the film, contributing to the script as well as handling the editing of the final product. Kate Madison, who directed and produced the film, was additionally cast as Elgarain.

Chris Bouchard of The Hunt for Gollum (see previous post) contributed to the production of the film as a camera operator and effects artist.

If you've not seen it, here is your opportunity to see the movie… you can find it, and much additional material, here:

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