Science fiction doesn’t have to be about humans. Some of the best engages us in the lives and worlds of alien races, and though this is only very rarely done in movies and the movie R’Ha is going to be one of the noteworthy outliers. The film is the brainchild of Kaleb Lechowski, and it isn’t your average sci-fi thriller. It’s about a race of principled beings, sworn protectors of the weak and defenseless. About 80% of their military strength is robotic, though, and when it becomes sentient that strength wants its freedom.
The name R’Ha is an expression adopted from the old language of the E’nee (abbr. Ec Nee, meaning “high or exalted existence”), who are the ancestors of this species. It is an honorific used to describe the trained warriors of their culture. You can compare the word to “samarai”. Literally, the term R’ha translates to “superior warrior”, and they are just that. They aren’t conquerors, though. They’re protectors, not only of their own kind and their own world, but of many other worlds and the various united civilizations that live on them.
The story is set in a cluster of worlds revolving around a stellar object called the Black Giant (or the E’Tehalarr) which feeds most of these worlds with a vital and powerful radiation that many species evolved to feed off of. The two most important planets are Gahash, considered the political and diplomatic center of the cluster, and Zaoul, home of the Children of Zaoul and the R’Ha themselves. The Children of Zaoul are a peaceful people. They cherish life much more than humans do, and they’ve made it their responsibility to use their technological prowess for their own defense and the protection of the worlds around them.
By the time you read this, the Kickstarter will very likely be over. They won. And because they did, so will we.
There is something of a crisis in sci-fi film making with respect to crowdfunding. It’s the fan films, projects made for the love of established TV show or movie properties, that are in trouble lately. Paramount and CBS are going after Axanar, a Star Trek fan film they feel violates their copyright, and this, in turn, has had a chilling effect on Kickstarter and IndieGogo campaigns for other projects. Fans aren’t as willing to put their personal funds on the line for projects that could get smacked down at the last minute by a legal action.
Because R’Ha uses only its own original material, and presented so well in the short film Lechowski created three years ago as a proof of concept for his full length film, the project has won the right to proceed to the finish line. Now we, the fans, will get to see Kaleb Lechowski’s vision come to life. Just as important, the studios will get to see what he can do. The more projects like R’Ha that get funded and produced, the more the landscape for film making changes under the feet of the traditional Hollywood landscape. The ramifications for the entire industry are profound.