My Saga follows the journey of Adam Harris, who four years ago was struck down with a brain tumour, and transformed something tragic into something positive. With the love of his family and his passion for Star Wars, he overcame this adversity to be given a chance to live a dream with his son, Jack Anakin Harris. This father and son have now embarked on a journey together for the next 12 months to explore the bonds between generations of fans as they experience the build up to the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
Anyone who has listened to Fantha Tracks Radio and The Fantha From Down Under will be familiar with My Saga, the documentary from filmmaker Adam Harris that charts his journey through adversity all the way from Australia to Anaheim and Star Wars Celebration. Travelling from Brisbane with his son Jack to pursue a long-held dream Harris, co-director Terry King and producers Rod O’Neil and Codi Carlson follow Adam and Jack’s trip across the pacific to Los Angeles, San Francisco and ultimately Anaheim where the as-yet-unknown treasures of The Force Awakens lie in wait.
To fully appreciate the documentary you need to understand Harris’ drive and motivation. What makes this different to any other father and son Star Wars adventure, something that as the years roll on becomes more and more commonplace. Perhaps it’s the backdrop of Adam’s discovery of a brain tumour and his determination to do something significant with his life – in this case, make a film and become a filmmaker – that gives it the heft that sets it apart. Throughout the film, that discovery is ever-present and informs how much Adam wants to share his life-long love for the saga with his son Jack, who is every bit as crazy about Star Wars as his Dad.
During My Saga we not only meet fellow fans and share some amazing moments – more on that in a bit – but get the chance to chat with some of the stars of the Star Wars story. Vanessa Marshall, an ambassador for Star Wars that we’re so lucky to have and James Arnold Taylor, the ever-energetic voice behind Jack’s favourite character Obi-Wan Kenobi who chats with Adam while waiting on the concrete floor before the BIG panel at Anaheim.
Adam takes the chance to visit the treasure trove that is Rancho Obi-Wan and tour with Steve Sansweet as his guide. Anyone who’s ever seen Steve give a tour, or sat down with him to pick his brain knows what a compendium of GFFA knowledge he is, with a story all of his own, and with the backdrop of Rancho behind him it’s a great sequence. Watching Jack’s face as Steve shows off his collection is a picture, and don’t forget, Sansweet was one of the brains behind the first Star Wars Celebration back in 1999.
While not a publicly well known as his TV counterparts, Adam’s meeting with Han Solo radio plays actor Perry King is arguably the most affecting scene of the documentary. Like many of us, Adam has been a fan of those radio plays since childhood, and to see his meeting with King play out as it does says everything about the heart and soul that’s been poured into this film.
The destination is Celebration Anaheim and we get a real sense of the energy and excitement that particular Celebration gave us as we waited anxiously for the arrival of The Force Awakens. Going through the convention day by day we see the moment – THAT moment – when for the first time the screen goes black and we hear the words ‘Chewie, we’re home.’ I’ll say nothing more than when you get 34 minutes and 11 seconds in, just look to the right of Jack and Adam and you’ll see two familiar faces having a moment that will never be repeated and is certainly – for me anyway – one of my fondest Star Wars memories, and one that I had NO idea was being filmed.
This really is a wonderful documentary. It makes no bones about wearing its heart on its sleeve, because to all of us, in our own individual ways, Star Wars is an emotional, evocative, life-changing journey. To delegate Star Wars to being just a movie is to do it a huge disservice. Of course, it IS just a movie, but what other series of films weaves its way into our daily lives like Star Wars, or makes us want to travel quite literally half way around the world to share that love with fellow fans and your six year old kid? We go out of our way for Star Wars because it is more than just a film, and that sense of community and belonging drips from this film, as does the inevitable exhaustion being a Star Wars which also is ever-present and very real.
I can’t recommend this enough, as a time capsule of an amazing era for the saga as well as an intensely personal snapshot of the love between a father and his son.