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Sweded Films are amateur recreations of famous films using limited resources and technology inspired by the 2008 comedy film Be Kind Rewind. The films are typically much shorter in length than their originals and use shoe-string budget props to mimic the source material.
The term “sweded” was coined in the 2008 Michel Gondry comedy film Be Kind Rewind, starring Jack Black and Mos Def. The film takes place in Passaic, New Jersey, where the declining VHS rental store “Be Kind Rewind” loses its entire video collection after being inadvertently magnetized. Mike (played by Mos Def) and Jerry (played by Jack Black) attempt to replace the store’s video collection by recreating films using a camcorder and claiming they are special editions from Sweden.
The BeKindMovie YouTube channel was created to promote the film on December 10th, 2007. The first video uploaded to the channel was a sweded version of the 1991 film Boyz in the Hood (shown below, left). On December 22nd, 2007, the BeKindMovie channel uploaded a video titled “How to Swede” (shown below, right), featuring instructions on how to produce a sweded film.
The practice of producing low-budget versions of famous films existed for years prior to the invention of the term. A fan adaptation of the 1981 action-adventure film Raiders of the Lost Ark premiered at the Alamo Drafthouse cinema on May 31st, 2003. The shot-by-shot remake of the film, which took 7 years to shoot, was produced by Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and Jason Lab.
Be Kind Rewind premiered on February 22nd, 2008 and earned $4 million in the United States and Canada in its opening weekend. The domain for the site SwededFilms.com, which serves as a database for sweded movies, was registered the next day. On February 24th, the sweded film blog Sweded Cinema was launched and included rules for creating sweded videos:
1. Must be based on an already produced film
2. Range 2-8 minutes in length
3. Must not contain computer generated graphics
4. Based on films less than 35 years old
5. Special effects must be limited to camera tricks and arts ’n crafts
6. Sound effects created by human means
The first Urban Dictionary definition was submitted by user Annastacia on March 16th, 2008, which defined the term as a “recreation of popular pop-culture films using limited budgets.” On April 27th, 2008, the domain for the sweded film database SwedishMovies.org was registered. On March 30th, 2009, a round-up of YouTube sweded films was published on the entertainment website Total Film. On September 30th, a website was launched for the sweded film festival Swede Fest. On May 3rd, 2010, YouTuber PushItFilmOn uploaded a sweded version of the 2009 science fiction film Star Trek (shown below, left). March 15th, 2011, College Humor released a sweded version of the science fiction film Star Wars featuring actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (shown below, right).
Throughout 2008, sweded versions of various popular movies were uploaded to YouTube including Bladerunner, The Matrix, Titanic and Fight Club.
Star Wars Uncut
Star Wars Uncut is a crowdsourced fan film remake of the 1977 science-fiction film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope by Casey Pugh, Annelise Pruitt, Chad Pugh and Jamie Wilkinson. The site StarWarsUncut.com was registered on February 28th, 2009 and allowed fans to sign up to recreate 15 second scenes from the film. Many scenes submitted for the film were performed in a sweded-style, although others were created with various animation techniques. The full film was released through a special playback method with Vimeo on August 18th, 2010. The film received a Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Media on August 21st. The director’s cut was uploaded to YouTube on January 18th, 2012.