Fan-driven network CONtv has released its first original movie, Mythica: A Quest for Heroes, which showcases the impact of women in the fantasy genre.
The first in a trilogy, Mythica: A Quest For Heroes follows the adventure of the young hero, Marek (Melanie Stone). Inspired by her wizard mentor Gojun, portrayed by fan-favorite Kevin Sorbo, she escapes indentured servitude and overcomes physical limitations to hone her own mysterious powers. Seeking to use her still-developing powers, she manages to rally a team of misfit adventurers to save the sister of a high priestess from Orc capture, as well as gain some well-deserved dignity and respect for herself and her cohorts.
Not only does the film feature a strong and intelligent young woman as the primary hero of the story, it showcases the talents of a female director and co-writer, Anne K. Black
Stone feels the dynamic of having key women players in roles both in front of and behind the camera brings “a balance” to the film. It also demonstrates the important role women are playing in the fantasy and science-fiction genres. From her observation, this hasn’t always been the case in the past.
“Previously, women in the sci-fi and fantasy world often, but not necessarily always, seemed two dimensional, and were limited to either the poor helpless damsel in distress, or the sultry kick-ass female who’s got an attitude and somehow manages to take out everyone in the room while wearing high-heeled leather boots. Talk about impractical,” Stone says. “Allowing women to step in and add their touch breathes life into the female characters. It allows them to be real and relatable to our female audiences, which is very important to me.”
Stone says that portraying a character like Marek, who never let any of her personal limits hold her back, gave her added confidence in her own life.
“I felt like I could overcome anything, because Marek could,” Stone says. “It’s sounds cheesy and cliché, but it has certainly motivated me to not give up when things get tough or difficult. She definitely taught me to be brave.”
Stone, who describes herself as “quirky,” said she made sure to add a little of herself to Marek as well.
“Marek goes through so much and as the films progress, it gets really dark; I didn’t want her to become this one-note character who is all doom and gloom,” she says. “I wanted her to have those lighthearted moments that remind you she’s still human.”
One of the obstacles everyone in Marek’s party of heroes faces in Mythica is suffering some sort of humiliation, and not being taken seriously by those around them. Stone hopes Marek’s attitude and accomplishments serve as an inspiration for both young women and men who may feel bound by either their personal limitations or the unfair perceptions others may have of them.
“I hope that it will remind them that those moments pass, but while you’re in them, let it make you stronger,” she says. “Learn from it and don’t ever let it keep you down.”
One of the unique aspects of CONtv is its content is fan-driven, with shows like Bruce Campbell’s trivia game show Last Fan Standing, and the YouTubers-versus-zombies spoof reality competition Fight Of The Living Dead. The content is available to view free with ads, or by subscription without ads.
Mythica: A Quest for Heroes is the result of a successful fan-supported Kickstarter campaign. A similar Kickstarter campaign for the trilogy’s next installment, Mythica: The Darkspore, is now underway.
Stone both appreciates and understands what it is like to be a fan, particularly those who desire to share their favorite passions with others. She remembers her own passion for one book in particular by author Elizabeth George Speare, which she loved as a teenager.
“There’s this book called The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I read it when I was 14, and I think all teen girls should read it,” Stone recalls. “It’s a quick and easy read, but the characters are so great, male and female. The female lead is especially awesome; she’s a good lesson on being true to yourself.”
Stone’s involvement in fan-backed productions also extends to the stage, as she is currently involved the musical Deep Love. She described the show as a “cross between something Tim Burton would conjure up and The Phantom of the Opera… but with more rock and roll.”
The story is of a young widow who finds a new love only to have the ghost of her husband return from the grave. This supernatural love triangle will be part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival in July and is currently taking donations to support its performance there.
“The music is wonderful, and it started out with such humble beginnings,” Stone says. “With dedicated and loyal fans, it’s grown every year.”
As far as Mythica goes, Stone says the fact that the film was funded by fans who not only wanted to see this series happen, but believed in it enough to put their own money behind it, means everything to her and her fellow cast and crew. With this in mind, the players involved worked to make sure they created something that reflects the special commitment of the viewers.
“We wouldn’t be able to create these films if it wasn’t for their support, so we do our best to listen to what they want,” she says. “Arrowstorm is really awesome about that. I see how they respond to each and every one of their fans’ requests, comments, etc. They know the importance of their supporters and how crucial it is to deliver to their expectations. I don’t think they’ll be disappointed with Mythica.”