I don’t suppose this is technically trade news except for the fact that since I’m telling it to you, it’s news. A group of fans put together a 40-minute prequel to the Lord of the Rings, shot for only $5,000 but looking damned professional given that constraint. They’ve mimicked the general look and feel of the Peter Jackson films and captured a piece of Tolkien that in a broad sense is mostly canon. It’s the tale of Aragorn’s hunting of Gollum prior to the events of the trilogy, a summary of which is included in the appendices of Lord of the Rings, though the details are sparse so they had to be largely invented for this fan film. It’s on a slightly shaky legal ground because they don’t own the rights to it, but they’ve got a little bit of protection since they’ve released it entirely for free and aren’t seeking profit at all.
In any case, The Hunt for Gollum looks pretty good; full video is below. If you’d like fancy HD, you can find it on their site here. Worth a full scale review? Let me know in the comments.