There are a lot of trials a Jedi Master comes across on his path… describing the Kiwanis Force Event is one of the harder ones I have come across.
Not exactly because there isn’t anything to tell –far on the contrary!– but because it will be hard to capture the pleasantly intimate atmosphere that hung over it, in a written article.
I decided to try using a cross-over between Star Wars and another movie title. That’s really nothing new to Star Wars fans, so I guess you are all ready for this experiment.
The movie I want to cross over with has caused quite a stir in our parts of the world. And if I’m not mistaking, some news about it even has blown over to the States since I captured a rumour that Will Smith would be interested in the movie rights for an American remake … “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis”!
I know that French and Belgian readers will now sit back and smile just because I mentioned the movie title and know where I’m headed with this, but readers from other countries may still need some more background …
“Ch’ti” is, at least in its current setting, a particular and actually rather vulgar French dialect spoken by the people living in the North of France. It is no longer real French, but a charming mix between the French and Flemish languages, just and only because you have both groups of people living right next to each other in the “Nord Pas de Calais” region.
Villages in this area are often small-time, rural and quiet. Very, very quiet. Social life usually evolves around a church and a few pubs (called café’s in these parts), but every self-respecting village will also have its annual fair in which fries, sausages and beer always play a prominent role. That may sound boorish, but if anything, there’s always a sense of warmth, decency and solidarity about it all; something many people are looking for when they decide for a place to settle. These are good places to live …
The Kiwanis Force Event was held in such a village: Neuville-en-Ferrain, a little village not so far from the city of Lille; in the French territory but only just across the border with Belgium. It really doesn’t get more “Ch’ti” than this!
And that’s really how I would like to describe the event. It was “Ch’ti”… small-time but carefree, intimate and certainly not entirely unimportant.
The latter is especially due to the fact that there was a most important line-up of Classic Trilogy Star Wars actors. Probably not entirely accidently they gave the event a distinct “Imperial” touch: Barrie Holland as Imperial Lieutenant Renz, Robert Watts as Imperial Lieutenant Watts (but probably even better known because of his work as a Producer for the Indiana Jones movies), Jeremy Bulloch as Imperial Lieutenant Sheckil (and even more importantly, Bounty Hunter Boba Fett), Michael Culver as Imperial Captain Needa, Kenneth Colley as Imperial Admiral Piett and Richard LeParmentier as Imperial Admiral Motti.
To me personally, it was especially fun to meet up with Mr. Bulloch again. Everyone’s favorite Bounty Hunter is obviously doing very well and was as courteous as ever. He confided to me that now over half of the 2000 copies of his autobiography (“Flying Solo”) have sold, which is a huge success. I own a copy myself and I have to say that it’s a most personal document that should be sitting in any collection if you’re even but a remote fan of Boba Fett. If you’re interested, just head here.
I met Robert Watts for the first time and all of you know that he has reached a blessed age, but I never saw anybody else so energetically committed to the fan community. He was only too keen to grant me a picture with him … even if you’ll see that still didn’t go entirely without problems.
Probably the most charming about the event, however, was that its proceedings went to charity: the “Kiwanis” from the event’s name actually refers to the Kiwanis charity organization, which focuses on improving the position of kids in the everyday community life. As such, it was no surprise to find back a fair number of Star Wars fan clubs who made the event come alive very well. The 59th Legion (France); the southern-Belgian Fan Wars Garrison (part of the 501st); the Star Kit Wars fans and the Benelux Rebel Legion were all present with a large number of cosplayers. The cameras flashed away during the entire event.
And with that I leave you to my own photo-report of the Kiwanis Force Event. I decided to start off with the banner announcing the event, followed immediately by the “Ch’ti” version of the Millenium Falcon …
Enjoy the “Ch’ti” version of Star Wars!
Click here to read our Introductory article to the Kiwanis Force Event…
And last (but not least) a big thanks to the Autograph Bounty Hunter for helping with coverage of this awesome event!