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With desktop CGI, increasingly impressive sets, celebrity involvement and even scripts by TV veterans, many fan films now have production values that rival professional flicks.

We've picked out 12 of the very best for you to geek out to. They're all free to download and, in many cases, you can watch them directly in your browser.

1. Star Trek: Hidden Frontier

Hidden Frontier and its spin offs deserve a mention for the sheer tenacity of the band of fans making them. They completed fifty episodes of their original creation - a kind of soap opera set in the Star Trek universe - and are still churning out episodes of other "shows" (The Helena Chronicles, Odyssey, Frontier Guard) set in the same universe. Using computer generated sets and effects, the acting's often terrible but their dedication to trekking is great.

Fan-made films you must download

2. Star Wars Uncut

What would happen if you used the internet to crowdsource a remake of Star Wars: A New Hope? There's no need to speculate - someone's already done it. Or rather, 473 someones. This nifty project split the original film into 15 second chunks, inviting netizens to claim a piece each. The remake's now complete and you can watch the whole of Star Wars at the site.


Fan-made films you must download

3. Gremlins Fan Film

Remember the bit in Gremlins 2 where the titular monsters take over the film? Cooler still, the special VHS version? Sacha Feiner does. He decided that the DVD release needed its own ten minutes of mayhem too, so he made it himself. Most impressively, this is mainly puppet work and location filming, rather than CGI.

4. Star Wars: Pink Five

When a self-obsessed Valley Girl becomes a rebel pilot in charge of her own X-Fighter, hijinks ensue. The cinematography in this Star Wars send-up is spot on, but character is the focus here - shallow teenager Stacey, AKA Pink Five, played brilliantly by Amy Earhart. In this and two further tales, key events from the Star Wars movies are told from her clueless viewpoint.

Fan-made films you must download

5. Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager

Star Wars may be the most pompous film franchise ever committed to celluloid, so it's comforting to see that its fans have a sense of humour. Chad Vader follows the exploits of Darth's less evil brother - who's working in a supermarket. If you haven't seen the series yet, set aside a couple of hours and watch them all.

6. Star Trek: Aurora

Another Star Trek fan flick, Aurora's so well realised that its connection to the 60s space opera seems almost incidental... A fully CGI production, young creator Tim Vining used Poser and Cinema 4D to create the 3D universe Aurora explores. The result is an atmospheric animation with great pacing, beautiful visuals and some cracking voice acting from the Vining family and friends.

Fan-made films you must download