Studio eyeing wide release for docu

Looking to keep its most lucrative franchise in the family, Paramount Pictures has paid $1.25 million for “Trekkies,” the Roger Nygard docu about fans of the “Star Trek” series and films.

No release date has been set, but according to Robert Friedman, Par Motion Picture Group vice chairman, the film will be distributed theatrically through Paramount Pictures — not its fledgling specialty division.

Pic, which was directed and edited by Nygard over a 12-month period in 1996-97, interviews stars from the pics and the skein, including Leonard Nimoy, Brent Spiner and Kate Mulgrew.

But the most arresting footage comes from the diehard fans who follow the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, including:

- A man who changed his name to James T. Kirk in 1974.

- A woman who created a media frenzy in 1996 when she showed up for jury duty wearing a uniform, phaser and tricorder.

- The founder of the Interstellar Language School in Red Lake Falls, Minn., who teaches people how to speak Klingon.

- A dental-care facility in Orlando, Fla., where all the staffers wear “Star Trek” uniforms.

W. K. Border produced the docu. Michael Leahy and Joel Soisson exec produced along with host and co-exec producer Denise Crosby, who played a role on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Friedman said he was not concerned that the film would offend Trekkies, the core fan base of the studio’s biggest cash cow. “We’ve done a lot of homework on that front,” he said. ” ‘Star Trek’ fans love it. It’s not condescending, it’s a celebration.”

Paramount rarely releases documentaries, but it would not be entirely without precedent. In 1993 the studio distributed “It’s All True,” a 51-year-old French-backed docu by Orson Welles.

Nygard and Neo-Motion Pictures recently finished a feature pic about new-car salesmen, “Suckers,” which is set up for a distrib screening at the Raleigh Studios tonight.

They are also finishing “Six Days in Roswell,” a feature docu follow-up to “Trekkies.” Pic is about UFO enthusiasts who went to a Woodstock-like 50th anniversary celebration of the alleged crash of an alien spaceship in Roswell, N.M.

Nygard was repped in the deal by Abram Nalibotsky of the Gersh Agency.

Neo-Motion Pictures was handled by Rima Greer of Above the Line and attorney David A. Steinberg.

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