X-Philes (Documentary)

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Title: X-Philes - Fame, fans and fanaticism run a muck
Creator: Christopher Clements and Maria Bowens
Date(s): 2000
Medium: live-action
Length: 51 min
Genre: documentary
Fandom: X-Files
Topic: X-Files fans (X-Philes) and fan behaviour
External Links: www.xphilesfilm.com (offline) (wayback link)]
Title Card

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X-Philes - Fame, fans and fanaticism run a muck is a 2000 independent video documentary shot on Beta SP on the subject of "fans and fanatics of the TV show X-Files"[1] by writer/directors Christopher Clements and Maria Bowens which was initially distributed by Indieflix, but is currently not available to stream officially. It was produced by X Act Project, Inc in association with Central Films.

It's title derives itself from the self-given name of X-Files fans, X-Philes.


While surfing the internet, directors Maria Bowen and Chris Clements stumbled across what is best described as a vast cyberscape committed to the study of everything X-Files, from broad themes to almost imperceptible stylistic nuances.

Through interviews with the show's creator and cast members, along with a staggering array of true believers, autograph hounds and stalkers, the film affords a remarkable insight into a rather bizarre phenomenon, the cult of celebrity. Fame, it's a fishbowl with two distinct perspectives: that from without and that from within. X-PHILES examines the oddly conflicted symmetry that exists between the creators and stars of television's The X-Files and the legions of fans who have turned it into an interactive adventure.

The image of the couch potato is about to be amended, because these people don't simply wait for the show to come to them as scheduled. They range out into the world, crashing the show's location shoots and stalking the actors, ever pushing those slim borders which separate the real world from the fictional images which flicker on our television screens.

X-Philes, a new award-winning documentary debuts, May 11, 2000

The documentary premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival where it won an audience award and was cited as a “top pick” by Bay Area newspapers;..[2] It was also shown at the San Jose Film Festival on February 29 and March 4 2000.[3]

It features interviews with fans as well members of cast and crew like Dean Haglund (Richard Langly), Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers), Rebecca Toolan (Mrs. Mulder), Nicholas Lea (Krycek). It also covers Philedom's tight relationship with the raise of the commercial internet, news groups, mailing lists, message boards. chat rooms and how the show built it's fanbase through the internet and Fannish activities like fan fiction and Shipping and Slashing. It's noteworthy that X-Files creator Chris Carter and stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are not interviewed by the film makers.

Parts of the production were filmed at the 1998 eXpo conventions like the DC Expo.[4]

Fandom perspective

The fandom and fans are portrayed in rather negative light in this work. An example for this can be found in the summary available on IMDB as well in the works subtitle:

An aspiring film-maker with a camcorder produces a documentary on the subject of fans and fanatics of the TV show "X-Files". Along with interviews with some of the shows more devoted (or deranged) followers, viewers are also given a look at the life of X-File merchadise hawkers, network employees, and even some of the actors from the program. In addition to getting some of their thoughts on show itself, this documentary also looks at the greater phenomenon of fandom, and why some people become obsessed with TV and movie characters.

Plot summary on IMDB

Some fans were interviewed by the film maker during attending the 1998 X-Files eXpo conventions which were organized by Creation Entertainment. One fan described their experience of the interview in ATXC like this:

The documentary crew arrived around 9 pm "just go on with your party, act natural"...yeah, while you shine that klieg in my face and point that cyclops camera at me. The presence of the documenttary crew DID tone us down and FOCUS our conversation. Most of their questions were leading , they tried to steer us around the show itself, plot and direction, and fandom and OBSESSION, that WORD. I got the uncomfortable feeling that they are going to edit the hell out of our comments and make us look like assholes. I know I talked a LOT, but I BET the only thing that makes the final cut will be my gushing over Nick Lea, or my back handed slap at Duchovny's lack of participation in fan-oriented activities. In retrospect, more than one of us regret our loose lips. It was an interesting evening,and it remains to be seen weather or not we will REALLY regeret it.

++DC eXpo++ the giz report (part three)

Other fans had the feeling that the documentary was a marketing ploy by 20th Century Fox:

Cookie and I discussed this and we think they were doing marketing for Fox. It just seemed strange the way they were leading us and kept asking us what the episode plots were about. If they were truly doing a documentary, wouldn't they have already known that?

++DC eXpo++ the giz report (part three) by Circe

The interviewees apparently weren't not informed about the documentarie's topic before they were interviewed:

They definitely said they were independent film makers, so I don't think they worked for FOX. They said they had to get permission from CC and FOX to film. I believe it is not on sci-fi fandom in general or they wouldn't have cared about an XF episode discussion. Actually, they could have really helped their cause by telling us their documentary topic and then we could have stayed focused. I'm hoping it turns up on PBS at 1 AM, "The Dark Side of XF Fandom." You know, then no one will see me that doesn't know about my "other life."

++DC eXpo++ the giz report (part three)

In the last 15 to 20 minutes, the documentary follows the adventures of a group of male fans that are following David Duchovny through New York and two female fans who hand around the Vancouver filming location to chancing a meeting with Nicholas Lea. This activity was called "location crashing" in the work's review on the Cinequest website by Brian Benston.[5]

In 2013 a fan commented:

I'm an X-Files fan myself, so please don't take offense, but some parts of this video are kinda funny, like the part where the guy says that "the xf fans are really intelligent", and then they show people with goofy E.T shirts or just acting weird. And the connection the girl tries to make with M&S and people in their 20s living with parents doesn't stick... at all.

Otherwise, a nice video. Really well put-together and insightful of the phenomenon that was XF back then. Thanks for uploading.

V-SQUAD on Youtube

See also