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Hey -- listen

 Hey -- listen! There's being a fan of the Zelda seriesand then there's being in the Zelda Project: acollective of cosplayers who are bringing Link to life in photosfrom the greatest film never made. They're working on changingthat, though.

Based in Los Angeles, the collective was born out of the cosplaypassions of SarahQuillian, who, with a group of friends, sought to turn theirhobby into something more. "From the cosplay, we had always wantedto make a big group together -- to do something epic," she said. "Iwanted to form a group that I felt could bring Hyrule to life. Fromthere, it started to evolve from a mere cosplay group to asemi-professional production."

So far, the crew -- ranging from photographers and mattepainters to costume designers, professional horseriders and make-upartists -- have completed two photo shoots: TheLost Woods and TheLon Lon Ranch, both from 1998's Ocarina Of Time.Whilst both impressive, it is the latter's striking shot of Linkmodelled uncannily by actor, Wes Johnson looking out overHyrule's scenic plains to Death Mountain that stands out as anexample of how, with the right mix of talent, technology andfunding, cosplay can become so much more than just dressing up. Itcan become art.

The Lon Lon Ranch photo shoot took place over two days inClovis, California, and involved an 800 kilometre round trip,Johnson being trained in horseriding for six months and a customcostume being made for Link's horse, Epona. The Death Mountainbackdrop which, fact fans, includes subtle nods to Zora's Fallsand The Great Deku Tree, however, was composited and constructedusing a combination of existing backgrounds and Photoshop elementsby digital matte painter Mickael Forrett. "These iconic places inHyrule are not only created with care," explained Sarah, "they arealso painstakingly placed to make sure that the locations in thephotos match what a believable Hyrule would look like, according tothe map from the game. Zelda is all about hitting the brightcolours and contrasts but working them in a way that they are nottoo cartoony."

The next stage of the project is an ambitious short filmrecreating the final battle of Ocarina Of Time -- onewhich, according to their website, will be led by "a professionalcast, elaborately designed costumes based on the official artworktoughened up for realism, special effects make-up/prosthetics,practical effects, practical stunts, and full visual effectsCGI."

All of which raises the question: where do they get the rupeesfrom "Our photo shoots are very expensive," Sarah says. "When youthink about how much stuff costs, you think 'well this should onlycost X, Y and Z' but it adds up so incredibly quickly. The photoshoots are self-funded with the help of donations. Truly, theindividual donations to our Paypal from our website is what madethe Lon Lon Ranch shoot happen. Without them, there wouldn't havebeen a shoot. The movie, however, must be funded with a donationdrive. We are willing to accept sponsorship, however, we are waryof losing creative control of our fan vision. Therefore, we'vedetermined that Kickstarting it will be our best bet."

One thing's for certain: if the film's as good as their photos,then we're surely in for a tour de triforce.