April 18, 2019

What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a documentary set to be released later this year, was co-produced by New York Film Academy (NYFA) and worked on by several students of NYFA’s Industry Lab.

The documentary, directed by Ira Steven Behr and David Zappone, is a deep look at the syndicated Star Trek spinoff that aired from 1993 – 1999. Behr was a writer and producer on the series as well as its showrunner for several seasons. The film features interviews with nearly all of the show’s cast members, as well as several people who worked behind the scenes.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was the third live-action and fourth Star Trek series overall, premiering in 1993 as the widely-popular Star Trek: The Next Generation was in its penultimate season. Deep Space Nine stands out from other Star Trek films and shows for its darker tone and its pioneering serialized structure, with now-commonplace season- and series-long story arcs that were rare for most television dramas before the turn of the century. Additionally, it had an ensemble cast that was much more diverse than typically seen in science fiction at the time, led by African American actor Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko.

After becoming available to stream on Netflix and other services, Deep Space Nine has steadily gained newer fans, and has a reputation among many Star Trek fans as being the best series in the canon.

Shout! Studios recently acquired worldwide rights to distribute the documentary, which has been mostly crowdfunded by Deep Space Nine’s die-hard fans. Shout! plans to make the film available on multiple streaming platforms. The film is mostly finished, though is still going through some post-production, and is tied to a campaign for the entire run of Deep Space Nine to be remastered in HD. The film is also expected to have a theatrical release at some point.

New York Film Academy provided some resources for the production of the film after being approached by producer and co-director David Zappone. On four different occasions, NYFA provided film equipment for multiple interviews and location shoots, including a road trip to a Las Vegas Star Trek convention.

Additionally, on three different shoot days, students from the NYFA Industry Lab worked on the film. The crew included BFA Filmmaking students Star Li, Ferid Hasbun, and Rupert Sanchez as camera operators; MA Film & Media student Patrick Anenu as 1st AC; and Anvar Madraimov, and David Bu as Grip & Electric.

The significant resources provided to the production led to NYFA being named in the credits for What We Left Behind—NYFA Principal and Owner Jean Sherlock and Dean of Students, Los Angeles and CSO Dan Mackler are listed as Co-Executive Producers (NYFA). This isn’t NYFA’s only connection to the Star Trek universe; Adam Nimoy, director of multiple Star Trek episodes and For the Love of Spock—a documentary about his father, Leonard Nimoy—has taught at the Academy.

What We Left Behind’s production and release come amid a cultural renaissance for Star Trek, which recently followed its trilogy of blockbuster reboot films with a new critically-acclaimed CBS series, Star Trek: Discovery. Several other television series are also in the works, including an animated series, a Starfleet Black Ops Intelligence Section 31 series, a youth-oriented show focusing on Starfleet cadets, and the return of Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a new sequel series to The Next Generation due to air later this year.

The New York Film Academy looks forward to the release of What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and encourages everyone to check out the film when it becomes available!