Beautiful Düsseldorf once again housed Germany’s most popular sci-fi convention over the weekend. FEDCON, a 4-day convention where fans of several genres could relive their favorite TV moments with the actors that played them and where they can cosplay their favorite characters in an environment of like-minded spirits!
The best way to describe FEDCON would be to describe it as a mix between a signing event and a weekend convention. You have the close proximity of the guests and the setting of a weekend convention and then there is a range of different guests, series and interests that you would expect more at a signing /comic con-type event.
At a (not even) 2 minute walk from Düsseldorf airport, the Maritim Hotel opened its doors to FEDCON-goers in the early morning of Thursday May 21st. As one does with all conventions, the first thing you do is get your registration pack. Together with the pack, you also got a convention badge, a wristband and a bag filled with the necessary information, a convention booklet and a few items from the convention sponsors (I.E. Paramount Pictures, Tele 5, Syfy Germany,…).
Once you had collected your weekend necessities, you could go into the main hall where you could find all sorts of stands and things to do. Some stands were selling items (t-shirts, mugs, buttons, photos, autographs,…) , others were promoting their latest (Phoenix Interstellar “Star Citizen”, Syfy Germany’s summer programming,…) or were just there to show off their mad skills (R2D2 Builders Club,…) . It is important to note that a FEDCON goer needs to have their wristband and badge visible at all times – these are checked whenever you enter a different section by one of the convention staff members.
One of the things we enjoy most about conventions like this, is not only that you get to spend the weekend with likeminded individuals, but you have the opportunity to do as much or as little as you want. You can just keep yourself occupied with the Photo Op sessions and the autograph line, or you can walk into one of the lectures or panels going on at any time of the day whenever you like.
The official opening ceremony started at about 6.30 PM on Thursday. It was the first opportunity for the majority of FEDCON goers to see most of that weekend’s guest line-up on the same stage. Even though not all the guests had made it in time to Düsseldorf for the opening ceremony, it was still a great evening with a great atmosphere. At the opening ceremony, Edward James Olmos was also reunited with his Blade Runner co-star Sean Young!
On Friday, Mike Vogel, a well-known German reporter, did a lecture on the many works of Battlestar Galactica creator Glen A. Larson. Unfortunately, since our German is rusty at best, we really can’t get into details that much about the lecture itself!
The majority of the Battlestar Galactica cast photo opportunities also took place on Friday. As well as the large BSG Cosplay photoshoot outside of the hotel (which we missed because we were in the midst of an interview at the time, which will be posted later!)
Consecutively, the BSG photoshoots that day were: Edward James Olmos, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Aaron Douglas. There was also a Tricia Helfer/James Callis duo-shoot on Saturday and then Aaron Douglas and Edward James Olmos did another round of photo sessions on Sunday.
One of our personal highlights of the day, was Aaron Douglas’ panel! It was funny, engaging and he told some great stories from his time on the Battlestar Galactica set (he also plugged some questions people could ask the other BSG guests). Someone brought in a bottle of alcohol to make good on a bet she made with Aaron in one of the previous years and handed that over to him – Fun note: the drink was Ambrosia colored! Aaron also brought along some items for a charity auction he was organizing to benefit cancer research. Items included a photo of him and Wil Wheaton (which he’s going to get signed for the winner), a fully signed Battlestar Galactica cast photo and a Colonial flag that he got off the set. If we’re not mistaken, the flag went for a whopping €1000, the cast photo for €270 and the Wil Wheaton photo went for €90. He also jokingly asked the audience to tweet the following to Wil Wheaton
(best to concider NSFW)
— Aaron Douglas (@theaarondouglas) May 22, 2015
We have a small tip for you! Without having checked Friday’s lecture schedule, we entered the convention’s main panel area – Hall Duesseldorf – and stumbled upon the lecture of European Space Agency (ESA) project scientist, Dr Matt Taylor. In this lecture, he gives an overview of ESA’s Rosetta project (an ESA space probe that launched in 2004 and made a successful soft landing on a comet in November 2014). The lecture is fun, he uses non-scientific terms whenever he can and is illustrated with a lot of humor and even a hint of irony! If you ever have a chance to walk into one of his lectures, like we happened to do, we fully recommend it!
The one thing FEDCON does different than a lot of its science-fiction convention counterparts, is the way it organizes its autograph sessions. Instead of having its customers waiting in forever-ongoing lines – like you would find at a lot of these type events – FEDCON handles a very strict numbers and batches policy. It also doesn’t organize these autograph sessions every day of the convention, but only on Saturday and Sunday and only for a few hours on those days. This basically means that the main hall (Hall Duesseldorf) is transformed from a panel room into an autograph room and whether you get your autographs on Saturday or Sunday depends on your ticket number. The batch-numbers that are allowed into the hall are called upon throughout the day and you will be refused entry in the hall unless your number is in one of the batches called (or unless it’s All-In, like it was the case on Sunday morning). Day ticket holders go in during the last hour of the signing session.
One thing we do have to say, though, is that Hall Duesseldorf is one of the most beautiful autograph rooms we’ve ever been in! Granted, the fact that it’s usually a theater hall helps a lot with that, but it is absolutely stunning! The section division between different seating areas also make it easy to navigate from one autograph table to another (unless – like us – you’re carrying 30 lbs of camera equipment, it can be rather daunting!)
(Cosplayer) Loki hosted that evening’s cosplay competition. While all of the costumes had something going for them, the majority of the crowd seemed to be rooting for a little boy (we believe his name is Tito?) who was dressed up in a Dalek Cosplay and kept yelling “Exterminate!”. Other cosplays that were in the running were: Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Who(s), several Jedi,…
The original schedule said Tricia Helfer and James Callis would do a separate panel but then they came on together! Edward James Olmos first lit up the room (literally) and got the crowd going with a riveting so-say-we-all-speech, after which Helfer and Callis took the stage. While a special video of this talk will be posted shortly (we had special filming authorization to make a highlights video!), we can already tell you that highlights of this talk included (but are not limited to): Tricia Helfer getting into “Six” mode when someone asked James Callis how he remained focused during the Head Six Scenes, stories on how other crew members dealt with the situation and what Callis’ reactions were once the roles were reversed and Head Baltar was in Caprica’s mind instead of vice-versa.
Sunday was the last FEDCON day. Not only was it the last day of this 24th edition, it was also the last day the event would be held at the Maritim Hotel in Düsseldorf. Next year, the event will move onto the Maritim Hotel in Bonn, about 50 miles south of the current location. The last autograph sessions were held, we did a few interviews (to be posted later) and as each new panel reached its final question, the final event before the closing ceremony came closer and closer…
The Battlestar Galactica talk! (highlight video to be posted soon)
It was an absolute joy to see Edward James Olmos, Tricia Helfer, Aaron Douglas and James Callis on the same stage! Seeing as it was the last event, the room was pretty much jam-packed. Highlights included James Callis picking “I’m too Sexy For My Shirt” as Gaius Baltar’s perfect score, Aaron Douglas explaining to the crowd exactly WHAT is wrong with the “Last Supper” photo (and the stories surrounding that day!) and the general sense of respect you feel these actors have for the rest of the cast- and crewmembers of the show and for the art of storytelling.
The closing ceremony marked the last chance FEDCON goers had to see all attending guests on stage together and was concluded by a long applause and an encore of the guests on stage.
That marked the end of FEDCON 24, an event with a great guest lineup and some 6000 visitors over the course of 4 days.
FEDCON 25 has already been announced. It will be held May 12-May 16, 2016 at the Maritim Hotel in Bonn.
We would like to thank the people at FEDCON for allowing us access to their event and for granting us special filming rights to several of their panels. The Battlestar Galactica guests for their time, stories and interviews. We would also like to thank all of those who came up to say “hi” and who participated on the videos.
FEDCON 24 – GUESTS IN ATTENDANCE:
• Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
• Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica)
• Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
• James Callis (Battlestar Galactica)
• Grant Bowler (Defiance)
• Rob Archer (Defiance)
• Jeri Ryan (Star Trek)
• Manu Intiraymi (Star Trek)
• Tim Russ (Star Trek)
• Jonathan Del Arco (Star Trek)
• David Hewlett (Stargate)
• David Nykl (Stargate)
• Carmen Argenziano (Stargate)
• Colin Baker (Doctor Who)
• Paul McGann (Doctor Who)
• Jerry Doyle (Babylon 5)
• Sean Young (Blade Runner)
• Bai Ling (Red Corner)
• Eva Habermann (Lexx)
• Steve Dix (ESA)
• Dr. Matt Taylor (ESA)
• Richard Arnold (Star Trek Renegades)
• Sky Conway (Star Trek)
• Timo Vuorensola
• Reinhold Ewald (Comedian)
• Andrea Bottlinger & Christian Humberg
• Bettina Wurche
• Claudia Kern
• Hubert Zitt
• Inga Köhler
• Jan Fiedler
• Martin Frei
• Robert Vogel
• Susanne Hundseder
• Thilo Ewers
FEDCON 24 – CANCELLED GUESTS:
• Katee Sackhoff
• Lee Majors
• Tori Higginson
• Julie Benz
• Sam J. Jones
• Melody Anderson
• Tony Todd