Written and directed by, and starring, anime voice actor Jeff Nimoy (second cousin, since you ask), and about a character called Jeff Nimoy who is an anime voice actor, Fame-ish could have been the ultimate in vanity projects. Instead, Nimoy – an Emmy award-winning actor and sought-after voice director – plays himself in the raw, a washed-up former star who can’t get hired after being blacklisted ten years before.
At the end of his rope – almost literally – Nimoy accepts an invitation from the Wisconsin Geek Con anime convention to appear as their guest of honour, tempted by the offer of a $3000 fee and all expenses paid. After having stayed away from conventions for a decade – when his behaviour was wild and drink-fuelled – how will Jeff react to being the star of the show once more?
With back-up from fellow voice actors Lex Lang and Brian Donovan (as themselves), Fame-ish is an affectionate look at the convention and those who attend them, threaded through a story which involves a female voice actor who idolised Nimoy as a teen, and a cosplaying teen who seems enamoured with him now, played by the excellent Nikki Boyer and sparky Margo Graf, respectively. While he doesn’t always hit his targets, Nimoy crafts a sympathetic story with some genuinely emotional moments and, although he is more used to acting with his voice, his fictional Jeff Nimoy is likeable and candid, never afraid to make himself look bad.
Fame-ish is every bit the movie you’d expect, and while that holds it back from becoming a movie of the year, or a beloved classic, it lends an authenticity to its subject; this is a film made for people who attend conventions by people who attend conventions. It won’t win many awards but it will win hearts.