Voldemort: Origins of the Heir is a non-profit fan-film created by Gianmaria Pezzato (director and screenwriter) and Stefano Prestia (executive producer), with Michele Purin as cinematographer.
The dark fantasy film shows the psychological complexity of Tom Riddle before he became known as Voldemort, following the part of his life that has mostly been left out in the official movies.
Since its release on YouTube on January 13 it has already been viewed more than 6 million times.
On social media, although Potterheads have pointed out plot holes and commented on the dubbing, on the whole the reaction has been fairly positive.
The film was shot in Italy and was created by independent filmmakers Tryangle Films on a €15,000 fundraised budget.
The film is not endorsed by, affiliated with or associated with Warner Bros. or J.K. Rowling.
On its website, Italians Gianmaria Pezzato and Stefano Prestia reveal how the project came about.
“The idea was born while re-reading the sixth book of the saga, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” they state.
“We wondered: What made Tom Riddle become Voldemort? What happened in those years, and what really went down at Hogwarts when he came back? There are some clues in the books which have not been transposed at all in the movies, but a lot goes unspoken.
“This is the story we want to tell: the rise of the Dark Lord before Harry Potter and his first demise.”
And they added: “We believe Harry Potter and Tom Riddle are opposite sides of the same coin/in many ways, a mirror of each other, whose actions are shaped by their choices.
“This concept is what inspired the making of Voldemort: Origins of the Heir.
“In the film we will find some scenes which have never been on cinema screens, but are already known by the readers of the Harry Potter saga.
“Among them, the homicide of Hepzibah Smith. The film also presents new characters, such as the Heirs of other Hogwarts houses.”