Film: Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony

Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony is a documentary film produced by Michael Brockhoff, and starring, among others, John de Lancie, Lauren Faust and Tara Strong about the adult fans of the animated show My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

The work originally began as a mid-2012 Kickstarter crowd-sourced project to create a documentary around the Summer 2012 BronyCon convention held in the New York area. At the time, the work was to be titled BronyCon: The Documentary and had enlisted de Lancie as executive producer along with Brockhoff. De Lancie had come onto the fandom as a result of voicing the character Discord for both parts of the episode "The Return of Harmony". The character of Discord was purposely written by Faust (and M.A. Larson) as a homage to de Lancie's character of Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation; initially writing his role off as a one time thing, he was surprised by the sudden influx of appreciation mail from the brony fandom, and would later compare this to the way the initial Star Trek fandom grew, and desired to explore it more.

The Kickstarter completed with more than four times the original funding requested. This allowed for an expansion of the project, including:

  • Bringing aboard Faust (the creative forerunner of the series) and Strong (voice actress for the main character, Twilight Sparkle) as additional executive producers.
  • Allowing the filmmakers to travel to European conventions (Galacon and BUCK), and to travel to include stories from individual bronies.

To reflect these changes, the film name was changed to Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony.

The film was released to the Kickstarter backers on January 19, 2013, with digital and print versions following soon after. The producers plan to release the film to streaming sites like Netflix and iTunes, and are looking to show the film at various film festivals during 2013.

The documentary itself comprises a mix of footage from the various conventions and individual bronies, interviews with de Lancie, Faust, Strong and others involved in the creative development of the show, and original animations done in the style of Friendship is Magic, outlining the growth and activities of the fandom.

Digital version can be purchased here, or complete four disc blu-ray/DVD combo with extended interviews here, the vanilla edition blu-ray/dvd combo here, or just the extended interviews here. It's also now available for streaming on Netflix.

This film provides examples of:

  • Artifact Title: Inverted, the documentary was originally just called "Bronycon: The Documentary" before having its name changed to appeal to a wider audience. Still, Bronycon still seems to be the subject matter of the documentary as nearly all the individual fans are going to the con as well as featuring numerous interview with convention guests.
  • The Cameo: It wouldn't be a film about bronies without Derpy appearing in it within the various animation blocks.
  • Closing Credits: Of note, these are at least 10 minutes long to provide thanks for each person that contributed in the Kickstarter.
  • Cosplay: Participants of the con dressed as their favorite characters are briefly discussed. Specifically, there is one couple interviewed who are dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Cake (they even have plushies of the twins!). While they're explaining their costumes to the cameraman, de Lancie suddenly appears, compliments them on their costumes, and continues on his way. The male fan is left visibly starstruck, and the female fan happily squeals "That was John de Lancie!"
  • Creator Cameo: Pony versions of de Lancie, Faust (aka "Fausticorn") and Strong appear in the animations. Among other ponies, the character of Wild Fire, the creator avatar of the show's storyboard artist Sabrina "Sisby" Alberghetti, is shown in the songs.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Alex, one of the Bronies featured throughout the film, recounts an incident where a group of thugs from his town smashed up his car and pointed a gun at his face. Why? Because Alex had My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic decals in his car windows.
  • Funny Background Event: In the first animation section, when de Lancie discusses the 3rd generation - the one that stuns the ponies watching him, one even turns to stone.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Within the animations, de Lancie mentions, among other activities made by the fandom, "clop"explanation , pauses, blushes and moves on, quickly.
    • Another that coincides with Visual Pun and Stealth Pun, one of de Lancie's lines mentions Generation 1's "plots were hardly very weighty", showing Gen 1 toys from behind.explanation 
  • Nightmare Face: Near the end of the third animated short, de Lancie's eyes briefly turn into Discord's.
    Anypony else I missed? (twitch)
  • Short Title: Long, Elaborate Subtitle: After the change from the Working Title.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Discussed Trope.
    Lauren Faust: What I kinda had to push for in the beginning was making it funny. That was actually really hard, 'cause like even my crew, even the other artists, jumped to this conclusion that it had to be really soft. And I was like, "No, it's funny that that character tripped and fell. Make her hit her face really hard, you know? That's funny!"
  • Stylistic Suck: The first animation uses sepia and film grain effects to review the past generations of the franchise.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Brony Lyle's main goal throughout the movie is to get his dad (and to a lesser extent, his mom) to accept that he likes My Little Pony. In the end, Lyle's parents go with him to BronyCon and his dad even agrees to give the show a chance.