by: Jay Carlson
Boy, this trailer brought me back to being a kid in the 80’s. I fondly remember seeing a new film and wanting to relive it again with my friends. I recall gathering my friends and reenacting our favorite scenes from Ghostbusters, Batman and especially Indiana Jones.
It seems this wasn’t something that was exclusive to just me, as two friends in Mississippi decided to take it a step further and film Raiders of the Lost Ark shot for shot over the course of seven years. The story is nothing short of remarkable.The story was chronicled in the great book Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (highly recommend it for any film fan) which served as the basis for the documentary of the same name that’s premiering at SXSW in March.
Official Press Release:
“RAIDERS!” THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE TO HAVE ITS WORLD PREMIERE AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL
Austin, TX-February 26, 2014- Raiders!, a documentary of the story behind the greatest fan film ever made, is set to have its world premiere at SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX on March 14, 2015. Raiders! chronicles the epic thirty year journey that began in 1982 when two twelve-year-old kids in Mississipi set out to film a mind-bogglingly ambitious shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
It took Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos seven summers to make Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation. By saving up their allowances, hijacking younger siblings, and setting Eric’s basement on fire, the boys used astonishing ingenuity to make a film that is surprisingly entertaining and even stunning at times.
For fifteen years, Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation was nearly a forgotten masterpiece of fan filmmaking until Aint It Cool News’ Harry Knowles screened it publicly in Austin, TX from a copy obtained by filmmaker Eli Roth. It became an instant phenomenon, generating global media coverage and even getting the attention of Chris and Eric’s idol, Steven Spielberg.
Eric, Chris and their childhood cast and crew reshot every scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Every scene except one: the infamous Flying Wing scene where the shirtless Nazi strongman is cut up by the circling plane’s propeller. Needless to say, as children in the early 1980s, it was difficult for them to procure a suitable plane to blow up in Mississippi. Being the perfectionists that they are, it’s something that has always nagged at Eric and Chris.
Raiders! follows the twenty-five year reunion of most of the original cast and crew, now in their early 40s, in Ocean Springs, MS to finally complete the adaptation with this last missing scene in the summer of 2014. How have time and adulthood changed everyone? Will they still have the same determination and excitement they had as kids? What do their family members think of it? This insightful and heartfelt documentary reveals for the first time the full behind-the-scenes story of Chris and Eric’s inspiring journey to finally finish their labor of love. Raiders! digs deep into their friendship and their mutual persistence to complete a seemingly ridiculous and impossible task, reminding us of the innocence and purity we had as children to follow our dreams no matter how crazy or stupid others said they are.
SXSW Film Screening Schedule:
Following the World Premiere screening of Raiders! there will be a special screening ofRaiders of the Lost Ark: The Adapation, giving SXSW attendees the chance to get the full behind-the-scenes story as well as experience the greatest fan film ever made!
Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar – Saturday, March 14 @ 9:00 PM (World Premiere)
Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane – Monday, March 16 @ 12:00 PM
Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar – Thursday, March 19 @ 9:00 PM
Vimeo Theater – Friday, March 20 @ 9:45 PM
Directors Jeremy Coon & Tim Skousen and cast members Eric Zala & Chris Strompolos will be in attendance.
In 1982, two 11 year-olds in Mississippi set out to remake their favorite film: Raiders of the Lost Ark. It took seven turbulent years that tested the limits of their friendship and nearly burned down their mother’s house. By the end, they had completed every scene except one… the explosive airplane scene. Thirty years later, they attempt to finally realize their childhood dream by building a replica of the 75-foot “Flying Wing” plane from Raiders in a mud pit in the backwoods of Mississippi… and then blow it up! This is the story behind the making of what is known as “the greatest fan film ever made.”
Director: Jeremy Coon, Tim Skousen
Executive Producer: Kyle Newman
Producer: Jeremy Coon, Tim Skousen
Cinematographer: Tim Irwin
Editor: Barry Poltermann
Additional Credits: Cinematographer: Ed Stephenson
Principal Cast: Eric Zala, Chris Strompolos, Jayson Lamb, Angela Rodriguez, Guy James Klender, Eli Roth, Harry Knowles, John Rhys Davies, Mark Spain, Francisco Gonzales
Jeremy Coon & Tim Skousen bios:
Native Texan Jeremy Coon’s past films include producing and editing Napoleon Dynamite among others. Raiders! is his directorial debut. Tim Skousen makes docs, narratives, and commercials and is known for Zero Percent and The Sasquatch Gang. Raiders! is his 2nd feature doc and his first chance to bring together his love of comedy and documentary.
For more on Raiders!
Official Site: http://www.raidersdoc.com/