Talk about seeing your dream become a reality — hell, talk about dreams coming true! How many of you out there have heard of the Raiders of the Lost Ark fan film a bunch of kids made, shot for shot, over a seven year period of their lives? No? Well, check this out:
Sure, the effects are dated and yes, there’s no Harrison Ford… but man! If this doesn’t just get you in the feels when you think about it, I don’t know what will.
Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made has achieved the status of ‘legendary,’ as far as fan films are concerned. I remember hearing about them (and of it) years ago. Ain’t It Cool News’ Harry Knowles was given a print of it by Hostel director Eli Roth and the rest is history. Harry gushed, fans cheered and the film would find coverage all over the internet, based in large part to the dedication the younglings at the helm had for their favorite movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. They wanted to make sure they completed their masterpiece, shot for shot, as the ultimate tip of the fedora to the man, the myth, the legend Steven Spielberg.
But the movie was never finished. The two friends turned filmmaker had but one scene left to shoot. The airplane scene where Indy tries to get the ark off the Nazi war plane.
The two buddies who made the movie, Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos, saw their project fall into oblivion after the two had a falling out over a girl (isn’t that what always happens?); but managed to settle their differences years after. They reunited with a small budget in order to complete the film – all of which is documented in the actual finished product.
After screening at various film festivals, Raiders! will get a theatrical release thanks to Drafthouse Films. Here’s the official press release:
DRAFTHOUSE FILMS DISCOVERS “RAIDERS!: THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE”
Festival sensation about a 30-year journey to complete a reenactment of Spielberg’s adventure film to hit theaters and On Demand in 2016
AUSTIN, TEXAS- Wednesday, January 6, 2016— Drafthouse Films has acquired the worldwide rights to Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen’s Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made, a documentary about two friends’ lifelong journey to complete their passion project: a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. An inspiring testament to creative passion and the powerful role of cinema, Raiders! has been a hit on the festival circuit, screening at such festivals as SXSW, DOC NYC, Fantasia International Film Festival and more.
After Steven Spielberg’s classic film was released almost 35 years ago, three 11-year-old boys from Mississippi set out on what would become a 7-year-long labor of love and tribute to their favorite film: a faithful, shot-for-shot adaptation of the action adventure film. They finished every scene…except one; the film’s explosive airplane setpiece.
Over two decades later, the trio reunited with the original cast members from their childhood in order to complete their masterpiece. Featuring interviews with John Rhys Davies, Eli Roth and more, Raiders! is the story of the project’s culmination, chronicling the friends’ dedication to their artistic vision—mixed in with some movie magic—to create the greatest fan film ever made.
“Raiders! is a perfect brand fit for us,” said Drafthouse Films COO James Emanuel Shapiro. “And we’re proud to continue the legacy of the truly greatest fan film ever made!”
“We couldn’t be happier in partnering with a bunch of true film fans like Drafthouse Films to release Raiders!.” said director Tim Skousen. “It’s the perfect match for our story about three film crazed kids spending their entire childhood recreating the all-time classic, Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
“Alamo Drafthouse and Tim League were instrumental in these kids’ adaptation being discovered over a decade ago,” said director Jeremy Coon, “And they have been so supportive as we made our documentary over the last two years. It’s great to keep it in the family with a Drafthouse Films release. We couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made will see a limited theatrical release across North America in the summer of 2016, alongside a variety of VOD and digital platforms, with a Blu-ray/DVD release to follow later in the year.
Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is a production of Jeremy Coon Productions, and was produced by Coon and Skousen. Kyle Newman executive produced. The documentary’s main subjects are Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and Jayson Lamb. The deal was negotiated by James Emanuel Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Linzee Troubh on behalf of Cinetic Media.
As you can see, no release date has been set, other than the vague tag of hitting theatres in the summer of 2016. But this will be accompanied by a VOD, digital platform, Blu-ray, and DVD release. Make sure you check back here for updates.
Meantime, give props to the two kids to men whose dream has finally been realized.
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