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General Musings

Raiders: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (2015)

A documentary based on the story behind Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation (1989)

So onward on my Journey through some lesser-known documentaries after watching The Barkley Marathons and Enter The Battlefield I stumble across this quirky documentary about a passion project.

Directed by Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen, the story is, in 1981, two 11-year-olds in Mississippi set out to remake their favorite film: Raider of the Lost Ark. With the help of friends to play extras, create props and perform stunts, it took the two friends seven years to complete in the basement of their mothers house. Except one scene, the airplane scene. Thirty years later, they set out to finally finish their fan film and fully realize their childhood dream.

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The two boys Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala have an unhealthy obsession with this Indiana Jones film. If anything its a story that captures what a passion of a film really means, these kids saw the movie once, then started to recreate it scene for scene. It sets up for some hilarious cuts of the actual footage they have shot as they had to play various roles when starting out, a favourite scene of mine in particular is when they recreate a conversation with Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) the attempts at the accent and the make-up are unforgettable.  For those of you who have ever tried to make something, whether it be a movie, a song, or a website such as this one, will fall in love with these people’s stories and passion for making a movie.

All of the fan film footage is shot on tapes and as the years progress so does the technology, it’s so interesting to see how it all cuts together and how different scenes have dates and times on and some don’t, up until the current day when they are using new cameras. its awesome to see it all come together and I don’t think many people you ever attempt doing something of this size again. It’s a true test of friendship and the directors Coon and Skousen really get that point across as they’ve been given total access to the lives of Chris and Eric who now have families and they live away from each-other but one thing remained through all of their lives and that was the love of Raiders and the desire to finally film the airplane scene.

Image result for raiders of the lost ark fan film

Now when it finally comes to actually filming the airplane scene there is a whole journey the two friends must go on. They need to find funding for the scene which no profit will be made on as its just a project with no chance of distribution, they need to actually build and blow up a full size airplane which creates risk in itself and then the weather is a huge factor when trying to recreate something shot for shot. All of this drama is cut with talking heads of the families and how its impacting jobs, work life and income. along with shots from when they were 11-years-old.

All in all this was a great experience, a compelling watch and I had no idea the lengths people would go to, to make a fan film. It’s also very heartwarming when you see the generosity of some of the contributors and people that helped over the years. Get involved in this whether your an Indy fan or not. If anything this is the true fourth film in the franchise and we can all forget about Crystal Skull. I watched this on Netflix and I’m sure you can too!

I’ve done my part, and you’ve done your’s. Thanks for reading



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