Thirty five years ago, Lucasfilm and Paramount teamed up to unleash what is truly one of the greatest adventure films – if not the greatest – with Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark. It spawned an instantly classic character with Indiana Jones, the wisecracking, Nazi-busting, snake-hating, tomb-raiding archeologist (making archeology cool?) and left innumerable impressions on popular culture that persist to this day, despite some grisly attempts at self-sabotage by the franchise. With the success of The Star War: Awakenings, Lucasfilm president Kathlyn Kennedy has recently teased Jones' return, something we're sure to hear about in the coming months.
The point is, Indiana Jones has had a lasting impact, despite an incredibly spare career in cinema proper. It made a particlarly strong impression on three young friends back in the early '80s – Chris, Eric and Jayson. Their love for the film brought them together to embark on an ambitious shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which they worked on with their friends, shooting out of sequence, over the course of the next seven years. And they nearly finished their project, with the exception of the scene where Indy (spoilers) fights a brawny Nazi on an airfield. The scene features memorable pyrotechnics, an even more memorable exit by the aforementioned Nazi, and the guys were unable to recreate it to their satisfaction. The project was set aside, incomplete.
The resulting Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation achieved a somewhat legendary status among those who had gotten whiffs of the project here and there, and was re-discovered by Eli Roth and presented in part during an Alamo Drafthouse pre-show. Word got back to the guys, who decided it was time to get the gang back together to finish what they started years ago. Raiders! is that story – one about the dedication one has to their artistic vision, creative passion, and the indelible impact of cinema. It inspired a book, Paramount bought the rights to their story, and Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen made this very film, chronicling the friends' decade-spanning tribute to their favorite movie.
We're thrilled to announce that we'll be releasing Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made later this year, in select theaters and On Demand platforms, not only because of the role Alamo Drafthouse played in helping the project reach its denoument, but because it stands for what we're all about as a company.
More info in the full press release below:
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.