Every kid dreams of being the hero they see on the big screen. Often, we can’t clearly define how we want that to take place. Do we want to be the actor playing the part? Do we want to be the actual character? Some hybrid of the two? Maybe we pin it down, maybe we don’t, but our dreams rarely extend past our backyard, where we spend summers and weekends pretending we’re Luke Skywalker or Superman.
But in 1981, three Mississippi teenagers -- Eric Zala, Jayson Lamb and Chris Strompolos -- knew exactly what their cinematic fantasy was. When their world was rocked by RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, they had only one goal: Recreating the movie, shot by shot, and scene by scene.
It took seven years and $5,000 but they did it. Using pure ingenuity, they managed to recreate moments that took Steven Spielberg and George Lucas millions of dollars and teams of special effect specialists. They mimicked dangerous action sequences that required professional stuntmen. They cobbled together their own props, costumes, and weapons. And they did it all without a VHS of the film, or this crazy thing called the Internet for research.
They played it for family and friends, and went their separate ways, never imagining that the film would ever have a life outside their town. But all treasures are eventually rediscovered. Thanks to the efforts of director Eli Roth and Ain’t It Cool News’ Harry Knowles, RAIDERS: THE ADAPTATION has enjoyed a life beyond its backyard sets. After an unofficial premiere at Knowles’ Butt-Numb-A-Thon, it went on to have an official debut at Austin's Alamo Drafthouse in 2003, and a Los Angeles premiere. Steven Spielberg has watched and called it “an inspiration.” Film critics have praised it for its sincerity and inventiveness. The odyssey of Zala, Lamb and Strompolis has even been optioned by Hollywood, and is now the subject of a behind-the-scenes book.
Now you can see this heartfelt fan film for yourself. RAIDERS: THE ADAPTATION is coming to Alamo Drafthouse Littleton on Saturday, May 11, at 6:00pm. Star and producer Chris Strompolos will be in attendance for a Q&A, and to sign copies of his new book, RAIDERS! THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE.
We’ve all seen RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. We’re all fans of Indiana Jones. We all wanted to be him. This is a night to celebrate three kids who took their love to a level we’ve all dreamed of, but never had the guts to accomplish, and a chance to see a film that holds a special place in the Drafthouse's heart. We may be saluting Strompolos, but this is a screening for the fan in everyone, and we sincerely hope you’ll join us.
Tickets for RAIDERS: THE ADAPTATION are on sale now. Don't miss out!