The challenge: remake a 20 million dollar Steven-Spielberg-directed blockbuster on an indie budget. (And by indie, we don’t mean Harrison-Ford-Indy. We mean, like, your-budget-is-your-allowance-indie.) That’s the moviemaking feat that Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and their friends pulled off when they were just 11—though they did spend their entire adolescence doing it.
Think of the movie you loved most as a kid and ask yourself: would you handle live snakes, risk burning down your parents’ house, and get dragged behind a moving vehicle for it? Because these Raiders of The Lost Ark fans did. For seven years.
No studio on earth would OK a filming schedule that saw its cast and crew advance from sixth grade to college-age in real time, but when you’re a kid, time is a resource you’ve got plenty of. What Strompolos and Zala managed to do, creating a shot-for-shot remake of their favourite film, is staggering. And now we get to see it.
The new documentary Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Film Ever Made sees the childhood friends reunite three decades later to film the one scene from Spielberg’s Raiders of The Lost Ark their younger selves couldn’t complete: the epic airplane explosion. What you’re watching is the pair’s childhood dream finally come true—but not everything goes according to plan.
Doc co-directors Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen follow the dedicated life-long movie fans as they reassemble their original cast to finally capture, on camera, that one missing scene. The doc also includes interviews with parents, friends, and professional film world fans of the project like horror director Eli Roth and Raiders actor John Rhys Davies.
“This is the ultimate underdog story,” says Raiders! co-director Coon, “…even if it took 35 years to do it. It’s never too late to follow your dreams.”
Following packed screenings at Toronto’s Hot Docs, SXSW, DOC NYC, and Fantasia, the movie will open in theatres across the country on Friday June 17. Check out the trailer below.