Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made opens in theaters on Friday, June 17. (Photo: KEYE TV)

35 years ago the big summer blockbuster was Raiders of the Lost Ark. Every kid wanted to be Indiana Jones, but none as much as three young boys from Mississippi. The friends made a shot-for-shot remake of the action adventure film. Their story could have ended there, but 35 years later, Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made, is opening at the Alamo Drafthouse. It's a movie about the making of a movie that is a remake of another movie.

"We keep expecting to close the book on the RAIDERS thing," said Eric Zala, one of the RAIDERS Adaption creators.

"To see myself with blazing light behind me in an Indy costume is, I guess, something that I always wanted as a child. So it's one of those be careful what you ask for," said Chris Strompolos, another creator of the RAIDERS Adaption.

Strompolos and Zala are back at the Alamo Drafthouse, where years ago their shot-for-shot remake was first called, "the greatest fan film ever made."

In the middle of a national press tour for the making-of movie, they sat down with KEYE-TV reporter Bettie Cross and talked about how it all began. Their RAIDERS Adaption was made over seven adolescent summers with love, not money.

"The common ground was the love of Raiders and the friendship," said Zala.

And now the adventure begins, again.

Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is now being screened in theaters across the country. It documents the making of the RAIDERS Adaptation by creators Strompolos, Zala and Jayson Lamb.

For Strompolos and Zala it's like looking back through a high school yearbook.

"Cringe worthy awkwardness," said Zala.

"You get through it," said Strompolos.

"We wanted warts and all. We wanted it to be real," said Zala. "I'm really happy that we've been able to move through all those difficult times and survive and be stronger for it as friends."

"Raiders (the RAIDERS Adaption) was something I was ashamed of. Raiders was something I was embarrassed by," said Strompolos. "I think this film (Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made) has given me a second chance to really lay the past to rest and really come to terms in a positive way with what we did."

There's only one thing the friends take exception to and it's in the title.

"We're not the greatest fans, we're just fans," said Strompolos.

"This is just how we expressed our love for the movie. There's many different ways to do it," said Zala.

"All viable paths," added Strompolos.

Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is now playing in theaters and on VOD.

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