One of the films playing the SF Indie Fest is a movie we've all seen before, and yet it's guaranteed we've never seen it like this. It's the least original film imaginable -- and at the same time, it pulses with true inspiration and invention. It's a fuzzy, faded piece of ephemera whose verve and vision and vitality made it a legend among the lucky few who've seen it. It should not, by any right, exist, and yet it does. And the crowd who witnessed a rare big-screen showing of it at this year's Indiefest couldn't have been happier.
Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation began as a labor of love, and then became a work of obsession. Eric Zala, Chris Strompolos and Jayson Lamb saw Raiderswhen it was released in 1981, and, like so many of us, fell in love with it. Unlike many of us (or, in fact, the rest of us) they spent the next several years -- 1982 to 1988, beginning when they were 12 -- recreating the film pretty much shot for shot over the summer and whenever they could, recruiting friends and grownups and anyone who would listen to their cause, shooting when they could and how they could. Lamb was the cameraman, handled special effects and played his share of parts; Zala directed, and played bad guy Belloq; Strompolos plays Indiana Jones. And they made their movie (which was, of course, someone else's movie). And as amazing as it is to think of that achievement, it's even more impressive that they didn't quit; as Zala noted in the post-screening Q&A he conducted alongside Strompolos and Lamb, " ... it would be a shame if this were just a bunch of videotapes in someone's basement. ..."