Zala, Strompolos set up Kickstarter funding campaign
By TAMMY SMITH
For 25 years, Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala have had a dream. It was mostly fulfilled with their shot-by-shot remake of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas' "Raiders of the Lost Ark," a film that was dear to both of their hearts.
"All summer, every summer, for seven years" in the 1980s, the two young filmmakers devoted their time to the remake, risking life, limb and family homes to re-create each scene.
They finished their project in 1989, which was discovered about 14 years later. It quickly became a cult favorite, led Stephen Spielberg to write a congratulatory letter and inspired a book, "Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made" by Alan Eisenstock, about their efforts. Jeremy Coon, producer of "Napoleon Dynamite," has optioned the book for a narrative feature film and a documentary. Money raised from screenings went to educational and health charities.
Only one thing was missing: the airplane scene, the moments when Indiana Jones fights a muscular Nazi amid the spinning propellers of a plane.
The release of Eisenstock's book and Coon's interest have been a catalyst for truly completing "Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation."
To that end, Zala and Strompolos have created a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to raise money.
"The launch was yesterday (Tuesday), and we already have $7,300," Strompolos said in a phone interview from Los Angeles early Wednesday afternoon. "We had a big event in Los Angeles last night, and we have an incredible team behind us."
As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the campaign had $8,352 in pledges and 149 backers, with
29 days to go.
"The goal listed is $50,000 but we're hoping for $125,000 -- that's our stretched goal," he said. "We're offering some awesome rewards to donors at various levels."
Those include DVDs of the remake as well as artifacts from their original set. Even Chris' original jacket, a whip and Eric's handmade Ark of the Covenant will be carrots to attract top tier funding.
The shoot will require building a full replica of the Flying Wing airplane seen in the original.
David Carambat of Industrial Object in Covington, La., is designing the full-scale replica.
"He is extraordinarily talented and very kind; he's been wonderful to us, helping us with this," Strompolos said.
The scene, he said, is expected to run "just under six minutes." All cast members have dedicated to returning for the shoot.
And then ... "We'll blow it all up," he said.
Of course, it will be shot on the Coast.
"We're working with Francisco Gonzalez; he's working on getting crew and scouting locations," Strompolos said.
After all these years, does Strompolos think he, Zala and the rest of the cast can carry it off?
"The way I look at it is, I've still got my hair," he said.
Zala was a bit reflective about the upcoming finality of their longtime project.
"I had been haunted by this for years, that we didn't do the last scene," he said in a phone interview. "Ultimately, I was happy with it; this was the only scene we could cut out and it would not affect the plot. But this is an opportunity to do what we always wanted to do. I mean, reuniting after 25 years to do this.
"Who hasn't wanted to go back and do something, and with your friends?" Zala said.
The Kickstarter project's name is "Raiders Guys and the Lost Airplane Scene" at kickstarter.com