An ode to a cinematic labor of love filmed on the Coast is finally set for wide release.
Austin-based Drafthouse Films announced in January it will be distributing "Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made," a documentary about two kids from Ocean Springs who decided to make a shot-by-shot remake of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in 1982.
Chris Strompolos was 10 years old when he and his 11-year-old friend Eric Zala started their remake of "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" during their summer break.
They worked on the film for seven years, completing all of it except for a shot where Indiana Jones fights the Nazis on an airfield.
Never miss a local story.
Jeremy Coon's documentary tells the tale of Strompolos and Zala, as adults a quarter-century later, assembling a crew and filming the scene in Vancleave during summer 2014.
The Drafthouse distribution will allow the film to be seen across the globe in a variety of formats.
"The documentary is going to be released sometime in mid-June," Strompolos said. "It's going to be available on Video On Demand the day it is released."
He said he's very excited about Drafthouse Film's acquisition of the property.
"It's almost like keeping it in the family because the "Raiders" journey started on the Gulf Coast, but it came in front of the world in Austin at the Alamo Drafthouse," Strompolos said. "We think it has found its appropriate home."
The Vancleave shoot
Strompolos and Zala aren't the only ones excited about the film's upcoming release.
Francisco Gonzalez of Biloxi acted as the director of photography on the 2014 Vancleave shoot.
"I'm thrilled that the documentary is coming out," he said. "I've seen it and I think it's a pretty accurate portrayal of what happened -- and it's very entertaining."
The airplane scene was shot over 12 days in June, Gonzalez said.
"It was a very difficult shoot," he said. "It was hot and it would rain and get muddy, but we finished it because of the crew -- they were inspiring."
Gonzalez said the film's upcoming release will be very special for him.
"Just last week, Douglas Slocombe, the director of photography on (the original) 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' died," he said. "It was an honor to imitate his work. This is a tribute to his work."
The bus tour
Strompolos said he and Zala will be going on tour in the near future to promote the documentary's release.
"Eric and I are currently organizing a north American bus tour," he said. "We just got a sponsorship package from (online retail store) Zappos. We're going to go out for two to three months and we will be making a stop in Mississippi."