by Juan Daniel F. Molero
‘It’s amazing that Steven Spielberg needed $20 million to make Raiders of the Lost Ark, and my dad only had his allowance’, says the son of one of three Mississippi teenagers who created a shot-for-shot remake of Spielberg’s film in the late 1980s. It all started as a fan project but became a Spielbergian plot itself about coming-of-age, friendship, family, and above all that old American Dream: anything is possible.
The almost-finished project became cult fare after Eli Roth got his hands on a VHS copy in 2002 and brought it to Rotten Tomatoes founder Harry Knowles, who showed it at Butt-Numb-A-Thon, his 24-hour ‘geekstravaganza’. In 2014, now adults, the fans rekindled the dream to complete their remake. Apparently director Jeremy Coon and producer Scott Rudin are considering a fiction remake of this real life story, now documented in Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (Tim Skousen, Jeremy Coon, 2015), which proves that truth is always stranger than fiction.
To me cinema and the internet are the social equivalent to imagination and psyche. They are the projection of memory (archives), of relationships (hyperlinks), of experience (simulation), and of ideals (virtuality). In this sense, if we cannot even declare ourselves as owners of the archetypes and images that appear in our own minds, and with which we think (thus exist), how could someone be the owner of the materiality of cinema? I do not know if it is the property of the people. Maybe it does not really belong to anyone at all. Cinema, as thought and the internet, are made out of assemblage and feedback. We are never the sole owners of its pieces, only what glues them together temporally, putting some sense in the infinite chaos to build an ever-moving-and-mutating image that connects us to the rest. We are a network of co-dependent beings and images. We = imagine.
Juan Daniel F. Molero is an alumnus of the IFFR Trainee Project for Young Film Critics 2010 and a IFFR Tiger Winner in 2015 with his second feature film Videophilia (and Other Viral Syndromes). His first feature film Reminiscencias (2010) premiered in the Break Even Store of the IFFR in 2010.