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RAIDERS! (#HotDocs15 Review)


Directed by Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen

In 1982, a group of 11-year-olds in Mississippi got together and spent their entire summer recreating a shot by shot remake of Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. They would actually spend seven straight summers on this massive project. They managed to get through the entire film, shot out of sequence, save for one scene. More than 20 years later, these kids are all grown up but are still haunted by this one missing scene. This leaves only one possible but impossible solution.

These boys aren’t boys anymore. They’re men with families and jobs and responsibilities. The easy argument is that indulging the idea of going back to complete this project is just plain ridiculous. The thing about Raiders of the Lost Ark though is that it embodies the spirit of adventure, which is what inspired the boys to begin with. It was an impossible task even then so there is no real reason to not finish it now. As you see all these different people from their lives come together to help make this dream a reality, you start to feel that this project is immensely inspiring to all it touches.


Inspiration doesn’t come easy though. At times it feels like everything and everyone is against them. One minute, the budget is blowing up, the next it won’t stop raining, and before you know it, you have to go back to work or you’ll lose your job. The pressure is mounting all the time and the irony is that this pressure is entirely self inflicted. RAIDERS! captures this fragile balance perfectly. It stumbles slightly when it tries to understand the psychology behind embarking on the project to begin with, but when it leaves the boys to just be boys, we get to see them recreate the greatest adventure they’ve ever known, while creating an adventure that is all their own.

4 sheep

RAIDERS! will have its International Premiere at the HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival, as part of Screen on Screen program, which showcases the power of cinema.

Screening Schedule …

Sunday, April 26, 9:30 PM, Hart House

Tuesday, April 28, 4:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox

Saturday, May 2, 6:30 PM, Revue

For more information and tickets, please visit

Your turn!

How many sheep would you give Raiders?


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