Movie News & Reviews

Hats off to young 'Indiana' adaptation

Indiana Jones fans hold onto your hats: This year's Olympia Film Festival scored a cult classic based on "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

"Oh my God, is it a big deal," says festival programmer Dustin Kaspar.

The film, "Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation" was made between 1982 and 1989 by a group of kids. It mirrors the original shot-for-shot and draws enormous crowds wherever it is shown, he said.

"They started making it when they were 12 years old. It's amazing how well they did it too," Kaspar said.

"It really captures the heart of 'Raiders.' "

The lead actor, Chris Strompolis, is scheduled to attend the event, Kaspar added.

"Back at that time, Chris really studied Harrison (Ford). The look in his eyes, the line reading - it's just spot on," he said.

Despite the film being an egregious copyright violation, Paramount has allowed the show to be used by nonprofit organizations, and original film director Stephen Spielberg has given it the nod, he said.

"I jumped around when it was confirmed," Kaspar said.

The initiative and creativity the kids show is amazing, he said.

"Chris actually had himself pulled under a car. They found an old, abandoned truck, which they towed. He was in lots more danger than Harrison Ford was ever in," he said.

"There were only a couple of things they had to change. The monkey is a dog because they did not have a monkey. It's amazingly creative."

Festival director Colleen Dixon said the film will be shown twice - once earlier in the day for kids and also later at night. "It's not shown often. It's a big deal to get it shown in our area."

The Web site already is announcing the screening. Kaspar said that means people might want to get their tickets early. They will be available at the box office and through the festival Web site.

Don't despair if crowds or Indiana Jones are not your cup of tea, however. The film festival has lots for everyone.

Kids should enjoy "The Basket," made in 1999 in Spokane by Rich Cowan. It reflects the World War I era in the Northwest with children being introduced to basketball.

"It's a beautifully told story. He will be joining us for the screening," Kaspar said.

On the last Saturday of the festival, families also might want to check out a documentary called "Summer Camp." Directors Brad Beesley and Sarah Price somehow got kids and counselors to talk candidly about both fun and tough issues such as bullying, he said.

"It's one of those where there is hardly a dry eye in the house by the end," he said.

Dixon said the festival's documentaries are especially strong this year. Highlights include:

• "Beyond Belief," about two women whose husbands were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, plane crashes. The women created a foundation to help women in Afghanistan whose husbands have been killed in the war.

• "Super Amigos" features five guys who used to be lutadores, Mexican wrestlers such as those in the movie "Nacho Libre." They advocate five different social justice causes in Mexico, and run around in their wrestling outfits drawing attention to their causes.

• "Beyond Occupation," shown as a benefit for the Rachel Corrie Foundation, features Palestinian journalist Dahr Jamail and Palestinian-American spoken word poet and activist Suheir Hammad. Both will attend the screening and speak with attendees.

• "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox," featuring the socially responsible company that produces the all natural, peppermint bottles of soap with Bronner's teachings printed on them - the Moral ABC designed to "unite all mankind free."

• The festival will close with a Seattle-produced film, "Brand upon the Brain" by Guy Madden. Shot in Shoreline, the silent film uses 1920s cameras. Though the movie generally has live accompaniment, including orchestras, this rendition will feature a soundtrack.

One of the Olympia Film Society's own, Benjamin Kasulke, worked on the film.

• Also local, "Rain in the Mountains" is directed by Olympia native Joel Metland and wife Christine Sullivan. It's a Native American-based comedy about a man who wants to get back to his roots by doing things the old way and his misadventures that ensue.

"They actually cast the film in the Olympia Film Society office," Kaspar said. "The film was shot in the surrounding area. It's very enjoyable."