Earlier in the year a fan-made documentary started making the rounds online called Star Wars Begins. Assembled out of several decades’ worth of interviews, commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, etc., Begins was the first in a trilogy of what London-based creator Jamie Benning calls “filmumentaries.” These videos covered the first three movies in George Lucas‘ landmark space adventure saga in a way that provided fans of the Star Wars trilogy and filmmaking in general with a fresh perspective on a cinematic classic. Star Wars Begins was warmly received by fans of the series and Benning followed it up with filmumentaries about The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi that were equally regarded by them as well.
Now that’s he told the story of the making of one series of trend-setting blockbusters dredged in part from the imagination of George Lucas in his own special manner, Benning is hard at work on another with Raiding the Lost Ark, and you can watch the first 17 minutes of his latest project here below.
When Raiders of the Lost Ark was first released back in the summer of 1981 it could not have come along at a better time for many people; director Steven Spielberg had been on a hot streak for the ages until he made his first big flop with 1941, a movie that has garnered a cult following the years since it arrived in theaters not with a bang but a whimper, and he was in dire need of a guaranteed smash to revive his good-standing in Tinseltown. Plus his longtime friend Lucas needed a lot more coin in his coffers so he could ensure his financial independence from the Hollywood studios. Their idea for an old-fashioned epic adventure produced with the best of the cutting edge special effects technology of that time was a major risk for any studio foolish enough to indulge the two directors whose past creative output had forever altered the cultural landscape and created the summer movie season as we now know it. But the risk paid off handsomely. Raiders of the Lost Ark became another massive blockbuster for Spielberg and Lucas and gave birth to one of film history’s most iconic heroes: Indiana Jones, played by the newly-minted movie star Harrison Ford.
With a wealth of behind-the-scenes material in both audio and video form at his disposal as well as text facts and the legendary 1978 story conference between Spielberg, Lucas, and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, Benning has put together another fascinating deconstruction of a cinematic classic by raiding the ark of film history and using the relics of the past to create a seminal document for fans and filmmakers of the future.
Raiding the Lost Ark will be made available free by Benning upon its completion. You can follow also follow him on Twitter.