Over the course of seven years in the 1980s, three young friends — Jayson Lamb, Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos — undertook the mammoth task of remaking their favourite movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, shot-for-shot; a premiere for the finished piece even took place in 1989, in a local auditorium. However, it was a hugely successful screening of the since-forgotten film in 2003, at the Butt-Numb-A-Thon festival in Austin, that generated the buzz which led to the note below — a priceless letter of appreciation to the amateur filmmakers from the greatest source possible: Steven Spielberg.
February 6, 2003
Wanted to write and let you know how impressed I was with your very loving and detailed tribute to our RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. From the hugely imaginative substitution of a dog for a monkey that your Indy carries around on his shoulder to the smallest detail of Indiana's voice rising when he says, "It's a date...you eat 'em." (Which, by the way, is something I asked Harrison to do when he had to recreate the line in the ADR room.)
But beyond all the mimicry of the original RAIDERS, I saw and appreciated the vast amounts of imagination and originality you put in your film. Again, congratulations. I'll be waiting to see your names someday on the big screen.
All my best,
(Signed, 'Steven Spielberg')