Rants and Raves: ‘Raiding the Lost Art: A Filmumentary’
A Fan Documentary About ‘Raiders’
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Jamie Benning expresses his fan appreciation in a unique way: he makes fabulous documetaries about the films he loves the most. He already paid tribute to the original "Star Wars" Trilogy. Now he turns his attention to "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Jamie Benning is a fanboy. But don't try to stereotype him. He doesn't live at home with his parents, he has a real job (one that takes him around the world following Formula One racing for "World Feed"), and he makes amazing fan documentaries about the films he loves. His documentaries on the "Star Wars" films are available online and they capture a true fan's enthusiasm for something beloved.
After finishing his trilogy of "Star Wars" documentaries, he set out to make "Raiding the Lost Ark" because not only did he love the film but Steven Spielberg has yet to release a commentary track for his film so fans are hungry for something to provide insights into this pop classic. On November 16, Benning just made the first 17 minutes of what he calls his "filmumentary" available online in an exclusive with GeekDad. Benning got away with using footage from George Lucas' films because Benning does not make any financial profit from these documentaries -- he makes them as a fan and puts them online for anyone to enjoy at no cost. He hopes to do the same with "Raiding."
Take a look at the tantalizing first part of his film.
Here's a brief interview I did with Benning.
You just finished the Star Wars docs, what is your plan for Raiders?
Jamie Benning: My plan is to build upon what I have learned in making the "Star Wars" ones. I would love to have "Raiding the Lost Ark" out there before the end of the year. Releasing it on "Raiders of the Lost Ark's" 30th Anniversary would be cool.
Are you doing any interviews yourself specifically for the doc?
JB: Yes indeed. I wanted to turn things up a notch with this one. I've already interviewed Wolf Kahler, who played Colonel Dietrich. I've just been editing an interview I did with the sound editor Mark Mangini. Brian Muir the sculptor wants to talk this month, and Robert Watts, the production manager and executive producer is hopefully getting back to me soon. It's very exciting to be sourcing my own material.
Is there any footage or photos that you gathered that you are excited to share?
JB: Mostly it's commentary that I'm excited about. But visually there are a few surprises coming too!
Have you actually contacted Spielberg?
JB: I haven't contacted Spielberg. I am hoping he sits up and takes notice of what I am capable of though! You never know until you try I guess.
What perspective do you bring to this that is unique?
JB: Well, I want to get across people's different perspectives when they made this movie. Whilst [George] Lucas [who wrote the original story idea for "Raiders" and served as executive producer] was at the top of his game, Spielberg had something to prove. He needed to show the studios that he could bring in a film on time and on budget. So that's the narrative I am trying to create. I also think that the Indiana Jones Trilogy is the pinnacle of the physical act of film making. By that I mean the tangible and visceral experience you have watching real people doing real stunts.
Why are fan documentaries special? What about being a fan makes you a good person to assemble a doc like this?
JB: Well, behind "Star Wars" and "Empire Strikes Back," "Raiders" in my favorite movie and because I am imbedded in fan culture I am able to source things and get perspectives from people that the official documentary makers may not.
What do you hope to do with it once it's done?
JB: I am going to put it online and use it as part as my ever expanding show reel. I recently heard from a Lecturer at a South Carolina University that is using my "Star Wars" documentaries in teaching. It would be great to think that "Raiding" could also be used as a way to inform, educate and entertain people around the world.
When will it be finished?
JB: Hopefully by the end of the year!