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With two books, two films, countless print and video articles, educators have a wealth of material to reach and inspire children to find and follow their own passions. 


We provide digital teacher’s guides for the following RAIDERS ADAPTATION Media, via worksheets authored for use with Common Core state standards, available for related exercises in English Language Arts, Math, History, and Art/Music.  The Project Based Learning possibilities are limitless!  School bulk orders will receive discounts over retail.

Vanity Fair Feature Print Article

by Jim Windolf

Published: March 2004

~10,000 words


This feature article in VANITY FAIR'S  2004 Hollywood issue is a riveting, often hilarious read of 10,000 words (even if it pre-dates the later Airplane Scene by a decade). 

The Book

by Alan Eisenstock with Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN-10: 1250129583
ISBN-13: 978-1250129581

This is a non-fiction book that chronicles the making of the fan film, while growing up in Mississippi in the 80’s, ideal for robust literary classroom discussion:  Their shared love of RAIDERS aside, you couldn’t choose kids much more different than Eric and Chris, to team up in such an endeavor.  How did these differences hinder — or help?  Would you have given up, or kept going? 


Imagine your students’ empathy, of first reading the strangely-moving non-fiction book of an amazing, true, 35-year adventure… and then — the subject of the book shows up in your classroom, to share firsthand accounts and answer questions.    What a way to tackle those non-fiction standards, inspire students and go deeper.


“An amazing, one-of-a-kind book about a triumphant, one-of-a-kind film production.” — Booklist (starred review)


The Storyboard Book

by Eric Zala with contributions from Chris Strompolos
Paperback: 148 pages
Publisher: Rothman Creative LLC
ISBN-13: 978-0997594003

This book is a published compilation of storyboards drawn from memory of RAIDERS by 12-year-old Eric, during the summer of 1982, his own “director’s guide” in making ADAPTATION over the next 6 years. 602 storyboards are accompanied by firsthand accounts, production sketches, childhood correspondence, and behind-the-scenes photos, showing shows how this unique project was organically planned and came together.

The Fan Film

The Fan Film
Produced by Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos / Rolling Boulder Films
Running time: 106 mins

This is the actual fan film itself, restored and with new Airplane Scene added. DVD includes audio commentary track by its makers, Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos.

​“…One of the strangest permutations of '80's nostalgia to hit movie screens—the now-notorious Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, a 106-minute shot-for-shot amateur-video remake of the 1981 Spielberg-Lucas adventure flick, created over a span of seven years by a group of kids in small-town Reagan-era Mississippi.  


Filled with ingenious contraptions and overweening jerry-rigs, The Adaptation remakes Raiders on less than 1/2,000th of Paramount's original $20 million budget, conjuring exotic locales out of cardboard sets in parents' basements, casting tweens in Boy Scout uniforms as Nazi bad guys, and rolling a gigantic hand-crafted boulder through the family garage to create the film's signature scene. Nothing short of slapdash spectacular.”    




The Documentary

Produced by Jeremy Coon & Tim Skousen
Distributor: Drafthouse Films
Running time: 93 mins

This is the “absurdly entertaining” documentary that is available streaming from Netflix. Available also in Blu-Ray/DVD formats, which include dual audio commentary tracks by both the documentary’s makers and subjects.

Exhilarating…Awesomely triumphant… a movie for anyone who has ever dreamed big, been knocked down, and dared to dream again"

— IndieWire

Schools can email parents with the news of this exciting event coming to their school, including a link to the trailer for the documentary, along with a link to view on Netflix.


Students watching it beforehand will have not only context for classroom discussion -- also investment, both time and emotional.


That engagement will make this school visit one that they will always remember.

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A veteran speaker from touring over a decade, Eric draws the assembled students in — screening select clips from RAIDERS ADAPTATION — alternated with firsthand accounts of their making, vividly illustrating Project Based Learning in action.  Eric grabs their attention— and holds it, sharing the lessons learned from his 35-year saga remaking RAIDERS. 


Watch for the rolling fiberglass boulder!  The heart-thudding truck sequence!  The melting faces! 

Even witness the missing final scene — the Airplane Scene, completed with original cast reunited 25 years later!

After seeing the clips, hearing the stories, students can ask Eric directly about his incredible experiences in remaking RAIDERS — without an available video copy.  How they acquired real snakes, a real WWII submarine, how they did the stunts.  How do you remake a $26 million blockbuster, on your allowance?


After assembly, Eric does single class breakouts — ideal for say, a film class, film club, or simply a passionate class. 


Options for breakout topics include:

  • Taking on an ambitious project —  whether it’s remaking RAIDERS — or creating a video game QA department from the ground up (Eric worked for 15 years as senior QA management for Activision, Electronic Arts and 2K Games).

  • Lighting the fire in the belly:  Finding the inspiration that gives you the will and emotional stamina to see your project past challenge and ordeal, to completion.

  • Organizing your project:  How to take on daunting challenges that come with projects of ambitious scope and overcome them.

  • Sharing the inspiration — and the vision — with others, to build your team.

  • Choosing your project team wisely:  The seeds of a project’s success or failure are oft sown in these early calls.

  • Screening of Eric ‘s 22-minute award-winning original drama AN EARLY TWILIGHT  — followed by discussion of the overview process of writing, directing and editing one’s own original work.  

Beyond a single school visit… we even offer semester- and year-long programs, in which Eric helps a class to collaborate and produce their own short films. From inception to final cut, Eric provides structure and guidance, mentoring and feedback, for at each stage of production, via both in-person school visits and videoconference. 


We are happy to customize a program format for your school. 




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