Since starting the Oxford Film Festival in 2003, we have been fortunate enough to meet some really special filmmakers, and even better, some of them seem to actually be down with our program (as the kids say). From time to time, we will try to highlight them here 1) so that if someone Googles them, s/he will find us too, 2) perhaps the highlighted filmmaker will look back on his/her Oxford experience and will send us his/her next project, 3) and other dorky reasons.
Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala, "Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation"
We were charmed by the story of how three kids from the Mississippi Gulf Coast -- Chris, Eric, and their friend Jayson Lamb -- set out to make a shot-for-shot adaptation of their favorite film, "Raiders of the Lost Ark", when they were 12 years old. And we were even more impressed by their determination to finish the project, even if it would take 7 years to complete. Read more about them here. We absolutely wanted their film in our 2005 festival!. But as our festival was a mere week after Hurricane Katrina, they had to cancel their plans to accompany their film since they had to tend to matters at home on the coast. However, they were generous enough to let us screen the film without them, and they promised to reschedule their visit to Oxford, which was expanded to include a workshop with local middle school kids. The workshop at the middle school and the encore screening at the public library in March 2006 were well-received, and the co-directors enjoyed chatting with them over dinner at Ajax. And even, they seemed to enjoy us as much as we enjoyed them.
Therefore, we would like to officially recognize Chris and Eric as filmmakers who love us/who we love. We hope they'll keep us in mind when their next project is ready.
(Chris and Eric in younger days.)