RAIDING THE LOST ARK, A FILMUMENTARY – interview with creator Jamie Benning

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Most attempts at fan videos usually only serve to leave the viewer embarrassed for all involved. If it’s not kids old enough to know better dressed in their bathrobes throwing light saber shapes, it’s kids dressed in fedoras rolling under wheelbarrows – and those are just the good ones.

However one man has taken a fresh approach to fan videos. There is no cosplay, make up or running around in the woods. Instead he brings us the ultimate service in entertainment and trivia. That man is Jamie Benning and his filmumentaries are fast becoming the must-see videos on the Internet.

In the filmumentaries, the original feature film plays, and a plethora of vintage behind-the-scenes footage, concept art, interviews (new and old), and storyboards are woven in to form a new kind of commentary. It’s reminiscent of the ‘Maximum Movie Mode’ available on Warner Brothers Blu Ray releases but without the awkward presenters and it feels like the future of DVD/Blu Ray special features.

Benning’s Filumentaries Starwars Begins, Building Empire and Returning to Jedi (if you can’t work out the subject matter, you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog) have been huge Internet hits and now Jamie has embarked upon a new adventure, this time turning his attention to the first film in the Indiana Jones Trilogy (ahem). Raiding the Lost Ark, A Filmumentary is the culmination of eight months of reading, trawling, interviewing and editing. This time Jamie has sourced some of the interviews himself, with contributions from Wolf Kahler (Colonel Dietrich), Brian Muir (legendary sculptor), Mark Mangini (part of the Oscar winning sound team) and most surprisingly Sean Young (talking about her audition for the part of Marion Ravenwood).

I caught up with Jamie (while he was trapped in a hole with dangerous asps) to find out more:

Jamie, it must feel amazing to have your project of many months out in the world?

Yes it’s great to finally release it. It’s been an enjoyable process and good to use some of the momentum from the success of Star Wars Begins.

How long did it take to get it all together?

About 10 months in all.

For those who don’t know what it is that you have been doing with these many projects, can you give us the story so far?

In 2006 I made an audio visual commentary for The Empire Strikes Back using as much behind the scenes material as I could find. I then created Returning to Jedi in 2008 and finished the trilogy with Star Wars Begins in Feb 2011. My intention was to further the concept of the DVD commentary and create the ultimate making of documentary by incorporating behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes, archival and new interviews along with a subtitled fact track.

What made you start all of this?

I wanted to learn Apple Final Cut Pro whilst creating something that would engage me as a viewer and a very big fan.

What is your background?

I have worked in live television for 11 years. It’s a very different discipline but some of the skills are transferable. Other than that I am just a film geek with a lot of passion for a certain kind of movie.

Was it easy to get in touch with all involved?

Thanks to the exposure and the contacts I’d made from Star Wars Begins, people were forthcoming with contact details for cast and crew members. People were just happy to get involved.

Has Twitter been a great help with getting this all together?

Absolutely. It’s great to have that instant non private contact with people. It means that people can chip in if the conversation takes their interest.

In Raiding the Lost Ark, you have a lot of great behind the scenes pictures, footage and storyboards, this must have been really hard to source?

There are lots of books and publications with this stuff spread across them in different forms. It’s just a matter of finding them.

Any surprises along the way?

It was great to get the interviews with cast, nearly cast (Sean Young) and crew members. I’ve made friends that I’ll hopefully be contact with for years. That’s been the biggest surprise and the most pleasant part of this process.

Did you hear back from anyone at Lucasfilm? Any feedback about any of your work?

Nothing yet.

What’s next? More Indy? Howard the Duck?

Superman 3 or Tucker 😉

Go and take a look at all of Jamie’s amazing work for yourself over at

Originally posted 2012-02-05 11:13:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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