FORT MADISON – Saturday, a Real American Hero comes to Fort Madison.
For those that posed action figures and those that sat with their face in their hands with elbows on the floor propped up watching the animated show on television, the Fox Theater brings the 80s back to life.
Producer Pierre Doanetto brings a live action fan film to the screen in Fort Madison for a 6 p.m. one-time showing of Crimson Archer, an Iowa produced offshoot of the 80s version GI Joe brand.
“It’s a full length feature film – 90 minutes” Doanetto said Thursday afternoon.
“This is a fan film based on the 80s GI Joe cartoon and the synopsis is about what happened in the aftermath of the 80s with the Joes disbanded and retired,” Doanetto said.
“One Joe – Scarlet, was kidnapped by Cobra to try and convert her to Cobra ways, and the rescue is at hand.”
Doanetto said he’s met with GI Joe storyteller Larry Hama about the movie, so he has the blessing of Hasbro and Hama in creating the movie.
However, because it’s a fan film, there cannot be any profits made off the movie. That’s good news for GI Joe fans because the film will be shown at the Fox for free. Concessions can and will be sold at the theater.
Doanetto said funds can be raised to produce the film, but no profits can be taken from showing the film, because the rights are still owned by Hasbro.
The film is made with contemporary technology because Doanetto said he wanted to “write a love letter to GI Joe fans.”
“You can make it look crappy by shooting it in your backyard, but we wanted to make it look good and we used several shooting locations in Iowa, including the old Iowa State Penitentiary,” Doanetto said.
“We used that as the Cobra base, and were there for about two days. It was really cool. Very nostaligic and very old. It would creep you out a little bit.”
Other shooting sites included the Iowa State Fairgrounds, one mile bridge in Saylorville, and other places. Local crews and actors were used from Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. The film also featured the Iowa National Guard and equipment such as helicopters.
A reception will follow at the YMCA Test Kitchen with beverages and appetizers served. Donations are requested at the Test Kitchen for operations.
Doanetto said the Hollywood productions that began in 2009, strayed from the original storylines of the late 70s and early 80s.
“I grew up playing with GI Joes in the 80s - watching cartoons and collecting toys and action figures. I had some of the comic books, but growing up with GI Joe, I thought that the Hollywood productions ruined it a lot in how we grew up with it. So, I did a solid to the original intent,” he said.
“It’s a love letter to GI Joe. Every fan that has come out has said they appreciated it and said I helped them recapture a bit of their youth,” Doanetto said.
“I want to thank Iowa and Fort Madison for use of the prison. For an average Iowa guy like myself to make a movie about my childhood is a dream come true.”
Doanetto said past screenings of the film have been sold out. Additional screenings are being planned in Muscatine, Marshalltown, and the Des Moines area.
“It’s for everybody, especially for guys that grew up with GI Joe. If you are new to it, the movie is easy to understand, but if you have a history for a child to adults, it’s very easy to understand.”
GI Joe was first pitched as a toy idea in 1963 by Stanley Weston to Hasbro. The toy company jumped at the idea and bought the brand and started making action figures.
One year later, the company had the first 12” moveable action figure setting the stage for all posable toy figures to follow.
In 1967, GI Nurse became the first female action figure to be released. In the 70s, GI Joe turned to a special mission story line and the toy line became a world phenomenon.
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