Canada brings us the next film in the World Cinema Documentary Competition: INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE, Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky’s look at the creative process and personal sacrifice behind independent video game design.
Sundance Program Description:
With the twenty-first century comes a new breed of struggling independent artist: the indie game designer. Refusing to toil for major developers, these innovators independently conceive, design, and program their distinctly personal games in the hope that they, too, may find success.
After three years of painstaking work, designer Edmund McMillen and programmer Tommy Refenes await the release of their first major game for Xbox, Super Meat Boy—the adventures of a skinless boy in search of his girlfriend, who is made of bandages. At PAX, a major video-game expo, developer Phil Fish unveils his highly anticipated, four-years-in-the-making Fez. Jonathan Blow considers beginning a new game after creating Braid, one of the highest-rated games of all time.
First-time filmmaking duo Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky capture the emotional journey of these meticulously obsessive artists who devote their lives to their interactive art. Four developers, three games, and one ultimate goal—to express oneself through a video game.
This film marks Swirsky and Pajot feature documentary directorial debut after years of television, corporate, and commercial work. Working out of Winnipeg, the duo handled all aspects of the production themselves, financing the film personally and through two successful Kickstarter campaigns that brought in nearly $95,000 – almost doubling their initial campaign goals.
Why You Should Watch:
While they explore game culture, Swirsky and Pajot smartly avoid a too-insular focus which might have condemned their doc strictly to gamers. Instead, through surprisingly intimate and honest interviews, the film addresses more universal concerns like the need for acceptance and success. The result is an unexpectedly personal and strangely affecting film that should resonate for non-gamers as much as, or perhaps even more than, for the theoretical target audience.
Take a look at the film’s website and Facebook page. The filmmakers speak with Indiewire about their film here. The doc’s trailer may be found here. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.