"Indie Game: The Movie", Winnipeg, Manitoba
The Influence

Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky have been consumed with their feature documentary film “Indie Game: The Movie” for over three years now, but they've taken ownership of the film by building a community for it, an approach that's still providing an inspirational model for fellow filmmakers. The DIY release of "Indie Game: The Movie" is a test case in more ways than one. Lucky for indie filmmakers, Pijot and Swirsky have spelled their whole strategy out on their blog

The film sold on video game marketplace Steam and was featured on the PlayStation Network, in addition to other video game platforms.  But talking to Pajot and Swirsky, what’s clear more than anything is that they’re smart and careful about managing their success. They answer every email, respond to most tweets, and do their best to get the film subtitled in as many languages as possible.


Biggest Success

With a huge debut at Sundance (and an editing award) as well as 1,596 backers on their "final push" Kickstarter campaign, the filmmakers behind "Indie Game" were heartily encouraged by the audience they knew they had along the way.

Biggest Disappointment

The two have been working alone on nearly all parts of the film's life (they brought a staff person on board for distribution, worked with some publicists and marketers early on in the film's festival debut, and regularly promoted the film’s composer), and so they’ve taken on a lot of work – and a lot of different kinds of work -- themselves. 

Biggest Challenge
Pajot offers:  "I think the most disappointing thing was not being able to enjoy the process as it was happening. Things were moving so quickly that each success immediately led to another stage of decision making, strategy and execution. There was never any opportunity to truly savor and appreciate the crazy things that were happening as they were happening. Of course though, it's not a bad problem to have."
What's Next

The filmmakers are currently working on a special edition of the film, and they're set to release a box set which will include three discs with 300 minutes of footage in total.

Lisanne's Survey
Lisanne Pajot
Director/Producer
Indie Game: The Movie
My Biggest Career Break...
Having our documentary, "Indie Game: The Movie," selected for the Sundance Film Festival.
Best Filmmaker Working Today...
Sarah Polley. Being from Canada, I've been admiring her work for a longtime, both as director & actor. Her latest film, "Stories We Tell," is brilliant.
A Guilty Pleasure Movie...
"True Lies." I love spy movies.
My First Job...
Working on the nightly TV news at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. My role was timing the broadcast, organizing the tape and documenting every shot in the video library. It was a grunt work job. But, it taught me a lot. I watched hours & hours of raw footage. I saw how the best shooters shot, how producers interviewed, & how to (and how not to) tell a story.
20 YEARS OLD
The age that Lisanne got her first job
5 FESTIVALS
Attended this year by Lisanne
20 WEEKS
The average amount that Lisanne travels for work each year
2 TIMES
Lisanne has been to the Sundance Film Festival
James's Survey
James Swirsky
Director/Producer
Indie Game: The Movie
My Biggest Career Break...
Having our film accepted into competition at Sundance. Things were going well before that, but taking the film to the festival took everything to a completely different level.
Best Filmmaker Working Today...
First off: There is no good way to answer this. But if I have to pick one, I'll go with my favourite: Wes Anderson. Is there anyone working today that has created and honed a signature and style as strong as his? I will watch anything he does, and chances are, it'll inspire and stick with me.
A Guilty Pleasure Movie...
"13 Going On 30." It is perfect and does everything it needs to do ... this is anonymous, right?
My First Job...
Planting trees and working at my parents' at their garden center in Winnipeg. It was pretty much a form of child labour - the legality of which was a grey area at best. I'm still investigating the possibility of back pay.
8 YEARS OLD
The age that James got his first job
5 FESTIVALS
Attended this year by James
20 WEEKS
The average amount that James travels for work each year
2 TIMES
James has been to the Sundance Film Festival