Winnipeg, Canada’s Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky produced, directed, shot and edited “Indie Game: The Movie” (World Documentary). It considers the twenty-first century’s new addition to the struggling artist category: indie game designers. After ten years of working in lifestyle TV and corporate video production, Pajot felt compelled and ready to tell her own stories, while Swirsky has always been “hopelessly” drawn to filmmaking, even through getting his MBA in Marketing. “Indie Game” is the first feature for both. Partially funded through Kickstarter, the directors say while the money has been very helpful, “the ongoing support and feedback from the community has been immeasurable.”
What’s it about: The film is about making video games. But at its core, it’s about personal expression, vulnerability, persistence & the creative process.
Says directors Pajot and Swirky: “In a world where the majority of video game titles are made by hundreds of people with hundred of million dollars, there is an community of video game designers doing it in a different way. Our film is about the underdogs of the video game world. These developers make games with small teams on modest budgets. They sacrifice money, health, and sanity to make these works – games that, to them, are a deep form of personal expression.
“These developers toil on their games in their bedrooms and apartments for years. But, they are not totally alone; they can speak to millions of people through the Internet, and through digital distribution, they can potentially make millions of dollars. All this – the fans, the money, the personal exposure – can make the game-making process a pressure cooker of anxiety.
“The film is about what it’s like to create in a digital age. What it’s like create under the Internet microscope. How is feels put yourself out there and expose yourself to the real-time social media feedback. Like any artist, there’s personal risk in releasing your work. We think, we were able to capture that universal emotional experience through following the developers in the film. It’s about pairs of people who, through hard work and sheer will, create fantastic things using nothing more than a computer and their ideas. We’re two people who created a film using our computers, very accessible equipment and our ideas.
“[At Sundance] we’re really hoping to find a sense of community, a sense that we’re on the right track. Much like our film’s subjects, we’ve spent a long time working in a vacuum, on something that we are exceptionally attached to. We cherish this film, it’s story and the people in it. We spent the last years couple on it. We think it was worth it, but part of us – no matter how confident a front we put up – wants to know if others also think it was worth it.”
Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival.
Keep checking here every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.