Spanish filmmaker Ciro Altabas finally manifested his love for video games in his new documentary “Hobby,” about a journey to Japan to investigate the rise of video game fan culture. The expedition turned out to be one of the best times of his life as he realized his life long love of video games. The film is available to view now on SnagFilms (and below).
What it’s really about: “Nintendo. Yeah. Or, well, video-games in general. Stormtroopers, also. Theme parks about Spain. Star Wars fights. Nostalgia. Sake. What it’s really about, that’s a weir-Hobbies, that’s it. Hobbies.”
On filming his passion: “It seemed like a good idea at the time. I studied Audiovisual Communication in Madrid and then Filmmaking in London. I’ve done five shorts, the ‘Hobby’ documentary, written for television and way too many almost-but-not-quite-produced features. Now I teach video-games at my old University, giving my life a much needed ‘full-circle’ feeling.”
What inspired you to make this film? “I’ve been playing games all my life, but I was growing tired about them. So, one Friday night, completely drunk, I told my best friend and DoP that it would be amazing to go to Japan and capture the launch of the Nintendo Wii and try to know more about hardcore video game culture before quitting for good. Turns out, he thought that was a good idea.” Altabas was also inspired by, “The Gleaners and I,” by Agnés Varda adding, “We wanted to make something in that spirit but with less potatoes.”
On a challenging editing process: “Well, we shot 50 hours of footage and that had to be condensed in 50 minutes. We had the time of our lives in Japan -and it shows- but the editing process took almost a year. A year trying to figure out what the story and the structure were. That was…interesting.”
What do you think SnagFilms audiences will respond to most in your movie? “Japan unplugged. The joy. The weirdness. The rhythm. The humor. The soothing voice of the main star.”
What’s Next: “I just finished another short film, “Bono,” about mussic tribute bands. And next year I will shoot my first feature film, ‘Flamencock.'”
[Full Disclosure: SnagFilms is the parent company of Indiewire.]