Indie Game: The Movie HBO series not a comedy

James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot talk to GameSpot about the film's reception at Sundance and the recent rights deal with programming giant HBO.

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Last December, the Sundance Institute revealed its decision to include independent film Indie Game: The Movie, about the struggles of independent game development, in its official selection at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. This marked a significant win for Canadian filmmakers James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot.

So who's going to make Indie Game: The Movie: The Game?

The film--which was screened at Sundance last week--follows the creative process of Super Meat Boy creators Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, FEZ creator Phil Fish, and Braid creator Jonathan Blow. Swirsky and Pajot spent a year following the indie developers across North America shooting the documentary, which was funded by two campaigns on crowd-sourced funding platform Kickstarter.

Following its premiere at Sundance, Indie Game: The Movie was optioned by HBO and subsequently awarded the Best Editing award in Sundance's World Cinema Documentary Competition.

GameSpot asked Swirsky and Pajot about the reception to the film, the deal with HBO--which was at first incorrectly thought to be a comedy series--and plans for the film's future distribution across the US and the world.

GameSpot: Are you happy with how well Indie Game: The Movie was received at Sundance?

James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot: The response to the film was AWESOME. Like, beyond our wildest dreams. We never thought when we started making this film that we'd be premiering at Sundance, that we'd get some really great reviews, that audiences would be laughing and crying, that accomplished directors like Brad Bird would be tweeting about the film, and that we'd get an award. It's crazy.

A really rewarding element of showing at Sundance was the reactions of self-identified nongamers. At screenings, there were usually two or three people that came up to us and said, "I don't play games. I don't like games. But, I think I get them now", which was incredible to hear.

GS: Can you tell us in more detail how the HBO deal came about and what we can expect to see out of that?

JS, LP: HBO and Oscar award-winning producer Scott Rudin have optioned the premise of Indie Game: The Movie to become a fictional TV series. There are a lot of things that need to line up for it to happen, but it's so exciting because Scott Rudin has made lots of films that we love, like The Social Network, Moneyball, There Will Be Blood, and lots of Wes Anderson films.

His team approached us shortly before Sundance. They really liked the film, both the approach and the tone. The film will act as a jumping-off point for the fictional series, and we'll see what happens with it. We're just so excited to work with them. We will be producers on the show, if it comes to reality.

GS: What about future plans for the distribution of the film?

JS, LP: There has been a lot of interest in the film, which is completely amazing and a little overwhelming. We're just sorting through all the opportunities right now. We hope to find the best way to release the film and reach lots of people. We'll see how that shakes down in the coming weeks.

Discussion

10 comments
Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

Why isn't there a link the the movie's website here? You can like them on Facebook. Can't wait to see this.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

Like all HBO series, it will probably be excellent for the first half-season (or perhaps as long as one full season), then plummet into garbage. Hey HBO: It's okay to intentionally make a limited-duration show. "Rome" was perhaps the only good example of that...

LoG-Sacrament
LoG-Sacrament

im glad the movie is getting some attention. thats usually a struggle for documentaries.

Adenosine
Adenosine

It would win them more points and love if they sold their stuff without any form of copy protection just like how Louis CK, a comedian, earned over a million in less than a week selling his stuff on his website.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

This could be an interesting show. Then again, it could suck.

Another_Denshuu
Another_Denshuu

It's not that the film was labeled as a comedy by HBO. There are literally only two categories that HBO uses: Drama, and "Everything Else." The "Everything Else" part is called Comedy, even if the subject matter isn't necessarily comedic. Pretty much all half-hour shows on HBO are classified as Comedy.

paxis85
paxis85

i haven't seen the movie yet and would really like to. in fairness that means i can't really comment on the movie. what must be said, however, is that this creates a platform for a new form of marketing where companies show the development cycles behind games. i'd love to watch how my favourite games were made. i often find that the developments in the product at every stage are just as interesting as what finally hits the shelves. i honestly hope this will be the first of many similar things without it ever becoming a shameless gimmick

CarlosRodela
CarlosRodela

Scott Rudin + Video Games + Indie Game The Movie Peesp = potentially awesome

LpcWarrior
LpcWarrior

Seems like an interesting idea for a show, based on an interesting movie. Unfortunately it'll probably be cancelled after a couple of seasons *cough cough* bored to death, hung, how to make it in america.