Game Developers Conference organizers are delighted to announce the films selected to be part of the inaugural GDC Film Festival, one of the first ever documentary & narrative film fests focused on the art and culture of video games!
Sponsored by Steam, the 1st Annual GDC Film Festival will take place at the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts’ Screening Room—directly adjacent to the Moscone Center—from Monday, March 19th to Wednesday, March 21st during Game Developers Conference 2018.
Screenings will be open to all GDC 2018 pass holders, on a first-come, first-served basis. Across the three days, there will be a wide range of documentaries based around the video game medium, including world premieres and a selection of work-in-progress presentations from top documentary webseries creators.
The Festival will include onstage Q&As with film-makers, and game producer/designer and journalist Mathew Kumar will be MC-ing the festival and has co-programmed the featured selection.
This year’s festival is split up into three themed days: Monday March 19th features the International Spotlight with opening night gala presentation the premiere of Heting Chen’s Indie Games In China. Tuesday March 20th is the Webseries Spotlight, featuring the premiere of a feature-length version of The Checkpoints series and a work-in-progress screening from Area 5’s Outerlands. Wednesday March 21st is the Arcade Spotlight, with the closing night gala presentation the premiere of Josh Tsui’s Insert Coin: Inside Midway’s 90’s Revolution.
Without further ado, here’s a look at the selected films!
Monday, March 19th: International Spotlight
Directed by Anne Ferrero
Two years in the making, Branching Paths is styled as a “mosaic of the developers, publishers and people who gravitate to indie games in Japan” directed by Anne Ferrero, perhaps best known to game development audiences as the director behind Toco Toco, a webseries documentary about Japanese creatives that has interviewed the likes of Swery 65 (Deadly Premonition) and Tetsuya Mizuguchi (Rez).
That access is replicated here, with subjects including Yoshiro Kimura (Brave Yamada-Kun) and Dylan Cuthbert (Pixeljunk series), as the documentary charts the beginning of Japan’s flourishing indie game movement.
Directed by Szilárd Matusik
Moleman 4—Longplay is the uniquely presented story of Hungary’s forgotten place in computer and video game development history: how games such as The Last Ninja, Impossible Mission II and Ecco The Dolphin were developed from behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ on smuggled computers and without official development kits. All while facing the circumstances of living in a country under Soviet pressure.
Directed by Heting Chen
Beginning at the closing ceremony of the “indiePlay China Indie Games Competition”, Indie Games in China focuses on China’s burgeoning independent game development scene. It follows the developers from that very competition—those that won, those that didn’t, and the life experiences that followed: teams disbanded or reorganized, bankruptcy or fortune, comeback or withdrawl.
The CheckPoint Series: Feature (Premiere)
The CheckPoint Series is intended to tackle mental health issues, using the power of video games, aiming to improve wellbeing, boost resilience, and teach how games can be used for good. Over two seasons, the webseries is to feature information about mental health issues, including interviews with games industry figures who have lived experience of them. As part of the GDC Film Festival, a feature-length edition of the CheckPoint series, including unreleased footage, has been curated.
A ten-part documentary series on the people and culture of videogames, Outerlands takes viewers inside videogame preservation and history, from the basement of Ralph Baer, creator of the concept of videogame consoles, to the dedicated efforts of videogame preservationists. The GDC Film Festival will be screening a curated selection of episodes of Outerlands that have only been released to backers of their Kickstarter, and a premiere of work in progress work from an upcoming unreleased episode.
In Noclip’s most recent and celebrated documentary, the team travel to Amsterdam to talk to the team at Guerrilla about their epic journey bringing Horizon Zero Dawn to PlayStation 4. Including exclusive insight into the production process, never-before-seen prototypes of the game, and insight into the studio’s decision making process, “The Making of Horizon Zero Dawn” is a look into what it takes to make a successful AAA game in today’s unforgiving market. Danny O’Dwyer and Jeremy Jayne will be on hand for a Q&A and—to be confirmed—show work in progress from their next upcoming documentary.
Directed by Nicholas Dobkin
In the twilight years of the American arcade, one little-known game would forge a community unlike any other, and bring touch screens to an unsuspecting public a year before the first iPad, only to be abandoned by its developer without notice or explanation. Touching Sound is the story of DJMAX Technika, the first modern touchscreen arcade game, and the people it brought together.
Directed by Kurt Vincent
The Lost Arcade is the critically acclaimed documentary about the last hold out of old-school arcade culture in New York City. An intimate portrait of the passionate and exceptionally diverse community at the beloved Chinatown Fair, The Lost Arcade chronicles the evolution of arcades, while celebrating the camaraderie and history of a pop culture phenomenon.
Directed by Josh Tsui
Insert Coin is the story of one of the biggest videogame companies of the ‘90s: Midway Games. This
documentary chronicles the behind the scene stories of iconic games such as Mortal Kombat, SmashTV, and
NBA Jam, taking the audience through how the games were developed, who made them, and what happened
to the ragtag group of game developers who went from the back of a pinball factory to the forefront of the
video game universe, and is being presented as a special work in progress print.