Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Games on Film
Indie Game: The Movie directors
To coincide with the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition, Game Masters, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) has programmed a special series of film screenings designed for the gamer, creative and curious alike, which will run throughout the exhibition.
The Games On Film program leads with Game Masters' Choice; a compilation of films selected by some of the world's greatest game designers to share with audiences the cinema that inspired them and fuelled their artistic visions.
Commencing in July, Game Masters' Choice opens with the selections of acclaimed video game designers Hideo Kojima (JPN, METAL GEAR SOLID, 1998) and Tim Schafer (USA, Psychonauts, 2005, Brütal Legend, 2009). Hideo cites his inspirations as Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988) and Escape From New York (John Carpenter, 1981). Tim's selections follow with George Miller's iconic Australian film Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) and, consistent with his penchant for the genre, Heavy Metal (Gerald Potterton, 1981).
For the September program, Blizzard Entertainment's Executive Vice President of Game Design, Rob Padro (USA, World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo) selects two classic works of cinema offering the same giddy action that the game designers have built their empire on; Ridley Scott's epic battle film Gladiator (2000) and Russell Mulchay's fantasy Highlander (1986).
Australian game developer Firemint's Rob Murray (AUS, Flight Control, 2009) selected Luc Besson's visually arresting sci-fi adventure The Fifth Element (1997) and Warren Spector (USA, Disney's Epic Mikey, Deus Ex) cites Disney's 1959 animated Sleeping Beauty as having had such an impact on him that he became "hooked" on movies, fantasy and Disney characters.
Game Masters' Choice will continue throughout the exhibition with forthcoming cinematic selections from Blizzard (USA,World of Warcraft, 2004), Firemint (AUS, Flight Control, 2009) and Warren Spector (USA, Disney's Epic Mickey, 2010).
Screening this September is Indie Game: The Movie, a feature documentary exploring the trials and tribulations of independent game development. A New York Times Critic's Pick that screened at both the Sundance and SXSW Film Festivals, Indie Game: The Movie is described as "smart, involving" and "enlightening" (Los Angeles Times).
Featuring four developers, three games, and one ultimate goal - to express oneself through a video game - Indie Game: The Movie shines a light on the new breed of struggling independent artist: the independent game designer. Refusing to toil for major developers, these innovators independently conceive, design, and program their distinctly personal games in the hope that they, too, may find success.
First-time filmmaking duo Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky capture the emotional journey of these meticulously obsessive artists who devote their lives to their interactive art. After two years of painstaking work, designer Edmund McMillen and programmer Tommy Refenes await the release of their first major game for Xbox, Super Meat Boy-the adventures of a skinless boy in search of his girlfriend, who is made of bandages. At PAX, a major video-game expo, developer Phil Fish unveils his highly anticipated, four-years-in-the-making FEZ. Jonathan Blow considers beginning a new game after creating Braid, one of the highest-rated games of all time (on display in ACMI's Game Masters exhibition).
Also coming to ACMI this September is Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters, a feature-length documentary capturing the greatest world record Tetris players as they prepare for the Classic Tetris World Championship in LA. The film follows this group of disparate players who gather to compete for the title of Tetris Master - and for the illusive Max Out score.
The essence of Tetris is seemingly simple; to arrange seven different shaped blocks (known as Tetrominos) to form and clear horizontal bars, at an ever more frantic pace. Like Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers, almost everyone has played it at one time or another.
Using archival footage from the days of Thor Aackerlund's historic victory at the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, right up to the present day and Harry Hong's perfect Max Out score, this documentary expertly chronicles over two decades of Tetris Mastery.
Games On Film commences in July with Game Masters' Choice which runs until October. Special seasons of Indie Game: The Movie and Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters run throughout September. For more information, session times and to book, please visit: www.acmi.net.au
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