INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival where it won the award for best editing in the World Documentary Competition.
It’s the story of four struggling independent game designers, Phil Fish, Edmund McMillen, Tommy Refenes, and Johnathan Blow, and the three games, Fez, Super Meat Boy, and Braid, they fought tooth and nail to create.
It’s also the story of two independent filmmakers from Winnipeg,
Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky,
and how they’ve used the internet to bring their feature-length documentary to life in the digital age.
To begin with, Pajot and Swirsky turned to the crowdfunding site, Kickstarter, to raise funds for their film in 2010 (155% funded at $23,341) and again in 2011 (203% funded at $71,335).
Next, they had a limited theatrical release this spring in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Toronto, and Phoenix.
Coming soon, on June 12th, they have a three-pronged attack planned for their worldwide digital release, which includes streaming (or download) on three entirely different online platforms:
(2) Steam (an online game distributtion service)
(3) On their indiegamethemovie.com site powered by VHX (a platform to collect, share, and watch videos)
“The film, like many independent films before it, will be available on iTunes, but it’ll also be released by VHX as a direct DRM-free download — the second-ever project to be distributed by VHX, following their release of Aziz Ansari’s comedy special last April …
The story of how Indie Game ended up working with VHX couldn’t be more webby. Via the film’s extremely active Twitter account, the filmmakers mentioned they were looking for a distribution platform — instantly, Andy Baio (@waxpancake) connected the two … Only nine days after making contact, Indie Game‘s deal with VHX was solidified. “A new record for us, and a trend we hope will continue,” VHX co-founder Jamie Wilkinson said via email …
In addition to iTunes and VHX, Indie Game will also be distributed through Steam, Valve’s video game distribution platform. That’s right, a gaming platform. According to Swirsky, with the exception of a zombie film created by Valve employees several years ago, Indie Game is the first film to ever receive major release through the popular service.
However, the decision to work with Steam made sense for Swirsky and Pajot, because of the film’s deep connections with the independent gaming community. “From a pure distribution standpoint, we can not get any closer to our core audience that being listed side by side with the games that are featured in the film,” Swirsky said. “If you like and bought Super Meat Boy, Braid, World of Goo, etc, there’s a good chance you might be interested in the backstory behind those games, and games like them. Steam brings us to the core of our most relevant audience in a very unique way. It’s kind of amazing.”
The cost for streaming/downloading the film is $9.99 with a 10% discount for pre-orders on Steam. DVDs and Blu-Ray will also be available for purchase later this year.
It will be interesting to see which of the three digital platforms attracts the largest audience. Lucky for Pajot and Swirsky, they’re premiering on not just one, but three.