Wednesday, January 4, 2017

"The Surrounding Game" Is Almost Here!

The Surrounding Game

On the 21st of August, the official Twitter of the Surrounding Game movie producers announced that their movie which has been in the works since 2012 is finally complete! For me personally, this is very exciting. I've been so excited for this ever since they first announced that there was going to be a movie. I remember talking to my friend when I first heard about it and we were talking about how this could influence the publicity Go receives massively. Since then, of course, AlphaGo has come along and Go has received much more attention than anyone could ever imagine and I think that will only add to the success of this movie.

On my end, at least, the impact of AlphaGo has been very direct. Many friends know me as someone that plays a lot of Go and so when the Google Deepmind Challenge Match happened, a lot of people were contacting me and asking whether this was the same game. I'll leave the AlphaGo stories for another time though :)

In any case, the Surrounding Game is a very exciting piece of news for the Go community because of all the effects it can have. I know it will be a great movie as well as very educating on Go. This whole deal began in 2012 when the team was able to raise $25,000 on a KickStarter. After "four years, five months, and twenty one days," the team has been rewarded for all of it's hard work.

In terms of what's next, here's what they released on their KickStarter page:
The world premiere will be at a film festival TBD, and we’ll continue with regional premieres in early 2017. Once we complete our festival circuit, we’ll be able to ship the long-awaited DVDs and downloads to all of you who pre-ordered them, along with the remaining rewards - followed by releasing the film to the general public.
Will Lockhart
Cole Pruitt
I reached out to the fantastic directors/producers of the film Will Lockhart and Cole Pruitt. In speaking to Cole, I learned quite a bit about the film itself and everything that went into it.

Cole made a couple things pretty clear to me. He emphasized to a great degree that this was not an advertisement for the game of Go. To the contrary, his words, "this film is about bring something compelling, with a core viewership of Go players, to a larger world." He went on to explain that it's a "narrative, character-based documentary where we follow people and things happen in their lives." While it may very well bring more people to go, he said that it isn't their priority or intention to do so. Instead, their goal is to bring something great to a lot of people that will enjoy it and hopefully learn a lot about everything that goes into something like Go.

He also made it pretty clear to me that, though he had no filming experience before taking on this beautiful project, he's spent a lot of time with the team perfecting even the smallest detail. He tells me a little about finalizing the production. "You're about to call it done and realize that maybe the logo should be a couple pixels to the left and the title a couple to the right...maybe the brightness is too high here and too low there...this film really was a project and I'm excited to show it everyone who's invested their time into it."

Because of the nature of the documentary, they've chosen to first release it through film festivals in 2017. They are planning to premiere at film festivals in the spring, followed by wider release in the summer. As I get information, I'll keep y'all updated :)

Be sure to share this out to all that you think may be interested by this sort of thing! You can follow me on twitter @alireyns and feel free to contact me by email at alireyns@gmail.com. Thanks!

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