Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
The Dwarvenaut: Kickstarter, the Motion Picture
a documentary filmmaker would consider a Kickstarter campaign to be a logical
unifying dramatic focus for a film. In this case, Dungeons & Dragons scale model maker Stefan Pokorny was out to
raise $2 million to fund the prototypes of his modular, easily retailable
fantasy city models. Seriously, two million. Who does he think he is, Veronica
Mars? In between gamer conventioneering and his regular Dungeon Master stints,
Pokorny will record plenty of PBS pledge break-style pitches in Josh Bishop’s The Dwarvenaut (trailer here), which releases
today on VOD.
we go any further, let’s take a moment to remind everyone who sent Pokorny
money to fund his company’s product development we technically haven’t cured
cancer yet. Sure, the little stone houses and passageways of Valoria could save
who knows how many lives, but the friends and family of the estimated 1.6
million new cases that will be diagnosed and the 595,690 who will succumb to
the disease this year just might find cancer research a slightly more pressing
cause. Still, it is Pokorny’s backers’ money, so they have the right to spend
it how they wish. Presumably, his company Dwarven Forge has to make payroll, so
you can’t blame him for taking money from suckers.
viewers will get tired of hearing Pokorny talk obsessively about his latest
campaign to craft Valoria. Pokorny is an enthusiastic fellow, which could very
well be charming in person, but is absolutely wearying on-screen.
the film probably would have worked better if it placed Pokorny more broadly in
the context of role playing history. We see him attend Garry Con in Wisconsin,
but Bishop largely expects viewers to understand the RPG contributions of Garry
Gygax, for whom it is named. Of course, the awkward truth nobody in the film
ever addresses is the fact Paizo’s Pathfinder game eclipsed D&D as the most popular fantasy RPG
years ago and never looked back.
In person, Pokorny is probably a very nice guy
and an effective recruiter for D&D,
but after watching an hour of Dwarvenaut,
you will be rooting for an evil wizard to launch a hostile takeover of the
Dwarven Forge. The doc’s cringiness is quite surprising, especially considering
how charming Bishop’s first film was. That would be Made in Japan, the profile of Japanese country music recording
artist Tomi Fujiyama. Not recommended, The
Dwarvenaut launches today on VOD platforms.
Labels: Documentary, VOD