Friday, August 5, 2011

Evo / Street Fighter 4 documentaries

Evo was last weekend and I watched almost all Street Fighter 4 matches. Even though I hadn't played the game in quite a while, I found it very enjoyable to watch the tournament. The fighting game scene is very active, there are more fans than ever before and there are quite a few Evo/SF4/SF4-player-related documentaries that are either available or in the making. Let's have a look at some of them. You'll see that each of the movies listed here focuses on a different aspect of the community.

For each movie, I'll write a little summary (with links to where to watch or get the full movie) and then post a trailer as a preview.

"I got next" by Ian Cofino came out... uh... let's see... I think sometime in 2008 or 2009. Or, I should rather say that a SHORT CUT of the movie came out at that time. This "short cut" was available to watch and download for free on the website but it's not there any more (I still have it on my hard drive). This 45-minute-short-cut (pretty respectable length for a short-cut if you ask me :) is all I've seen, so I can only base my statements on that. I enjoyed it a lot. It gives an overview of the best and most famous players in the US and introduces the fighting game scene in general.
From the info on the website, it seems like the full-length-cut of the movie is going to come out soon, even though no precise date is mentioned. I'll keep an eye out for it.

"King of Chinatown" by Calvin Theobald / Psycho Crusher Productions came out a couple of weeks ago, I ordered the DVD and watched it today. This movie accompanies player Justin Wong and his manager (at the time) Isaiah "Triforce" Johnson on their road to success through several tournaments. This movie focuses on the manner that the business-side of things went over the years for these two. Justin Wong was being sponsored by Triforce's company, "Empire Arcadia". I don't want to spoil anything here, but let's just say that I found it very interesting to watch. You can kind of see things coming over the course of the movie and then they unfold at the end. :)

Then there's "Focus" by Steve Hwang, in which the filmmaker accompanies SF4-player Mike Ross during the year 2010. (FYI: Steve Hwang, Mike Ross and Ryan "Gootecks" Gutierrez produce CrossCounter TV together, a popular fighting-game show on YouTube)
I wrote about "Focus" in a previous post, so let me just copy/paste:
The movie follows Mike Ross throughout the year 2010. We learn about his childhood, how he got into videogames, how he developed a passion for Street Fighter and started to compete. At the same time, he also earned a college degree and still plans on using what he learned to do work besides playing SF4 competitively (producing CrossCounter TV, for example). Other than that, the documentary is about his passion for the game and his sense of competition. We see interviews with him, his friends and his family.
I found the movie was well done and interesting to watch.
It's available to watch for free here.

"Arcade - The last night at Chinatown Fair" by Kurt P. Vincent is currently in development. This one is less focused on fighting games specifically than the ones above and rather shows the arcade-scene in general. But still, I find it fits into the same category. From the movie's website: "Arcade is a feature documentary about New York's famed arcade Chinatown Fair. After nearly half a century of being open Chinatown Fair suddenly closed after receiving an unexpected eviction notice, echoing the fate of many small businesses in New York City. The arcade is yet another NYC landmark to be lost."
Scheduled for release in early 2012, the movie was funded through a project on, which I find a very cool idea. I'll check this movie out when it comes out.

Last but not least, we have "Evo: A documentary" by Joel Ortiz. I stumbled upon this one by pure coincidence in the comments on I have no other information about it than what's stated in its description on YouTube:
"This is the trailer to my first Documentary. The film will be completed and released in Fall 2012 after next year's EVO. The documentary follows a few players from towns that have non-existent communities as they travel to, and participate in EVO. After being completely overwhelmed by acceptance by the community they return home to train harder than ever before for their return in 2012."

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