g The Film Panel Notetaker: SXSW - Second Skin - March 7, 2008

Saturday, March 08, 2008

SXSW - Second Skin - March 7, 2008

SXSW Film Conference & Festival
Second Skin
Spotlight Premiere
Friday, March 7, 2008
Austin Convention Center – 9pm

Director: Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza
Producer: Victor Pineiro Escoriaza
Producer: Peter Schieffelin BrawerCast: Andy Belford, Anthony Cronin, Matt Ellsworth, Chris Mitchell, Heather Cowan, Kevin Keel, Dan Bustard

Directly following the screening of the Zellner Bros.’ Goliath was a documentary by director Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza called Second Skin about computer gamers who participate in the virtual world known as Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs). Pineiro and crew were drenched with thundering applause as they entered the auditorium and introduced the film. Second Skin portrays a unique perspective of the lives of these gamers, who for the most part, spend much of their waking lives playing games such as Warcraft and Everquest. Some are married, some are single, some have met their soul mates by playing the games. The film explores the obsession behind this phenomena and how it can either bring people together with mutual interests as a community or adversely affect one’s life. There’s even a place for gaming addicts to go for support, a sort of 12-step program run by a woman who’s son was also addicted.

After the screening, Juan Carlos, Victor and Peter came out to answer questions from the audience. They were asked what inspired them to make their film. Victor answered that he played games such as Star Wars Galaxies and was transfixed by the experience of people interacting with each other from very long distances.

When asked how long it took to complete the film, Juan said it took approximately two years, 400 hours of footage and 900 pages of transcripts.

Asked if some of the computer companies whose games are represented in the film denied them rights to depict their games due to the fact the film confronts the issue of addiction, Juan said that Sony and Second Life were very cooperative, but the makers of World of Warcraft were hard to get a hold of.

One audience member asked if the filmmakers had any problems getting access to their subjects. Victor replied that so many of the people were very willing to share their stories. It was unbelievable and a miracle.

For the question, did your presence as filmmakers make the subjects look at their lives differently, Juan felt the best way to answer that was to bring the subjects in attendance who had only just seen the film for the first time themselves, out of the audience an up to the podium to answer the question. One of the gamers said that it coalesced things that were already there and forced some self-reflection. Another gamer said the film has been a testament to the Internet. The online experience can broaden one’s life. Juan concluded that their stories are specific and of everyday humans.

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