THANK YOU FOR PLAYING
USA 80 MIN
When Ryan Green, a video game programmer, learns that his young son Joel has cancer, he and his wife begin documenting their emotional journey in the form of an unusually beautiful and poetic video game. THANK YOU FOR PLAYING follows Ryan and his family over two years through the creation of “That Dragon, Cancer” as it evolves from a cathartic exercise into a critically acclaimed work of art that sets the gaming industry abuzz. Lauded as "unimaginably intimate" by The New Yorker and "profoundly moving" by Indiewire, THANK YOU FOR PLAYING is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the ability of art and technology to document profound experiences in the modern age.
Documentary film director, editor and composer. His work has appeared on networks such as Arte, PBS, TLC, Al-Jazeera America and Channel4. David’s first feature documentary film BUILDING BABEL which he produced, directed, shot, edited and composed, was a recipient of ITVS Open Call funding, broadcast as the series premiere of PBS America Reframed in 2013, and played at film festivals worldwide, including True/False and DocNYC. David was co-producer, composer and sound recorder on WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL, which broadcast on PBS Global Voices in 2013 and premiered at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). David is an alumnus of the Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access Program and the True/False SWAMI program. He received his bachelorʼs degree at the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Michigan, and studied Refugee Law at the American University of Cairo. David is a recipient of the Anthony Rhodes Vice Presidential Scholarship and received his MFA in Social Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Award-winning director, producer and editor of British/Moroccan origin. She is one of the directors and the producer of CALL ME KUCHU (2012), a documentary that depicts the last year in the life of the first openly gay man in Uganda, David Kato. The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Teddy Award for Best Documentary and the Cinema Fairbindet Prize. It has since won 18 more awards, and was theatrically distributed in North America and Europe to critical acclaim, with a 98% “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Malika is a Chaz & Roger Ebert Directing Fellow and an alumnus of the Film Independent Documentary Lab, the Tribeca All Access program, the Firelight Producers Lab, and the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant. In 2012, Filmmaker Magazine named Malika one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Malika is a graduate of Cambridge University, and holds an M.A. in International Affairs from the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), where she studied with a full scholarship from the Entente Cordiale Scholarship Scheme. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, journalist Andy Greenberg.
- Tribeca Film Festival, USA 2015
- Hot Docs International Film Festival, Canada 2015
- Melbourne International Film Festival, Australia 2015
- EIDF - EBS International Documentary Festival in Seoul, South Korea 2015
- Rio Film Festival, Brazil 2015
- Antenna Documentary Film Festival, Australia 2015
- San Francisco Doc Stories, USA 2015
- IDFA in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2015
- Trømso International Film Festival, Norway 2016
- Screenshake, Belgium 2016
Ryan and Amy’s video game, “That Dragon, Cancer” comes at a time when video games and interactive media are emerging as a wildly innovative art form, even as society is questioning humans’ relationship with, and dependence on, technology. We are fascinated by this tension, which is why we set out to make this film.
From the moment we first heard about “That Dragon, Cancer”, we immediately wanted to know more about why Ryan and Amy had chosen a video game--a medium so often associated with explosions and violence--to convey one of the most emotional, personal and private experiences a family can go through. Once we saw for ourselves how many people were profoundly moved by the game, and how playing it often facilitated more, rather than less, social interaction, we were hooked and knew we had to keep following this story. The fact that a video game was capable of awakening this sort of empathy astounded us, and we soon realized that Ryan isn’t only a video game developer, he’s also an artist - and programming is his paintbrush.
Thank You For Playing explores the very personal experiences of a family dealing with cancer, and the beauty and hope that can be found in art, while also examining the age-old question of where the boundaries lie in representing difficult emotional experiences in art. Ultimately, we hope the film will challenge people to re-examine their own assumptions about bereavement, technology, video games, and art.
Let IT dok! 2016