Film director Tyler Gooden announces today the production of the movie: Playing the Game is underway. The movie is executive produced by Harry Ewasiuk and Oge Bozyigit and begins with a short introductory prelude entitled “Secrets.” The feature length movie will follow soon after, and a graphic novel is in the works. Mister Gooden, a former visual effects artist and concept designer, has a long-standing relationship with this material. He spent nine years in Eastern Europe, and researched and began eveloping the story as early as 2002. The past year he’s been raising money and production has already begun. Told as a series through an innovative 2D animating style, Playing the Game offers a fresh perspective on a tale of mythic proportions.
Set in Ukraine during the height of World War 2, Playing the Game is inspired by the legendary true story of The FC Start Football Team. Starved by the brutal Stalinist regime, Josef Kordik recruits his friends into a bakery controlled by the German Nazis. There's only one way out of the merciless invasion of Ukraine: Pledge allegiance to Hitler and live on as traitors. In a city where no one can be trusted and allegiances shift with the wind, a game will now be staged behind closed doors. As the stakes rise and the future of their nation grows dim, the bakers know the only trophy in this game is loyalty.
But only extraordinary men would dare make the sacrifice they must make to reclaim the voice of their people.
“I am thrilled and honored to finally be putting the creation of this movie into motion, which has been a dream of mine for the past ten years,” Mister Gooden says. “The true events this story is based around are a testament to the highest ideals humanity can reach for: self sacrifice in order to restore the honor and voice of a repressed people, and ultimately, to courageously beat death at its own game.”
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the Euro 2012, and on the 70th anniversary of these true events, known legendarily as The Ukrainian Deathmatch. Mister Gooden’s approach to the story may surprise many. “Some people know the true story of FC Start, and it is extraordinary, but I’m not making a documentary here. This is an allegorical tale, a story that finds the poetry of these events, and seeks to reveal why they are important.”
The project will be told using 2D animation, motion capture technology, and a whole lot of willpower.
“It’s a painstaking process, and I am open to shooting this as live action, but most importantly, we must get this movie made. I am compelled 14 hours a day to make sure that happens. The story is too powerful to be neglected any longer. Currently, we have the animation capacities, so we are moving forward with those resources we have.” Mister Gooden is a soccer player and fan as well, and he often pulled from his love of the game as he was writing the story:
“Soccer is a sport that anyone can easily pick up and play. You need is a ball, some people, some makeshift goals, and you can start up a game. In the case of this movie, such an idea takes on another meaning for the characters. Devastation and betrayal causes them to take the pain of their entire lives as if it has been just a game played against them, and so the game then becomes the centerpiece from which they act.
Soccer was once that thing they lived for, but what they lived for soon becomes the only source of life. As soccer takes on a deeper meaning for the characters, we, too, start to realize, this is not just a game. There’s more at stake here, and so the game becomes a grand metaphor for the experience of being alive.
The emotions we see on the faces of players and fans in everyday life are infinitely deeper because the stakes are infinitely higher than any game ever played. My main characters realize this, and that’s why they courageously choose the course of action that they do.
FC Start hold a mirror to show their people the honor and strength they have forgotten. A vision of themselves they express through the one thing they can control. This is a vision FC Start believe in so deeply, they willingly choose to pay the ultimate price in order to make it real. It’s the story of the deepest loyalty, but told in a way you might not expect.”
Mister Gooden comes from a visual effects background and has worked with some of the most visually demanding filmmakers in recent history. His decade of experience living amongst Slavic cultures also give him an authentic perspective and capacity for the project unmatched by most Western filmmakers today.
Playing the Game is being independently produced through grass roots initiatives, personal funds, and will continue to seek investment, grants, distribution, and talent as the movie moves through the production stages.
“There’s still many roads and tremendous challenges ahead for the project, but I am committed and we are getting there. Even if things do not expand beyond my current resources, I will still have something for an audience this year, with more to follow. We’re building this one step at a time, and it starts with the fans and support of the community. This is a great time to get involved in something special.”
Fans of the project can follow the progress on Facebook at playingthegameofficial or on Twitter @PlayingtheGame.