by Cressida Greening
August 2nd, 2011

Last Saturday Rooftop screened an excerpt from the film Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, as part of our Kill Screen Videogame Film Festival. The documentary seeks to tell the story of Notch and the others at Mojang, the creators of the gaming phenomenon of Minecraft. Having recently reached their goal on Kickstarter, 2Player Productions are currently in process of turning these excerpts into a feature documentary… we’re very excited to see the final result (scroll down to see the first of two excerpts which are currently available). Before the screening we had the chance to speak to Paul Owens of 2Player Productions about the film itself as well as about his views on the future of Minecraft and gaming culture itself.

Rooftop Films: What initially made you want to make a documentary about the people and the story behind Minecraft?

Paul Owens: We’d always talked about wanting to do a feature length documentary about the making of a video game.  It seemed like something no one had really been able to accomplish before.

When we first started to research Minecraft, it was pretty evident that there were a lot of interesting aspects to the game itself, but there was also a very human story going on behind the scenes with the creation of the game and all the people it has touched.

RF: What do you think it is about Minecraft which has made it so popular and which has allowed it to evolve into such a cultural phenomenon?

PO: Not sure yet.  Can I answer this once the movie’s done?  I mean… there’s no question that Minecraft has deserved all the attention it’s gotten.  It is a rare, revolutionary kind of video game.  But it’s popularity can mostly be traced back to youtube I think and people sharing what they’ve created and explored within the game.  There was all this social network infrastructure in place and then Minecraft came along and took perfect advantage of it.  It’s a game really of this moment in time.

RF: Minecraft: The Story of Mojang is being shown as part of our Kill Screen series, as we look at the role of video games in modern popular culture. How significant do you feel the impact of video games has been on culture in recent years? How do you see video games evolving in the future?

PO: It’s hard for me to say because i’m knee deep in gaming culture most of the time so while I can see all these new ideas and experiments popping up, I’m never exactly sure how much the general public picks up on it.  I guess I need to get out more…. but it does feel like an exciting time for games and game culture to me.  It does feel like we’re on the cusp of some really great discovery that’s going to bring things into focus.

We’ve talked to a lot of people about the future of video games and everyone has a different opinion, but I’d like to hope that the future will be something no one has ever thought of or expected.  Should be fun to see how things play out…

RF: We will only be showing an excerpt of what you are planning to make into a feature length documentary. What would you ultimately hope to be able to do with the film?

PO: I really just want as many people to see the film as possible.  Not just gamers either… it’d be good to get some moms taking notice of it in some way.  I’d like to challenge people’s assumptions of what games are and what they can be.  I feel like that can only be good for the future of video games.


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  1. Sam says:

    Where can you see the film?

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.


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