[Interview] StudioBento Reveals the Inspiration Behind Their New Documentary on Indie Gaming

GameLoading: Rise of the Indies takes a look at indie games and the community behind them

The world of video games is changing, due in large part to so many indie studios producing games that are constantly challenging and reconstructing the traditional structure of video games. 

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Anna Brady and Lester Francois (left), Australian filmakers who joined together to form StudioBento, were so intrigued by the indie video game industry that they decided to make a film about it. The documentary, called GameLoading: Rise of the Indies, is currently in the final days of its second Kickstarter, which is focused on raising money for post-production elements. 

I recently had the opportunity to interview Lester Francois about indie games and the process of filming GameLoading

Gamer/Filmmaker

Not only is Lester Francois a filmmaker, but he has also “been a gamer [his] whole life.” More specifically, “a traditional gamer obsessed with graphics and FPS.” He was drawn to indie video games because of “their creativity, innovation, and [he enjoyed] seeing these creatives risking so much to express themselves through their own creations.” 

The Indie Game Community

What does Francois enjoy most about the indie gaming industry?

LF: “…it’s not so much the games, because indie games come in so many different flavours, but the people behind the games that make the indie game community so appealing to us.”

He also enjoys how the industry allows developers to introduce creative ideas into the gaming world that have never been seen before.

LF: “I love indie games because of the innovation! I love Stanley Parable! There is so much going on in that game on so many levels! I love the short vignette games of Nina Freeman which explore sexual development. These are games that would never have been made fifteen years ago.”

Why a Documentary?

With their experience in film and television, it makes sense that Francois and his StudioBento partner, Anna Brady, would choose to talk about a topic they are passionate about through film.

However, they were also inspired to make a documentary in order to raise awareness about the indie game industry, particularly because of views on gaming in Melbourne, Australia, where Francois and Brady are from.

LF: “Back in 2011 the state-run funding body that assists film and game studios cut their funding for games. There was this perception that games were a childish pastime and the business of making games was irrelevant. At the same time, the TV show I worked on had zero respect for indie games, so I decided to make a short film to address these issues.” 

Francois began working on the documentary by interviewing local game studios in Australia; however, StudioBento soon decided to take an even larger look at the indie game industry. 

LF: “Most of the developers we were interviewing encouraged us to make the film international, they wanted to see the wider community and soon after my partner Anna joined me and we decided to take the plunge and make a bigger film.” 

A Documentary for Gamers and Non-Gamers

Of course, the subject matter of GameLoading will interest gamers, but Francois says they didn’t just make the film for people already familiar with gaming industry.

LF: “A few things inspired the film but mostly it was about trying to show a non-gamer audience the beauty, creativity, and relevance of indie games.” 

Francois and Brady also “want the audience to feel inspired and appreciate that there are people behind the games [they] play.”

LF: “There are choices made by creative developers who have spent a lot of time and devotion into making the games you are playing. To have the audience feel empowered, to go away and think about making their own games, would be great!” 

StudioBento’s current Kickstarter only has a few more days before it closes. To learn more about the GameLoading: Rise of the Indies documentary, or to help fund StudioBento’s post-production goals, you can check out their Kickstarter, here. 


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Author
Mary-Kate Wagamon
I love writing, videogames, books, and movies. I love stories, in any form.