by Jef Burnham
Coming to DVD August 25, 2009 from Liberation Entertainment.
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In the documentary Second Skin, filmmaker Juan Carlos Pineiro-Escoriaza takes audiences on a guided tour of the unexpectedly complicated work of online gaming. Surprisingly unbiased in his depiction of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft and Everquest, Pineiro-Escoriaza details the myriad of ways society has been affected by online gaming and leaves the audience to form their own opinion, which will invariably be a mixed one.
Pineiro-Escoriaza presents some who found happiness, love, friendship and purpose through online gaming; some who have been ruined; and yet others still who have turned playing games into a profitable, international business. There are as many moments of intense sadness over the state of our society. And just when you think you’ve got the whole thing pegged as something this world could probably do without, Pineiro-Escoriaza offers up the story of a man confined to a wheelchair who cannot even talk. For the first time in his life, thanks to MMOs, he has been given a voice and the ability to walk, jump and climb. And yet, workers in China are being exploited for the profit of businessmen who make them play these games to sell items to players worldwide. So how are we supposed to feel? Well, it’s a double-edged sword.
The DVD is packed with over 70 minutes of special features, including deleted, alternate and extended sequences with the film’s subjects and a series of Vlogs documenting the filmmakers’ experiences surrounding the film’s premiere at South by Southwest 2008 and their grassroots efforts to promote it. In addition, there is also a feature-length commentary with the filmmakers, and aspiring documentarians will want to stick around during the commentary over the credits to hear the top ten things the filmmakers learned during the production of Second Skin.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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