Masters of Cinema Acquire Computer Chess
The groundbreaking, Alfred P. Sloan Prize-winning, and fiercely independent “artificially intelligent” comedy from Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation, Beeswax), which continues to collect raves on the festival circuit, is slated for a national UK theatrical release from Eureka! Entertainment and a home-video release as part of Eureka!’s The Masters of Cinema Series.
Eureka! Entertainment are thrilled to announce that they have acquired all UK/Eire rights to Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess, which had its debut in January at the Sundance Film Festival. Computer Chess is the fourth feature film from the brilliant and maverick American filmmaker Andrew Bujalski, whose previous works include Funny Ha Ha (the early ‘00s film that arguably kicked-off the so-called “mumblecore” movement of American independent cinema), Mutual Appreciation (an acclaimed comic portrait of love and longing in the milieu of the Brooklyn indie music scene), and Beeswax (which among its principals starred Alex Karpovsky, the indie filmmaker and actor who has gone on to great renown for his role in Lena Dunham’s cultural-phenomenon and hit TV series Girls). Prior to final completion of Computer Chess, Bujalski was awarded a Tribeca Film Institute Sloan grant in 2012. Directly following Bujalski’s newest and long-anticipated film’s Sundance premiere, Computer Chess was given the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Award, which honours a film based around the theme of science and/or technology. The film went on to have its International Premiere at the latest Berlin Film Festival, and will be presented as part of the distinguished BAMcinémafest this June in Brooklyn for its New York premiere, before moving on to a major UK festival debut in anticipation of a UK theatrical run coordinated by Eureka! Entertainment in late autumn, and an early-2014 Blu-ray and DVD release as part of the highly esteemed and awarded-winning Masters of Cinema Series.
A boldly intelligent ensemble comedy with a feel and atmosphere that surpass easy comparison, Computer Chess takes place in the early-1980s over the course of a weekend conference where a group of obsessive software programmers have convened to pit their latest refinements in machine-chess and the still-developing field of artificial intelligence (AI) against an assembly of human chess masters. Computer Chess is a portrait not only of the crazy and surreal relationships that come to pass between the abundance of characters who participate in the weekend event (and among whose ranks include Wiley Wiggins, the revered indie-game developer and star of Richard Linklater’s classic Dazed and Confused), but of the very era of early computing itself – and of the first, rudimentary video games – and (if that weren’t enough) of the hopes and insecurities that persisted through the film’s “retro” digital age into the present-day — that semi-virtual, hyper-social, maybe-kind-of-dehumanised landscape that, let’s face it, is our very own 2013. If that still weren’t enough: it’s also one of the wittiest, most shift-and-cringe-in-your-seat, and entirely LOL-hilarious movies of recent times.
“The UK has been great to me and my films in the past,” states Computer Chess director Andrew Bujalski, “and I couldn’t be more delighted to be bringing Computer Chess there with the (intimidatingly named!) Masters of Cinema Series. I hope that means that THEY’VE mastered cinema — I’m still, uh, working on that... And my education certainly wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t try to make at least one bizarre, left-field, mindbender movie — Computer Chess is that. I’m eager to get it to British audiences.”
Ron Benson, Managing Director of Eureka! Entertainment, comments: “Computer Chess is an audacious, poignant, and entertaining movie. It’s a rare film indeed that has the capability of appealing not only to general audiences, but to hardcore film buffs, to video-game enthusiasts, to chess mavens, to science lovers, to folk who are mesmerised by ‘retro’ design in all its forms — and to anyone who’s interested in how we collectively made our way from that earliest 1980s ‘digital era’ all the way up to the period of the iPhone and of the iPad. Audiences who took interest in the smash-hit retro-gaming documentary The King of Kong — not to mention anyone who has a warm place in their heart for Robert Altman’s classic ensemble film Nashville — will fall head-over-heels with Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess.”
Craig Keller, producer of The Masters of Cinema Series, remarks: “It’s an immense pleasure to be able to include Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess in The Masters of Cinema Series. With the astonishing series of films that Bujalski has directed over the last several years, this director has made his mark as one of the most consistently thrilling, most intelligent filmmakers in American cinema — okay, let’s just say world cinema taken as a whole, never mind as an ‘indie filmmaker’ or otherwise. Seeing Bujalski’s debut feature Funny Ha Ha was literally a life-changing experience for me, and he has not only consistently ‘delivered’ with each subsequent film but, from Mutual Appreciation to Beeswax, has exceeded, and checkmated, expectations. His work should be, and indeed of late has been, an inspiration to an entire generation of young filmmakers; it’s a body of work that sets the bar very high indeed for anyone, in any country, to aspire toward. Computer Chess, with its radical retro video aesthetic and wry rumination on digitality and where-we-are-today, marks another breakthrough. It’s an awesome film that’s sure to attain cult status and expose his vision to an even wider audience. It’s even farther-reaching, more ambitious, than everything he’s done before. And so I would have to say, simply and without hyperbole, that this is one of the most exciting releases we’ve had the honour of releasing.”
The Masters of Cinema Series producer Craig Keller and Eureka! Entertainment’s Managing Director Ron Benson negotiated the deal for the film with Andrew Herwitz, head of The Film Sales Company on behalf of the producers.
Computer Chess stars Patrick Riester, Myles Paige, James Curry, Robin Schwartz, Gerald Peary, and Wiley Wiggins. The film was produced by Houston King and Alex Lipschultz, and was directed by Andrew Bujalski.