katrinaolson.ca - KO Review of The Dwarvenaut (CUFF 2016)

Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 02:30 PM

KO Review of The Dwarvenaut (CUFF 2016)

Review by Katrina Olson-Mottahed x CalgaryMovies.com

A KO Review by Emily Mody

The Dwarvenaut is a feature length documentary directed by Josh Bishop. This film follows Stefan Pokorny, artistic prodigy and dungeon master, while he promotes his multi-million dollar Kickstarter campaign for his company Dwarven Forge. I really enjoyed this film. I was a little unsure when it first started because, unless you have a good understanding of it, the game Dungeons and Dragons can seem a bit isolating for outsiders. As the story got going, though, it seemed to be more so about Stefan’s life than anything else. Stefan is so humbly endearing and interesting. We travel back in time with him while he discuses his tumultuous childhood. He talks about how his life journey led him to becoming an entrepreneur of a company that builds miniatures for Dungeons and Dragons table top games.

When I was a teen, I understood Dungeons and Dragons to be an obscure and mysterious game that mostly stereotypical nerds played in their basements for hours. Just recently, I was reintroduced to the game when my sister suggested I start streaming Critical Role on geekandsundry.com. This show is a live stream of eight voice actors who play Dungeons and Dragons once a week. I began to understand it very slowly and now have grown to love the characters as if they were my friends. I completely understand the appeal of the game now. It is about storytelling. The better the dungeon master, the better the game. It is very addictive and I can definitely understand how it would become an escape for people who need a break from reality. I suppose we can all relate to the need to escape in one way or another and this is what Stefan shows us through this film, the beauty of our humanness.

I actually have not seen many documentaries about artists in my life so I would say this film is unlike anything I have really ever seen before. The Dwarvenaut is definitely making me want to branch out though because the discussion of art is very fascinating to me. I was so interested to see the level of time, detail, and skill that goes into making miniatures. Considering the sculptures are so small I had assumed there would be less focus on small finishing details, but in actuality it was quite the opposite. Every piece has it’s own story and is beautiful on it’s own. Stefan is an artist in every sense of the word and it is really magical to watch.

If you have an interest in films about art or if you are also interested in Dungeons and Dragons you should definitely go and see The Dwarvenaut. Just to note, there are some scenes in the film that display nude sculptures and paintings that may be considered offensive to particularly sensitive viewers. The Dwarvenaut runs a total of 84 minutes. This film will be premiering internationally at the Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF). It will be playing on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 7:00 pm at the Globe Cinema.


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.