Friday, July 17, 2009

Five years later, this is how it all started...

Inside EVOlution 2004 from ShankarFilms on Vimeo.

I believe my uprising has made me a perfect candidate to create a documentary about video games. Since my childhood days of playing Atari, to going to film school to learn the basic skills to help me express my vision thru a lens. It was my destiny to create Inside EVOlution 2004.

I always had the passion for filmmaking and videogames ever since I was young. As a child, my father worked for a TV station and I could always be found in the editing room watching him work, helping him select music and things like that. In the 80's I lived in Nicaragua, so my Grandmother (that lived in Miami), use to send me the latest Atari games and consoles. I remember having over 150 games and both Atari systems. Maaaan, who on here remembers the original Spider game for the Atari 2600?

Fast forward to early 2000's... On the East Coast, the fighting game community was blowing up with games like Marvel vs Capcom 2, CvS, the birth of descent American 3rd Strike gameplay, and the always loved old school SF'ers like Alpha & ST. For me it was Marvel 2 that was the greatest thing ever!! Even though I always played fighting games going as far back as SF2, it wasn't until Marvel 1 in the late 90's at my local arcade that I started to play fighting games competitively. At the time that MvC2 came out, I lived in Miami. After a few short months my growing interest in the fighting game community came That's when I started to hear names like Duc Do, and Clock Work... and this 15 year old Justin kid in NY that was amazing at the game!

My first tournament was the South Florida Challenge ran by Jason Wilson. Once I saw how tourneys were, I immediately became hooked. That year Marvel 2 was won by Arturo Sanchez, and Flow from Chicago got second. My friend James Sekator from Rhode Island got 3rd. It wasn't the games per-say, it was the people coming together and from all these different areas to compete and have fun for a couple days or so... It was me almost getting thrown into a pool at Alex's house for getting double perfected by Arturo in Alpha 3 that made me see how great this fighting game community is.

The following tournament I went to was the Orlando Domination tourney. This was the first time I traveled for a video game tournament. There I met what at the time I felt was the best Marvel player in the world... Duc Do. His MSP was out of hand, like nothing any of us had ever seen. I saw Duc perfect my boy Johan with his MSP, and this is back in the day when you didn't reset the machine and you actually saw a PERFECT on the screen. I realized that this thing was a lot bigger than I thought. How could Duc be so much further than us in the game?... That's when I first realized I wanted to document these moments on camera, and share them with everyone else. For the next few years I traveled and attended many tournaments in different states, some of them are: ECC in NJ, NEC in Philly, MWC in Chicago, and of course the very first EVO.

A couple of year's later I was 23 and at a point in my life when I felt stagnant working as a manager at my local movie theater. I needed a dramatic change and now was time, so I moved to NYC from Rhode Island to attend Film school. Once I graduated in the spring of 2004 I knew that I needed to return to the fighting game community and record all these great characters and ask them the questions I always wanted to ask as a "fan" of the community. One of the main first steps in creating the project is the funding. Since all I had done up until that point was my thesis short film, I had to come up with everything on my own. I wanted to make sure this project was done properly, so I invested my own money into it. At that time the East Coast community around my way wasn't playing as much, it was dying down. None of the people that I had gone to my first EVO with were going so I decided to not go as a gamer, but more so as a filmmaker documenting what was happening. I want to give a very special thanks to Jet Phi and Mike from NJ for letting me crash in their room that year! you guys were a life saver since I flew to LA not knowing anybody or where I was going, I was just glad to see a familiar face.

I shot over 10 hours of footage from the 3 days I was there. Most of the stuff was left in the cutting room floor. I started out making a documentary for the masses to step into a world they had never seen before. I wanted to try and have a balance so both hard core and casual gamers would enjoy the final product. I quickly realized that what I had originally envisioned for my documentary would have to be a longer and more in depth look into the fighting game community, and this wasn't the right time for that. I switched gears and started to capture more of the "things that me as a gamer" would want to see. I made this project for the gamer that couldn't attend EVO that year. This documentary had to be different from others. This massive fighting video game tournament, had to be told thru the actual gamers that compete. I stopped asking the "why do you play games?" type of questions... instead I let the character's speak out freely and let them create the moments. I didn't want anything to look forced or rehearsed. This approach gave me great moments like Cole talking shit about Daigo & Eddie Lee. Speaking some truth about "player's hanging from Justin's nuts"... Eddie and company setting up the "Eddie Lee Casino" only to be ripped off hours later by others and end up getting caught. B'More Chun getting the biggest laugh out of Eric and Isaac... it was these kind of moments that I always wanted to capture and now I had my chance to do so. I felt that I had done what I wanted to accomplish with my documentary, thanks to the actual community I was shooting.

Thank you very much, and enjoy the movie!

~Shankar Tablada


  1. This was a very enjoyable film. Thank you very much Shankar, you did a great job in putting this out. I've been a low key member of this community for some time now, and I'm familiar with all the players you interviewed, but have never gotten the chance to speak to them one-on-one. This film made it seem like we were having that type of interaction. Good luck and I look forward to seeing more from you in the future.

  2. Could you please put up a torrent with a higher quality version? There are some nasty deinterlacing artifacts in the movie on Vimeo. Also flash streaming is not everyone's cup of tea.