Saturday, 23 October 2021

'Miniature Wargaming The Movie' - Whatever Happened?

One or two of you may remember a post from February this year which I called 'Why We Wargame'. The post had some interesting responses, but its inspiration was a documentary film called Miniature Wargaming - The Movie'.

I was fascinated by the concept of the film as soon as I learnt about it. Like many wargamers, my first reaction was - you must be joking. Closely followed by - I bet that will be a heap of crap. But I have learnt during this year that what resulted looks like a thoroughly professional, eye-catching film that really sets out to say something about the hobby. 

Fortunately, it wasn't the film a lot of gamers seemed to want - a history of the hobby along with details of how miniature wargames are played, a film that would have been of interest mostly to people who are already wargamers. Instead it seemed to focus on what the hobby (and by extension all hobbies) meant to people and how it affected their lives. We all spend a fair amount of time thinking about and participating in our hobby, so why not take a bit of time to think through why we do it?

The film clearly concentrated on British gamers and the British hobby. The main problem is, the film was released in 2019, won some awards, was released to the public in the U.S, but remains unreleased in this country. As far as I'm aware, the only Brits who have seen it are those who participated in the crowd-funding which got the film made.

From what I hear and have found online, the other surprising thing about the movie is how little real interest it seemed to generate amongst UK wargamers. Here was a professional movie that was worth watching, made about our hobby, and no one seemed to care much.

So I very much hope it will be released soon in this country. In fact, I emailed director Joe Piddington via the film's website to ask what was going on. He was kind enough to send a pretty full reply, and in short he is waiting on the film's distributor's in the UK to complete negotiations with people like Sky and Amazon - a process that is entirely beyond his control. Lockdown was apparently part of the problem, and reading between the lines I could sense Joe's frustration at the film remaining unavailable in the country of its birth. This exchange was in August, and Joe mentioned that the intention was to get the film out this year. Well, nothing yet. I can only say that as an ordinary punter it all feels a bit weird.

Anyway, my fingers remain crossed. It is sad that this film seems to have been forgotten in the UK before it even became available to watch. I hope the situation may be resolved soon, and I wish Joe all the luck in the world. Meanwhile, see this review on Little Wars TV for a bit more info and an interview with Joe.

'Til next time!


James Fisher said...

Thanks Keith. Due to this post I watched Greg's review and interview with Joseph and have gone from 'never likely to see' to 'definitely want to watch'. Now just need to have it available in Oz... His follow-up project is of particular interest too.
Regards, James

Neil said...

I watched it on Amazon; honestly got bored and never finished it. There were some interesting points about the individuals they were following; but as I mentioned, I never finished watching it. I’m in the USA by the way.

Stephen Severino said...

I haven't seen the film. The biggest reason for that is due to a couple of reviews of it that I've seen on various blogs/forums that said it was really a bit of a downer film, rather than a happy celebration of our hobby.

For example:

I usually ignore critics if I'm really interested in something, but that has put me off watching it. And if those comments are indeed true, then there's your answer as to why it never became more popular.

Keith Flint said...

Thanks for the link. The Little Wars interview has strong hints of a documentary maker learning his trade, and making mistakes along the way, which the Legatus review seems to confirm. Nevertheless, I look forward to watching the film at some stage (even if I do have to resort to an illegal download).

rross said...

I cant see this being "released" in the traditional sense, as in playing in actual cinemas all over the country, but if it turned up on Youtiube at some point, I would give it a watch. I have seen a couple of reviews, including the guy from LWTV, and they have not filled me with any great desire to see the film but as I say, if it took no great effort on my part, I would take a look at it.