SXSW Film Preview: The Dungeon Masters
The film starts typically enough—a lot of fanatical D&D gamers at a convention full of dwarves, elves, wizards, and the occasional stormtrooper (btw, wtf?)—but soon Dungeon Masters takes us into an alternate dimension. Not the one with enchanted forests and nefarious mages, but these surprisingly open people's actual lives. By meeting their significant others, seeing them with their kids, hearing about their own childhoods, and watching their day-to-day struggles, it’s hard not to think that the obstacles they have had to overcome are the same ones that drive some people to become an alcoholic or a gang banger. They just handled it a bit differently.
Director Keven McAlester has an excellent sense of timing and pacing, keeping several narrative balls in the air as we bounce across the country repeatedly. And local lensman Lee Daniel’s images can sometimes be shockingly beautiful, speaking volumes even in transitional moments.
You probably won’t come out of this film thinking “I would look good dressed up as a centaur!” and you’ll probably still avoid LARPing for the rest of your life (they throw spells! Literally!). But looking at the world through the eyes of these intensely real people in their most vulnerable moments—they search for family, acceptance, and a real sense of accomplishment in a world that seems to offer them precious little—you start to see that these people aren’t weirdos or losers at all. They’re heroes too just, in a pretty nerdy way.
Clear your schedule and make sure to catch this one Monday, March 16th at 11:30 AM. Check the SxSW film schedule to see other screening times.