Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 7, 2012.

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A new documentary film about Go, the world's oldest and most compelling game - and the spread of its timeless beauty from East to West.

THE SURROUNDING GAME DOCUMENTARY

Hey everyone - we're Will Lockhart, Nik Gonzales, Cole Pruitt, David Glekel, and Colin Sonner, the film-making team for The Surrounding Game. We want to tell you more about this awesome project, and how you can get involved. Keep reading!

Will L, Cole, Nik, and David (clockwise from top)
Will L, Cole, Nik, and David (clockwise from top)

After 4000 Years, It's Time

Since its birth in ancient China, the game of Go has been a cultural treasure and lifelong passion for millions of people. But despite being the most compelling and fulfilling of all games, Go remains almost completely unknown in the West.

'The Surrounding Game' is a documentary to change that. By exploring the roots of Go in Asia and the intensity of international competition, we want to give a taste of the beauty of Go to everyone. From rules that a child can understand, to dazzling complexities too difficult for supercomputers that only the human mind can unravel, Go has potential to take the Western world by storm.

Whether you're new to Go, or have studied it for decades, the world's greatest game holds enough mystery for a hundred lifetimes. We passionately believe that the magic of Go deserves to be shared with everyone - but we need your help to make that goal a reality!

Strong Players room, Cotsen Open 2012
Strong Players room, Cotsen Open 2012

THE FILM

The five of us started filming for this project months ago with a passionate belief that everyone, of every ability and background, should know the fun and wisdom of Go. Since then, it's become an international project. In this feature-length documentary, we want to bring you the best of the best - the highest quality video, the most compelling stories, and a true appreciation for Go as an unique human endeavor!

Through the generous support of the Shanghai Ing Foundation and others in the world of Go, we're close to reaching our funding goal necessary for a project of this caliber. We're collecting exceptional footage around the world, from Gatineau, Quebec, to Shanghai, China, in broadcast-quality video and audio with state-of-the-art technology, but to put it all together and make a truly stellar film, we need a little more. And that's where you come in - by becoming a backer today, you can make this project happen!

Shooting in Shanghai, China
Shooting in Shanghai, China

We'll be working hand-in-hand with professional editors, distributors, and Go players, and committing thousands of hours to fulfilling our dream: a one-of-a-kind film capable of showing people the world of Go, something they've never seen before! We believe in this exceptional story about an exceptional game - but right now, your help is critical to getting The Surrounding Game off the ground and onto the silver screen!

Rewards

For us, the film is reward enough. But for YOU, our backers, we're ready to dole out some incredible stuff and experiences!

Besides our everlasting gratitude, and a chance to make a meaningful contribution to the spread of Go, backers can choose from a selection of unique rewards that we've assembled just for Kickstarter, some of which you won't be able to find anywhere else, including:

  • Go equipment signed by professional players committed to the success of the American pro system.
  • Tickets to the film premiere and release party, and a chance to bring the documentary to your town for a public screening
  • Access to behind-the-scenes footage and extended interviews not included on the DVD
  • Dinner with the crew, an interview for the film, and a private teaching game with an American professional contender
  • And much more!  Check the rewards list on the right side of the page for the details.

We hope you'll truly enjoy these rewards and the feeling of supporting a worthy project. Remember, unless the project successfully reaches its goal, no funding happens, so you can be sure that everything you pledge will go directly toward making this project a success.  International shipping is pretty expensive, so please add $8 to your donation if you are outside the US. 

An interview with Yang Jaeho, 9p, Secretary General of the Korean Baduk Association
An interview with Yang Jaeho, 9p, Secretary General of the Korean Baduk Association

Super bonus funding challenge

We are committed to bringing you a great film covering the birth of the American pro system, current international competition, and the richness of Go itself. But the world of Go includes so much more: the cultural history of the game from Medieval Japan, the techniques and mastery needed to make top-quality Go equipment, the ongoing challenge of supercomputer Go, and so much more. If we can raise an additional $10,000, we can share the most vivid and and complete picture of the world of Go, from culture, to geopolitics, to philosophy.

With this ambitious goal in mind, we're setting a bonus funding challenge: if we can raise $25,000, we can bring you the fullest perspective, one that does justice to the stories of rising teen stars, world champions, and those who play simply because they love the game. No matter what, we're committed to making an exceptional film, but if we can reach this additional funding challenge we can truly knock this out of the park.

To all of our backers, supporters, family and friends, thank you so much for making this possible!

Thanks everyone!
Thanks everyone!

Everything Else

Schedule

----- We're planning to film at the CANADIAN GO OPEN, the AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION TOURNAMENT, the US GO CONGRESS and FIRST INTERNATIONAL GO SYMPOSIUM, the ING FOUNDATION and GO SCHOOL, CHINESE and KOREAN tournaments, and much more in the coming year. Stay tuned for when we'll be in your area!

Media

Our website: www.surroundinggamemovie.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SurroundingGameMovie

Twitter: www.twitter.com/SurroundingGMov

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhaUpqZMjZM

We want to hear from you! Email us at: surroundinggame@gmail.com

Thanks and additional credits:

Cinematographers: Mary Rasmussen and Jon Sanford

Translators: Cherry Shen, Kim Myungwan, and Dr. Dong Hoon Lee

Voice-over: Will Mayner

Special thanks: Stephen Palazola, Kate Sanford, Geoff Sanford, Andy Okun, Keith Arnold, Kim Myungwan, Feng Yun Go School, Mingming 'Stephanie' Yin, Eric Cotsen

For helping make this project possible, our deep gratitude to Min Xiao, Amy Liu, and the Ing Foundation - and to all of our backers!

FAQ

  • We're so glad you asked! Go is the oldest game still played in its original form and remains one of the few strategy games where the top computers in the world can't compete against professional human players.

    Because the board is large and there are a large number of possible moves on every turn, 'brute force' computation is difficult and ineffective. Instead, players must rely on fundamental principles, aesthetic intuition, and humans' innate pattern-recognition ability. Good moves quickly surround territory and build influence, and build maximum efficiency for a player's stones. The player who surrounds the most territory and opposing stones is the winner. In addition, a nuanced and flexible handicapping system allows players of vastly different ability levels to compete on equal footing.

    To learn more about the game, check out our website at http://www.surroundinggamemovie.com, Sensei's Library (http://senseis.xmp.net/), or just let us know you're interested and we'd love to tell you more.

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  • As many as possible! Right now, we're planning on including English, Korean, and Chinese, but with translation and support from members of the international community, we can add many more: Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese... let us know if you can help!

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  • We're investing in two Canon 5D EOS mark iii cameras, a host of lenses, and the run-and-gun rigs and mounts needed to capture the action right as it happens.

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    Hey Guys, You can check out our list of rewards below. Please add $8 for international shipping if you are outside the US. Thank you!

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    [THE CONNECT] ---> Receive a postcard from China with heaps of our eternal gratitude. This is the easiest way for you to get on board!

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    103 backers

    [THE JUMP] ---> Download a copy of the documentary before its first screening, before anyone else! Plus, get access to exclusive updates and media during production, all for fifteen bucks.

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    155 backers

    [THE EXTEND] ---> A DVD copy of the documentary with extra interviews and footage - nice! We'll also ship you a small piece of history: a stone and game record from one of the first-ever American Go professional qualification tournament games. You choose black or white - double nice!

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    53 backers

    [THE HANE] At this level, you're really making this film happen, so we want to give you the Complete Surrounding Game Package: ---> Everything above (postcard | download | DVD | stone | game record), plus: have your DVD signed by the crew, and receive a color still from the making of the film, only available for Kickstarter backers like you! Each print will be a surprise, but we guarantee it'll be a good one.

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    5 backers Limited (3 left of 8)

    (NEW!) [THE TESUJI] ---> Invigorate your Go club with a set of our favorite Go problems, hand-picked to make your club stronger! We'll even send you a dozen copies for group study.

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    18 backers

    [THE DOUBLE HANE] ---> Everything above from [THE HANE] (Complete Surrounding Game Package), plus: get a second DVD and another Kickstarter-only still. On top of that, you'll wear around the Surrounding Game with a limited-edition t-shirt, to the envy of game players everywhere.

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    (NEW!) [THE CONGRESS CARE PACKAGE] Want to make this the best Go Congress ever? We're offering a deluxe experience with the Surrounding Game's Congress Care Package ---> You'll get the Surrounding Game T-shirt, a fan signed by the documentary team to combat the heat, plus we’ll bring coffee or tea and a black-and-white cookie to your table before each of your Midnight Madness games! Need that extra something to get you pumped up to play your best? You’ll get a pep-talk from AGA 8-dan Michael Chen before one of your US Open games.

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    46 backers

    [THE KEIMA] By pledging at this level, you deserve special recognition - and we want you to have it! ---> Everything above from [THE DOUBLE HANE] (Complete Surrounding Game Package | bonus DVD and still | t-shirt), plus: appear in the FILM CREDITS in a special thank-you to promoters of Go! Plus, starting at this level, you'll enjoy regular access to fresh sneak-peak footage, only hours after we record it. To cap it off, you can drink to the Surrounding Game with a limited-edition mug.

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    (NEW!) [THE KIFU] ---> One lucky backer will get to have their game featured in the movie! Send us a game record you're proud of, and we'll use it in the film for a game review, backdrop, or example game.

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    [THE APPROACH] ---> Everything above from [THE KEIMA] (Complete Surrounding Game Package w/ bonus DVD and still | film credit | swag), plus: a copy of Cho Hunhyun's 'Lectures on Go Techniques' or 'Lectures on the Opening', SIGNED by the legendary Go master himself. You can't even find these in a museum, so unless you ARE Cho Hunhyun, this is your chance!

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    [THE WEDGE] ---> Everything above from [THE KEIMA] (Complete Surrounding Game Package w/ bonus DVD and still | film credit | swag), plus: a phone call from both directors for your input and in-depth discussion on the film, and a private teaching game for you or a friend from Surrounding Game resident professional Stephanie Yin, 1p. If you want more about any aspect of the game or the film, we can't think of a better way to do it.

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    [THE CLAMP] ---> Everything above from [THE KEIMA] (Complete Surrounding Game Package w/ bonus DVD and still | film credit | swag), plus: a brand new 3/4 inch bamboo board, SIGNED by a member of the Korean professional delegation (Cho Hunhyun, Yang Jaeho, Yoo Changhyuk, Kim Hyo-jung) that was sent to the 2012 Cotsen Open to promote the new American Go pro system. These professionals are deeply dedicated to the growth of Go in the US, and we are extremely grateful for their - and your - support.

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    5 backers Limited (5 left of 10)

    [THE CAPTURE] Wow - with a pledge at this level, you are TRULY a wise and generous Go patron, and we're happy to treat you accordingly! ---> Everything above from [THE WEDGE] (Complete Package w/ bonuses, swag, and film credit | call directors | teaching game), plus: two tickets to the film premiere and release party, an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER credit with inclusion on IMDb.com, and the chance to feature in the documentary with an interview at a major American Go event in the next year.

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    [THE VITAL POINT] ---> Everything above from [THE CAPTURE] (Complete package w/ everything | call directors | teaching game | tickets | associate producer credit | interview), plus: lifetime membership and access to all American Collegiate Go Association events, and dinner with the crew and an American pro contender at the 2012 US Go Congress in Black Mountain, NC.

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    (NEW!) [THE GOBAN] A 2.5 inch mint-condition shin-kaya Go board SIGNED by the all-time legend Cho Hunhyun (also known as the God of War and the Emperor of Korean Go), shipped to you, anywhere in the world. Includes [THE KEIMA]

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    [THE ONLY MOVE] At this level, we'll bring the Surrounding Game movie and crew to YOU to start your own Go renaissance. ---> Everything above from [THE VITAL POINT] (Complete package w/ everything | call directors | teaching game | tickets | interview | membership | dinner), plus: an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER credit with inclusion on IMDb.com, twice as many tickets to the film premiere and release party, and we'll work with you to set up a screening of the documentary in your city - and meet you there! (continental US only)

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Funding period

- (25 days)