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The roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons has been around since 1974, offering players a chance to create characters and adventure within a rich fantasy world of quests, wars, mysteries and more. For decades, this corner of nerd culture has been maligned and misunderstood, deemed a place where rejects pretend to be wizards. But a new movie set to make its debut at SXSW next week could turn the tables on the perception of this tabletop game.
Editor Andrew Matthews and cinematographer Katie Graham share a soft spot for misunderstood subcultures. The two previously collaborated on the niche-exploring documentaries Best Worst Movie, which delved into the popularity of the so bad it's good horror movie Troll 2, and American Scream, which investigated the growing trend of home haunts. (Read my rave review of the latter here.) But Matthews and Graham are traveling outside their comfort zone with their first narrative feature Zero Charisma. Check out the trailer and poster for their directorial debut below, courtesy of THR:
Zero Charisma centers on a painfully uncharismatic D&D enthusiastic named Scott (Sam Eidson). He's a metalhead with a job he hates at a crappy donut shop, living at his ailing grandmother's home. Scott's respite from the frustrations of his life comes Tuesday nights, when he and his friends roll d20s and battle! But Scott's routine is thrown into chaos when a hipster (Garrett Graham) joins their ranks and approaches the game with a flippant irony. While the setup might seem mocking to D&D and its devotees, I have faith in Matthews and Graham that something more compassionate and insightful will emerge from this directing duo's first feature.
Zero Charisma will make its world premiere in SXSW's Narrative Spotlight on March 11th.