Hadouken! Rye High Grad Releases Street Fighter IV Documentary

If you thought the East Coast/West Coast rivalry was solely the territory of Biggie and Tupac, you’d be sadly mistaken. Although the late rappers made the beef famous, a Rye High School graduate is shedding new light on the feud as it relates to gamers.

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Published January 13, 2012 2:57 PM
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igotnextthumbIf you thought the East Coast/West Coast rivalry was solely the territory of Biggie and Tupac, you’d be sadly mistaken. Although the late rappers made the beef famous, a Rye High School graduate is shedding new light on the feud as it relates to gamers.

 

By Jim Byrne

 

If you thought the East Coast/West Coast rivalry was solely the territory of Biggie and Tupac, you’d be sadly mistaken. Although the late rappers made the beef famous, a Rye High School graduate is shedding new light on the feud as it relates to gamers.

 

gotnextIn “I Got Next”, Ian Cofino documents the real-life players of the fighting game community, which saw a resurgence with the release of “Street Fighter IV” in 2008. The film began as a senior project for Cofino in 2009 while studying at Purchase College, School of Art + Design. But what was originally intended as a short, 10- or 15-minute piece evolved into a feature-length, 97-minute documentary chronicling a year in the lives of the most prominent players.

 

“It turned out to be a two-and-a-half-year process,” said Cofino. “It was initially a motion graphics trailer about the street fighting community, but the filming stopped being informational and turned into a compelling story because the characters had such interesting things to say.”

 

Cofino continued to work on the film after graduation, writing, directing, and creating graphics, but entered a state of limbo in his search for the right avenue for distribution. In November, however, it was released on Hulu and became the most popular movie in just two days. The film follows Justin Wong, Ryan “gootecks” Gutierrez, Joe “iloveu” Ciaramelli, and Mike Ross through tournaments across the country, where East meets West in battles for supremacy.

 

Citing 2007’s cult documentary classic “The King of Kong: A Fist Full of Quarters” as an influence, Cofino pointed to the human interest factor of gaming, and the Street Fighter franchise in particular.

 

“It was always a part of childhood and effected you in different ways,” he said. “People lined up in arcades to battle, and friends visited each other at their homes to play the console versions.”

 

The 2005 RHS graduate is now out on the West Coast, working with Ross and “gootecks” on their crosscounter.tv project, which aims to grow the gaming community and help its players power up.

 

“I never expected to be where I am at this point,” admitted Cofino. “But, I’m very happy that I am. I was able to travel and meet people from all walks of life.”

 

Cofino says he’s “pretty good” at “Street Fighter IV”, but added that “good” is a relative term when it comes to the game. The most important thing about it, he said, is that the game brings people together.

 

“It’s about the group dynamic and experience – it’s the same thing as watching football with your friends.”

The film is accessible on Hulu from a link on IGotNextMovie.com.

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