Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers thirty-some years ago, COMPUTER CHESS transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. We get to know the eccentric geniuses possessed of the vision to teach a metal box to defeat man, literally, at his own game, laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence as we know it and will come to know it in the future.
ANDREW BUJALSKI - Writer / Director / Editor
Andrew Bujalski has written and directed the films FUNNY HA HA, MUTUAL APPRECIATION and BEESWAX, all of which have appeared on New York Times critics' "Top Ten of the Year" lists. FUNNY HA HA was also identified by A.O. Scott as one of the Ten Most Influential Films of the '00s. Between duties to his own projects, Andrew has also worked as a screenwriter-for-hire and a teacher of film production at Boston University and the University of Texas. The Boston Globe describes him as "unerringly polite and somewhat disheveled."
PATRICK RIESTER – “Peter Bishton”
Patrick Riester is a lifelong resident of Austin, TX. After attending University of Texas to study film, he began working as an editor of documentaries and commercials for Beef and Pie Productions. Most recently, he was the assistant editor on the feature film MAN ON A MISSION: RICHARD GARRIOTT’S ROAD TO THE STARS. COMPUTER CHESS marks his acting debut.
WILEY WIGGINS – “Martin Beuscher”
Wiley Wiggins starred in director Richard Linklater's seminal films DAZED AND CONFUSED and WAKING LIFE, as well as Dia Sokol’s SORRY, THANKS. He currently operates an independent videogame design studio with COMPUTER CHESS co-star James Curry, where the two are creating the forthcoming iPad game THUNDERBEAM.
MYLES PAIGE – “Michael Papageorge”
Myles Paige first met Andrew Bujalski at Harvard University, where the two were students together. Though not a trained performer, Myles acted in Bujalski's FUNNY HA HA in the role of Dave. He currently lives in the San Juan Islands in Washington State where he works as a gardener and chocolatier.
ROBIN SCHWARTZ – “Shelly Flintic”
Robin Schwartz is an Austin-based editor, having cut both AMERICA’S PARKING LOT for director Jonny Mars as well as a season of A&E’s SHIPPING WARS. She is presently editing the forthcoming documentary THE GREAT INVISIBLE from director Margaret Brown. COMPUTER CHESS marks her acting debut.
GERALD PEARY – “Pat Henderson”
Gerald Peary is a film studies professor at Suffolk University, film critic for the Boston Phoenix, and programmer of the Boston University Cinematheque. He is the author of nine books on cinema, and the writer-director of the feature documentary, FOR THE LOVE OF MOVIES: THE STORY OF AMERICAN FILM CRITICISM. COMPUTER CHESS marks his acting debut.
GORDON KINDLMANN – “Tom Schoesser”
Gordon Kindlmann is an assistant professor in the Computation Institute and the Computer Science Department at the University of Chicago. His research in scientific visualization and image analysis is aimed at simplifying how scientists gain insights from their scanned imaging data. Recent projects include the Diderot language for parallel computing on tensor fields. COMPUTER CHESS marks his acting debut.
JAMES CURRY – “Les Carbray”
James Curry is a British born software developer who has made Austin, Texas his home for the past decade. He cut his teeth writing code for machines not far removed from those featured in COMPUTER CHESS, which marks his acting debut. At Karakasa Games he and co-star Wiley Wiggins are currently working on two forthcoming iPad apps: THUNDERBEAM and FRANKENFOODS.
JIM LEWIS – “John”
Jim Lewis is the author of three novels: Sister, Why the Tree Loves the Ax, and The King is Dead. His short stories have appeared in Granta, Tin House, and other magazines. He collaborated with Larry Clark on the story for the movie KIDS, and has contributed to artists’ monographs for numerous museums, among them the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. His essays and reportage, on topics ranging from art, literature, and design, to war, crime, and prison reform, have appeared in many publications, including GQ, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Slate. COMPUTER CHESS marks his acting debut.
CHRIS DOUBEK – “Dave”
Chris Doubek is one of Austin’s most prolific screen actors, having starred in Bryan Poyser’s LOVERS OF HATE and Paul Gordon’s THE HAPPY POET, along with appearances in A TEACHER, HARMONY & ME and SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME. As a stage performer, Chris was a member of the original Off-Broadway ensemble of Julie Taymor’s JUAN DARIEN, and won the B. Iden Payne Outstanding Cast Performance Award for his role in the southwest regional premiere of ART by Yasmin Reza.
CYNDI WILLIAMS – “Pauline”
Cyndi Williams is an Austin-based actor and writer. As the star of Kyle Henry’s ROOM, she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Actress, and won the Karen Morley Award for her performance. Other film work includes FOURPLAY, THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER, TEMPLE GRANDIN and the forthcoming SATURDAY MORNING MASSACRE. Cyndi’s stage plays have been performed in New York, Texas, and Louisiana. She is currently an acting company member at Austin Playhouse.
TISHUAN SCOTT – “Keneiloe”
Tishuan Scott is an actor, writer and director residing in Houston. In addition to receiving his M.F.A. in Acting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television, he has served as an at large board member of the Houston-Austin Local SAG-AFTRA guild, along with chairing its commercials wages and working conditions committee. Tishuan plays the lead role in Chris Eska's forthcoming film THE RETRIEVAL.
HOUSTON KING – Producer
Houston King has distributed and sold all three of Andrew Bujalski’s prior features, as well as producing the films GODSPEED, THE TRIP and BEESWAX. In addition, he has licensed and managed the theatrical distribution of numerous other feature films. Before entering the movie business, Houston worked in international corporate finance for Lehman Brothers and ING Barings.
ALEX LIPSCHULTZ – Producer
Alex Lipschultz first began working with Andrew Bujalski on MUTUAL APPRECIATION, assisting with the movie’s marketing and home video efforts. He has since served as executive producer on the television series UP TO SPEED for Hulu and director Richard Linklater, as well as production supervisor for the Austin unit of Catherine Hardwicke’s upcoming feature film PLUSH. Alex studied film at Boston University's College of Communication.
MATTHIAS GRUNSKY – Director of Photography
Matthias Grunsky has worked with Andrew Bujalski for over a decade, having served as cinematographer on all of his feature films. Other credits as cinematographer include Grace Lee’s AMERICAN ZOMBIE, Joe Swanberg’s NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS and Dia Sokol’s SORRY, THANKS. He is a member of the German Society of Cinematographers, bvk and a graduate of the American Film Institute.
MICHAEL BRICKER – Production Designer
Michael Bricker’s most recent credits include BLUE POTATO, Bryan Poyser's THE BOUNCEBACK and Robbie Pickering’s NATURAL SELECTION - winner of the 2011 SXSW Grand Jury Prize. Additionally, Michael is the co-founder and chief innovator of PEOPLE FOR URBAN PROGRESS, an Indianapolis-based non-profit and urban design do-tank. Michael earned his Master in Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught production design at the University of Texas Film Institute.
COLIN WILKES – Costume Designer
Colin Wilkes is a graduate in Costume Design from CalArts, where she costumed for Theater, Opera and Puppetry. Beginning her film work designing Robbie Pickering’s NATURAL SELECTION she continued onto design costumes for features like Kim Henkel's BONEBOYS. Colin currently costumes and lives in New Orleans.
COMPUTER CHESS was made possible
through the generous donations of:
Andrew & Brooke Finnigan
Rodrigo de Mendoza
Leslie and Steve Lipschultz
John Von Thaden
Little Todd Rohal
Laura Jungman Clough
Brad T Gottfred
Adam Bhala Lough
Lisa Glucksman Brenner
Frank V. Ross
Debbie & Babo
Steven J. Turner
Ryan Harper Gray
The Feltoon Family
Lorraine Brenner Kulok