DevTalks: Solo Developer Stephen Ddungu Talks Amazing New ‘Sword of Symphony’

Stephen Ddungu recently took social media by storm for the work he showcased from his newest, independently developed JRPG video game called Sword of Symphony. Music is at the heart of Stephen’s personal journey but also the incredible indie project that first had thousands talking on TikTok.

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‘When I’m A Moth’ is Beautiful but Doesn’t Say Anything

Waking from a dream never felt so unfinished as it did when I reached the end credits of When I’m A Moth, an independent film directed by Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak, written by Cotler. It’s a film that on paper has all the markings of being an arthouse darling — a small cast, eerie poetic dream visuals, pontifications on choice and fate with a going nowhere protagonist and yet, as I rose from my seat afterwards, it felt as if I was remembering a half dream. Unable to finish the thought of what it wanted to be but fascinated by the parts I could remember.

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‘Language Lessons’ Is A Lesson To Behold

Two people from across different continents use webcams to build a beautiful friendship rooted in understanding each other, both linguistically and emotionally in Language Lessons. Natalie Morales directs, co-writes, and stars alongside Mark Duplass in a film that is both incredibly simple in production execution and completely captivating through its narrative and strong performances.

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DevTalks: Deana Galbraith and Barbara Sotolongo of Captilight Games Studio

The Nerds of Color loves us some indie games and our latest DevTalk is with a studio that looks to capture Japanese culture in organic and mesmerizing ways. Path of Kami by Captilight Games Studio is a heartwarming story about family, mortality, and culture. In it, you play as the spirit of a wolf, Kazeyo, who has passed away and sets off on an adventure to navigate trials of the Mortal World.

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DevTalks: Fabien Weibel, Indie Game Developer of ‘Haven Park’

Indie game development is a precious process, especially for Fabien Weibel. The animator and game developer took to focusing on his passion project during last year’s pandemic, and after pouring hundreds of ours into the making of it he finally released Haven Park this summer. We had the chance to catch up with Fabien to talk Haven Park and also his approach to creating the Animal Crossing-like game under the conditions of the pandemic.

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‘Nebulous Dark’ Can’t Time Travel Enough to Be a Strong Movie

A nightmare-fueled time-traveling plot unravels in Shahin Sean Solimon’s new film, Nebulous Dark, a sci-fi movie about the world’s last human man as he wakes from deep sleep to find the Earth has been conquered by aliens. This sounds pretty straight forward for a plot, but this is only how I could fully understand the film after watching it and reading the synopsis again. If you were to watch Nebulous Dark after only seeing the trailer, as I did, you would find an almost surreal, nihilist nightmare of a film that I can’t tell if it’s poorly edited and poorly written, or if it’s actively trying to attack the viewer on a subconscious level. What I was left with was an art piece that genuinely intrigues me and is unintentionally funny, by a film that takes itself incredibly seriously.

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Davionne Gooden is One of the Dopest Indie Developers You’ll Meet

As I prepped my Zoom background with a gorgeous wallpaper of She Dreams Elsewhere game art, I hadn’t really anticipated the kind of indie developer I’d be sitting down with. Oftentimes you’ll hear stories of conversations that turned sour because of personalities that couldn’t share the same room but the cameras turned on and Davionne Gooden and I were vibing.

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Indie Developers Thrive Despite Post-Pandemic Challenges

If this year’s E3 expo showed us anything it’s that indie game developers are built different. Throughout the span of the four day long event, viewers were shown dozens of new titles coming to consoles and PC, and many of those titles came from small studios turning passion projects into marketable content. Between this summer’s E3 and the 2021 Wholesome Direct, gamers saw first-hand the hard work put in by indie game development studios who were also coming off one of the most damaging events to the industry and globe as a whole.

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Flight School Studio’s ‘Stonefly’ is a Must-Play Indie Game

This week, the folks at Flight School Studios and MWM Interactive released their indie mech title, Stonefly. The adventure game is a chill yet wholly beautifully exploration of legacy, resource gathering and mech building, as players follow Annika Stonefly in her search for her father’s stolen rig. After a late-night excursion, Annika mistakenly leaves the garage door storing the mech wide open, leaving it victim to a theft that launches our main character on her journey through dangerous and captivating flora and fauna.

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Kickstart This: ‘I Will Make You Mine’

The world of cinema is replete with great trilogies. From George Lucas’ original Star Wars to Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic Godfather and modern classics like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy. Well, my friend Lynn Chen is adding to that list with her directorial debut, I Will Make You Mine, the third chapter in the saga of Surrogate Valentine. But she needs your help!

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Interview with Byron Yee, Filmmaker of The Aliens

Byron Yee, a first-time filmmaker, grew up in Oklahoma, moved to San Francisco to pursue stand up comedy, and later headed to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. Getting tired of waiting for Hollywood to create interesting roles for someone like him, Yee decided to write his own film. His new release, The Aliens, is a film about a UFO believer who must choose between the aliens above he has never seen or the mysterious guide who appears at his campsite week after week.

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Dwayne Perkins and Lynn Chen are Dying to Kill

The new horror film Dying to Kill, starring stand-up comedian Dwayne Perkins, will make its debut this Tuesday, December 13 on Hulu. On this week’s Hard NOC Life, Dwayne — who also co-wrote the film — is joined by his co-star Lynn Chen, as well as the film’s writer/producer Koji Steven Sakai, and writer/director Raymond C. Lai to talk about the process that went into making the film.

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‘Snakehead’ Filmmakers on the Search for Sister Sze

The filmmakers behind the upcoming independent movie Snakehead — director Evan Jackson Leong (Linsanity) and producer/actor Brian Yang (Hawaii Five-0) — join the show to talk about media representation, building community through crowdfunding, and the evolution of independent Asian American film.

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SPX’s Black Art Matters Panel is Online

Back in September, we tried to get you all hyped for the 21st annual Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD. One of the main reasons for that excitement was the (controversially named) “Black Art Matters” panel moderated by legendary cartoonist Keith Knight and featuring artists C. Spike Trotman, Whit Taylor, Ron Wimberly, and Darryl Ayo.

If you missed out on SPX this year, you can still see the panel in its entirety after the jump since the show organizers have just posted it online.

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Are You Ready for This Year’s Small Press Expo?

In less than 24 hours, the world’s best cartoonists and indie comics makers bring their talents to the DMV (that would be the DC-Maryland-Virginia area of the country, and not, alas, where you get your drivers’ license renewed) at the 21st annual Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD.

In addition to hosting esteemed guests like Noelle Stevenson, Scott McCloud, and C. Spike Trotman (among many others), SPX is also home to the Ignatz Awards and a venue for fans of the medium to support some of the hardest working artists in all of comics. After the cut, we’re going to highlight a few of the things we’re most excited to see this weekend.

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My Thoughts on Dope

[I wanted to write this reflection the weekend of its release. I decided that I needed a little more time because the film hit home in too many ways and I needed some space from it to get a better handle on how I wanted to approach it. This will not be a typical review, nor will it be an endorsement — despite my endorsing the film whole-heartedly. I have no idea what this is, but I needed to get it out.]

Hip-hop is fandom. While it may not be explicitly geek/nerd culture, it is fandom of the highest order. If anyone chooses to refute this, they aren’t being intellectually or culturally honest. Never has this connection been so blatantly displayed than in Rick Famuyiwa’s 2015 gem of a film, Dope. [I have a lot more to say about this. Watch this space in the next month or two]

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VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Meets Anime Booze-Em-Up

As a person who writes and likes to people-watch, bars fascinate me. People from all sorts of different backgrounds gather in one area to have a drink or five. As a fellow customer, I would only overhear bits and pieces of other people’s lives and it all sounded really interesting. I always wondered what it would be like to be a bartender, the gateway to our alcoholic pleasure. It’s common knowledge that bartenders have the most interesting stories since they get to see and hear about everyone’s lives (whether you wanted to or not). I always wanted to see how that would be like.

VA-11 HALL-A gives me that opportunity.

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