Sitting around the table with friends or family playing a simple game of poker is not at all an uncommon pastime. In fact, it is a rarity one meets someone who does not know how to play poker, which was the simple point of Douglas Tirola’s new documentary, 4th Row Films’ “All In: The Poker Movie.”
In a recent interview with The Eastern Echo, Tirola explained the idea for the documentary came to him when he was on a flight from Los Angeles to New York, as he was hired to film the largest poker event in New York City. The plane he was on was showing the World Series of Poker, and he began to see that poker had made a huge comeback.
“I wanted to know how poker had this renaissance. I associated it with people on a Friday night or a community center, but it had become so mainstream,” he explained. “A lot of people I have met learned how to play with their grandparents or parents, I mean, I remember the first time I played poker.”
“I wanted to tell the story of one character,” he said.
However, he saw that poker has become about more than one person, because it is a part of our mainstream culture.
The film dives into the idea that poker is more than just an American pastime, but a way to live out an exciting lifestyle. After filming, they saw that it has become a way to chase the American dream, reinstate our freedom, take chances and make it big as a player.
According to the press release for the film, it is “The story of poker’s
renaissance over the past ten years, from a game once played only by grandparents and teenagers unable to get a date on Friday night to a nationally televised sport played by millions, on a weekly basis in casinos, basements and online.”
“If you play poker, it will feel like you are watching a film about yourself,” he explained. “It is energetic and fast paced, and it feels like a detective story. It is the definitive poker movie, but it’s done very casually.” Tirola also explained that the film covers themes of risk, people’s perception of the American dream and how we enjoy poker as a pastime.
On his hunt for answers about poker’s renaissance and history, Tirola was able to interview an impressive list of characters, ranging from a movie star to a Holocaust victim. Interviews included in the film/documentary are ones with Matt Damon (“Ocean’s Eleven”), Chris Moneymaker (a legend in the world of poker) and musician Kenny Rogers. They were also able to shoot events from underground games, illegal games and the World Series of Poker itself.
While the movie was filmed almost four years ago in 2009, its Video On Demand and iTunes release was this past Tuesday, April 24.
As for Tirola’s future projects, he explained that he has also begun shooting a documentary about bartenders and how it has also gone through a renaissance, becoming a full-time profession for a lot of people.
For those interested in viewing the documentary, visit iTunes.com or VOD.com. For more information on “All In: The Poker Movie,” visit imdb.com.
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