Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival


The Gamer

Verneri ”Bona” Junkala was seven years old when he was first talked about as a future star of eSports. He played in his first professional tournament at just 14. Now, on the brink of adulthood, Junkala is determined to rise to the top of the sport. He has advanced to the finals several times but has always come second with his team. During the game, the goal is to reach a flow state, but until now, Junkala has always gotten tilted in the last stretch, according to his own words. He is now attempting to deal with this tilting with sports psychologist Mia Stellberg.

The Gamer takes us on a trip to the world of eSports, where the audience gets a rare chance to get inside the heads of the gamers. Most fascinating are the parts in which we follow Stellberg and Junkala’s therapy sessions. What can be done, when the greatest obstacles on the way of success are your own nerves?

The role of the coach is also vital. They try to make the young men understand that even though gaming through the nights fueled by energy drinks may have gotten them to the professional team, that method will not get them on any podium, at least the highest one. Following the tournaments, even mostly through the facial expressions of the players, offers plenty of suspense.

Santtu Nikula (translated by Inari Ylinen)

Directors Petri Luukkainen and Jesse Jokinen attend the screening of their film on Thu, Feb 1.

Original Title: Pelaaja
Language: Finnish
Subtitles: English
Length: 80 min
Age Limit: K7
Year: 2023
Production Country: Finland, Germany

Director: Petri Luukkainen, Jesse Jokinen
Producer: Liisa Karpo, Marianne Mäkelä
Production Company: napafilms oy
Distribution Company: napafilms oy
Screenplay: Petri Luukkainen, Jesse Jokinen, Jussi Sandhu
Editing: Jussi Sandhu
Cinematographer: Jesse Jokinen, Petri Luukkainen
Sound Design: Juho Luukkainen