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The ancient game of Go is the most complex and elegant game ever discovered. Though the rules are simple enough to teach a child, the complexity that emerges has inspired millennia of study. For three thousand years, master players in East Asia have handed down the game as an art form to foster patience, creativity, and self-reflection. Today in the elite world of the pros, international tournaments offer hundred-thousand dollar prize purses, and top matches are broadcast on 24-hour "Go TV" to millions of fans in China, Korea, and Japan. But in the West, most people have never even heard of the game… until now.

THE SURROUNDING GAME follows the lives of three young Americans vying to become the first-ever Western professional players. Quirky, cerebral, and disillusioned with conventional views of success, they represent a new generation of players, on the doorstep of adulthood. As the competition intensifies and intricate patterns spill out across the board, the line between reality and imagination starts to blur. Their thoughts turn to anxieties about the future, and lead them on a journey through the game’s ancient past to ask what it means to live a meaningful life. Through an intimate portrait of these young players and interviews with the greatest Go masters of all time, the film explores the search for meaning that Go represents to its players, for whom the game is a distillation of consciousness itself.
The Team
Will Lockhart
Will is a longtime member of the American Go community and a 5-dan master player, whose ideas for a documentary got the project started. He founded the Brown University Go club in 2010 and worked as a post-production assistant on the HBO pilot CODES OF CONDUCT, edited by Jay Rabinowitz and directed by Steve McQueen. Will is currently a graduate student in physics at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ.
Cole D. Pruitt
Cole met Will at Brown University and co-founded the American Collegiate Go Association in 2012. When he’s not working on the film, Cole is a PhD candidate in nuclear chemistry at Washington University in St Louis. His science outreach work includes “Where Did We Come From?”, animated by Jorge Cham of PhD Comics.
Kate Sanford
Kate is a feature film and episodic television editor serving as a producer and post-production supervisor. Her work includes HBO’s BOARDWALK EMPIRE and all five seasons of THE WIRE, for which she received an ACE award. Among her other credits are the films AMERICAN BUFFALO and OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE, the miniseries SHOW ME A HERO (HBO), and television episodes of THE DEUCE (HBO) and SEX AND THE CITY (HBO).
Richard Miron
Richard assistant-edited the feature documentary LIFE, ANIMATED (Academy Award Nominee, 2017), as well as ART AND CRAFT (Academy Award Shortlist, 2015). He received his B.A. in Art from Yale University. Richard is currently directing his first feature documentary, FOR THE BIRDS, and lives in Brooklyn. For more of his work, check out richardmiron.com.
Xiangjun Shi
Shixie (Xiangjun Shi) is an award-winning animator based in Austin. She has a deep interest in physics and science communication, and is an expert at nimble, minimalistic expressions. She graduated in 2013 with B.A. in Physics from Brown University and B.F.A. in Film/Animation/Video from Rhode Island School of Design. For more of her work, check out shixie.org.
Colin Sonner
Director of Photography
A veteran filmmaker from Brooklyn, Colin joined as DP in June 2013. His work spans narrative, commercial, and documentary film in dozens of states and several countries. Colin recently directed his own short film, MY FATHER'S PRISONERS (2016). See more of his work at colinsonner.com.
Jon Natchez
A multi-instrumentalist specializing in woodwinds and brass, Jon has lent his talents to dozens of bands in the studio and on the road, including Beirut, The Antlers, Okkervil River, Bishop Allen and Camera Obscura. In the film world, Jon is known for his work on The Skeleton Twins (2014), Paper Man (2009) and The Ten (2007). Jon lives in Chicago, IL.
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