SXSW Review: The Dwarvenaut

Score: B+

Director: Josh Bishop

Cast: Stefan Pokorny

Running Time: 84 Minutes

Rated: NR


Josh Bishop is back at SXSW this year with the unqiuely titled The Dwarvenaut, a documentary about creative genius and artistic sculptor Stefan Pokorny, a man obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons.


The film chronicles the life of Pokorny, following him as he works diligently at his own company, Dwarven Forge, as well as his thoughts and ideas that go into building intricate game sets and stories for D&D. However, his artistry doesn’t come without hiccups and roadblocks. Pokorny is no stranger to problem solving as he was adopted and virtually given away twice, ultimately settling in New York with his adopted parents. His upbringing is the foundation of his creative ventures as he credits his father, an architect, as someone who heavily influences him.


Bishop does a wonderful job letting Pokorny set the stage for The Dwarvenaut, allowing him to present information like he would in his modular game world, by narrating a comprehensive story and showing the ins and outs of the Dungeons and Dragons culture. Pokorny knows that face-to-face human interaction is on the decline and he’s doing everything in his power to bring back the camaraderie that is missing in the world. For some people technology is an isolator, for others it’s an igniter.


What culminates throughout The Dwarvenaut is the beautiful imagination and showmanship that percolates through Stefan Pokorny. This is evident in his intricate, handmaid game sets as well as his storytelling ability. With the help of Kickstarter Pokorny has been able to build worlds for Dungeons and Dragons gamers to loose themselves in. Yes it comes at a cost, as it’s an expensive task to undertake. But it speaks volumes that he has met all three of his campaign goals, showing the faith his backers have in his ability to craft unique worlds, enriched with creative storytelling.


While it’s apparent that Dungeons and Dragons is more than just a game, Pokomy understood the imaginative opportunity that it has created. The Dwarvenaut showcases what a little hard work can do, especially when it is in reference to your passion. With the right attitude it’s okay to dream big and build small.


About Matt Kerwin

Matt Kerwin

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