Filmmaker Documenting Online Nastiness Doesn't Plan to Feed the Trolls

The filmmaker preparing a documentary about the notoriously rancid and abusive behavior in online gaming says she's not really interested in having a dialogue with the trolls. Her project aims to make their conduct morally taboo, if not stigmatized in mainstream society.

GTFO, by Shannon Sun-Higginson, concentrates on the abuse directed at female gamers, where sites like Fat, Ugly or Slutty, or Not in the Kitchen Anymore, have done a solid job so far cataloguing the invective directed at women online. Asked if her project, currently about halfway toward a $20,000 funding goal on Kickstarter, intended to reach out to the perpetrators of this abuse for their side of the story, Sun-Higginson said not really.

"I don't think the goal of this is, and I don't think it would be even possible to open a dialogue necessarily with the people who are doing this," she told GamesIndustry.biz today.

Though Sun-Higginson said she's already gotten a taste of the blowback thrown Anita Sarkeesian's way for her Kickstarter film, Tropes vs. Women in Games, Sun-Higginson's project is different—it's not about the depiction of women in games, it's about sexist behavior against women who play them. And Sun-Higginson makes no pretense to be a gamer, either. She calls herself an outsider to the culture.

"I didn't think there was still an industry that in 2013 everyone was just fine with being really really sexist," she told GI.biz, though softening that remark later by saying the business gets that rep from "a very vocal minority."

Sun-Higginson has already been gathering footage and doing reporting for her project, having visited PAX East and a Major League Gaming event to talk to gamers there about this problem. Her financing is meant to pay for travel, shooting and crew expenses, post production, licensing rights for game footage and music, and then to submit her work to film festivals.

GTFO: Don't Film the Trolls [GamesIndustry.biz]