Staring at a screen for hours, practicing headshots and aspiring to be the best, and to eventually participate in competitions. For professional gamers, the hours spent behind a computer are like top sport.
Kaj van Staalduinen (25), known ingame as kajsk1ng, is a professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) player. Despite the fact that Kaj spends 30 to 40 hours a week on training, he is anything but your stereotypical gamer. He expressly chose not play full time, but have a normal life with gaming on the side. But what would happen if he were to get scouted, and given the opportunity to go international?
In this documentary we show Kaj going about his daily life, training with his team, and at two big Counter-Strike tournaments; the ESL Benelux Final 2016 at The Amsterdam Arena and the minor tournament Copenhagen Games, april 2017.
By telling the story of Kaj, Next level gives us a glimpse into the world of eSports, a world that is very often linked to addiction and several other prejudices. But those prejudices do not ring true for all professional gamers. For most of them gaming provides a community, a fulltime job, and the opportunity to participate in top-level sport.
We've decided to not tell the story of someone who is already an internationally famous gamer. What inspired us to make this film was the choice of Kaj to not turn gaming into a fulltime career but rather establish ballance between gaming and the other aspects of his life.
Our main character breaks with several of the stereotypes attached to gamers, like that all gamers are antisocial. Kaj has a normal job, a busy social life with gaming as a fantastic hobby, which just happens to provide some extra income. But if he got the chance to play fulltime and travel the world? Would he give up the life he has for that dream?
WHAT IS COUNTER-STRIKE?
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a populair five versus five online (first person) shooter. Through various tactics, the two teams try to eleminate each other, thus winning the round. CS:GO is one of the most played shooters of all times. Tournaments are held frequently throughout the entire world, and the prize money can be well over hundred thousand euro's.
For the finishing touches of Next Level, we could use some additional funds. The production of this documentary was not without costs, like the rental of equipment and travel expenses, and there are yet more monetary hurdles in front of us, like covering the registrtion fee at film festivals. We hope crowdfunding will help us cover the aforementioned expenses, so that with your help, we can give our documentary the care and attention it deserves.
For more information on this documentary or Kaj, visit our website: www.nextleveldocumentary.com
CAMPUSDOC FILM FESTIVAL 2017
The documentary Next Level will be released on the 18th of June 2017, during the CampusDoc Filmfestival at the Louis Hartlooper Complex in Utrecht