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SDCC 2015: Video Interview with Daniel Junge and Kief Davidson, Directors of "A LEGO Brickumentary"

It's a LEGO world, we just live in it. With more video games, licensed products, and, of course, new toy sets released every month, LEGO continues to dominate toy culture like no other company. Directors Kief Davidson and Daniel Junge brought their film "A LEGO Brickumentary," about the global phenomenon, to Comic-Con this year and were kind enough to sit down with us for a video interview.

During this year's San Diego Comic-Con, the directors of "A LEGO Brickumentary" sat down for a brief interview the morning after the movie previewed for attendees. Below is an abbreviated transcription.

The documentary uses several acronyms including AFOL (Adult Fans of LEGO) and LUG (LEGO Users Group) or LEGO Ambassador Network. In the interview, director Kief Davidson mentions BroLug. If you're interested in learning more about First LEGO Leagues you can visit this website

What were you feelings about LEGO starting this movie and how did it change?

Kief Davidson: For me, starting this film re-energized my interest in LEGO. It encouraged me to not only pick up the brick for myself, but to really further engage with my child in a way that we hadn't before. Generally, we'd buy LEGO kits for our kid and he's play on his own. What the film did for me it encouraged me to build with him which is a very bonding experience.

And for you?

Daniel Junge: For me there was a sense of nostalgia going into film because LEGO was a big part of my childhood. In our animated segment, there's the classic space edition. Certainly for me that was a huge set for me as a kid. So I went in with a sense of nostalgia, but the making of the film gave me more of a sense of wonder with what's out there, how huge this community is and how diverse and how much stuff is being done which was really an eye-opener for me as a filmmaker, too.

I have two daughters. They're most engaged with the Friends set.  I am unabashedly a fan.

What surprised you most?

DJ: The filming was constant surprises. I think that whenever we thought we opened the last door, a new one would open. I mean the LEGO therapy, there's a section of the film that's showcasing how people are using LEGO in a therapeutic way. I had no idea about that. I knew about the first LEGO League, but I didn't know the depth of it.

KD: I was just blown away on a non-stop basis on the level of talent out there. Just every time we'd go to the convention we'd see something that would just out-do the last things. There are so many people, and adults, that are very passionate about building. That was actually a big surprise was just how big the adult fans of, the AFOLS are. How they've come together in a very bonding way and meet each other every year. A great community has formed around LEGO.

How is SDCC or a comic-con different from a Brick-con?

KD: More monsters here. It's a different thing. Comic-con started out with comic books and now the movie industry has infused itself in that. LEGO certainly has a good part in comic-con. Comic-con is its own beast. Brick-con is its own beast. It's LEGO; It's all LEGO.

DJ: Would you say though that there's a shared spirit? In this idea in creating your image and creating your own things or appropriating an image and maxing that out. There's a reason why there's an overlay between those two communities.

KD: When I was on the plane ride coming over here, the guy right behind me was having a conversation.  He was just talking about how once a year, this is what he looks forward to most, coming to Comic-Con, dressing up, seeing his friends, showing off his costume. It's a similar thing for LEGO people. This is something that's built up though out the year and people spend the entire year building up massive creations and they get to display themselves and their work.

What do you want people to take away from your movie?

DJ: I think we're already hearing what we couldn't have hoped for in our wildest dreams. Just as soon as people are walking out, this happened last night, half a dozen people said, "I want to build." They want to get their hands on LEGO right away. That just a testament to the joy that LEGO brings people. That's a real honor.

KD: Inspiring, encouraging families to build together.

Would you like to mention a few of the things you couldn't include?

KD: there's a chapter that I really hated cutting but it had to be done, LUGs, these LEGO User Groups around the country. Now there are these virtual LUGs. People are getting together online and building. We featured a virtual LUG of guys called BroLUG. They usually outdo themselves every year with some sort of post-apocalyptic nightmare scene. At different LEGO conventions. They did a cyberpunk city scene that I was just blown away by that. We followed that story and profiled some of the guys. It represented what LEGOs was becoming as a community, not just face-to-face, but online.

DJ: That was one of my favorite stories as well. It was a stand out. Having to cut our First LEGO League. There are LEGO Leagues all across the US. It's a big story. Ultimately it felt like it was its own film.

KD: It's a challenge to all those filmmakers out there to make a feature length doc on, because that's what should be done. It was just too big a story for our film. That's for someone else. It's just really been an honor and it's kind of scary to do this film because the responsibility is so large so I hope we done good.

Jana Monji

Jana Monji, made in San Diego, California, lost in Japan several times, has written about theater and movies for the LA Weekly, LA Times, and currently, and the Pasadena Weekly. Her short fiction has been published in the Asian American Literary Review.

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