[SXSW 2023] TETRIS Executive Producer Maya Rogers and Producer Gillian Berrie Talk on the Red Carpet
Interview by Diego Andaluz
Launching at this year's edition of the SXSW Film Festival, Tetris hosted its world premiere and red carpet to much success, with reviews locking it in at 80% on Rotten Tomatoes and a promising streaming release on March 31st. Ahead of its theatrical release this Friday, disappointment media had the chance to attend the red carpet of the world premiere and talk with some of the supporting players in the release of Tetris itself.
As the current President and CEO of the Tetris corporation, executive producer Maya Rogers attended the carpet in support of the film, which tells the story of her father Henk Rogers’s quest to nab the publishing rights to Tetris. A young version of Maya Rogers is played in the film by Kanon Narumi, which Rogers calls “surreal.” When asked about her experience seeing her story told to the cinematic masses for the first time, ultimately, she says, “I forgot we were watching the Tetris movie because that story was so engaging. It was just touching to see that at the end of the day, it was a story about my family and about how Tetris touched so many people.”
However, none of the success of the film could have happened without one of the producers herself, Gillian Berrie. Attending the carpet, she explained that during the pandemic, the crew “were looking at places in Eastern Europe, London, Berlin, Tokyo, but couldn't figure out what to do because a lot of those locations still looked like they were going to be closed down.” Then, all it took was one call from Matthew Vaughn to ask for help shooting in Scotland. Her initial response? "Yeah, why not?" However, that started a fruitful collaboration on the film that landed it many of its shooting locations, and shaped it into the film that premiered that night.
Below, disappointment media readers can find the full interviews with Maya Rogers, CEO of the Tetris Corporation and executive producer of the film, and producer Gillian Berrie.
Gillian Berrie Talks Filming Tetris in Scotland
disappointment media: So obviously, there's more to this story than just the creation of Tetris. What drew you to telling this in a larger than life way?
Gillian Berrie: While I wasn't part of the initial development phase, I've been working with [director] Jon S. Baird, who's Scottish as well. During the pandemic, they were looking at places in Eastern Europe, London, Berlin, Tokyo, but couldn't figure out what to do because a lot of those locations still looked like they were going to be closed down. Matthew Vaughn then said "Gillian, we could make this film in Scotland," and I said "Yeah, why not?" and that's how I came on board. So I quickly started doing my research to see what parts of Scotland could pass as Russia, and we actually shot the whole thing there.
disappointment: Why do you think Scotland would make a great filming location in general?
Berrie: The infrastructure is so fantastic. The crews are wonderful, and everything is so close. You never have to wait an hour in traffic — maybe five minutes of traffic. It's got everything. It's the best.
Maya Rogers Talks the Cultural Impact of Tetris
disappointment: Maya, congratulations on the release of Tetris. What factors do you think made Tetris such a massive global cultural phenomenon?
Maya Rogers: I'm gonna say this: everybody wants to create. That's a basic human need and Tetris does that, so that's why Tetris is a perfect game.
disappointment: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I'm sure you're aware there's more to this story than just the creation of Tetris. Why do you think people should be excited to see this movie?
Rogers: It's a story about love. It's a story about friendship. It's a story about family, and about all cultures coming together. At the end of the day, we're all the same.
disappointment: So what was it like seeing the story that was yours told to the cinematic masses?
Rogers: It was just surreal. In fact, I forgot we were watching the Tetris movie because that story was so engaging. It was just touching to see that at the end of the day, it was a story about my family and about how Tetris touched so many people.
Tetris screened at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival, which ran March 10-18 in Austin, TX.