It’s Not ‘Just a Game:’ It’s A Film, Too

Growing up, everyone has a favorite game. For childhood friends Charlie Biegalski and Wilder Troxell, their favorite memories did not stay “just a game”—they came to life on film.

The plot revolves around a group of kids playing a game of Nerf war and gives the audience a peek into the imaginations of the kids, who envision themselves playing Nerf as adults.   

“Anyone with a big imagination can really connect with this film,” said Troxell, who edited and directed the 70-minute film. “It’s not scary, it’s not violent and it’s really funny.”

In high school, Troxell and producer Biegalski created short films about adults playing Nerf. Years later, they decided to take the idea to the next level with a feature-length film.

“We’re just so fortunate that it all came together the way we wanted it to. We were lucky enough we got to do it in our eyes where we dreamt of it,” Biegalski said.

The process of making the film took a year to compile a strong cast dedicated enough to work for free and willing to handle the heavy physicality of the action-fantasy film.

The entire film was shot in Troxell’s childhood backyard in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where he and his brother built the tree houses and zip lines that bring the fantasy of the film to life. Every action shot was real, including the explosions that were made with gunpowder.

Bailey Fatool, the film’s villain, composed the score. Fatool said that he and Troxell traded musical ideas back and forth for about a month, going through the film scene-by-scene to find what would sound best.

“I used the snippets I made earlier that month and I put it into a more cohesive score so that it fit the entire film,” Fatool said.

Once the film was completed in January, Biegalski and Troxell began entering it into film festivals and took home ‘Best Picture’ at the Oceanside International Film Festival, a bronze award at the International Independent film festival and the Young Filmmakers award at the Jim Thorpe Film Festival.

The premiere of “It’s Just a Game” is Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Preus-Brandt Forum.

Rose Riehl