Petri Luukkainen, Jesse Jokinen / Finland / 2023 / 80 min / World Premiere
He always comes in second in Counterstrike. But now 17-year-old Finnish super-gamer Verneri wants to be number one with the help of an e-sports psychologist. A shoot ’em up film about self-esteem, ambition and digital dreams.
Everything moves on 17-year-old Verneri’s Finnish body. His legs bounce, his fingers dance, his eyes squirm. His body is an extension of the avatar he moves around as in the computer game Counter Strike. Curled up in his gamer’s chair in front of the screen, his name is Bona and he is one of the best in Finland at shooting other players to pieces. He plays for one of the best teams in the country, but he has never managed to win a final. He is the perennial runner-up, freezes at key moments and ends up getting kicked off the team. Instead, he ends up captaining a fledgling, untested team and must scout new territory to avoid finishing second yet again. But with the help of a sports psychologist specializing in e-sports, things begin to look up for the young super-gamer, who teeters between giving up and giving it all he’s got.