Thank You For Playing

( USA / 2015 )
When Ryan, a video game designer, learns that his young son Joel has cancer, he and his wife begin documenting their emotional journey in the form of an unusual and poetic video game. The result is a game called "That Dragon, Cancer" - an astoundingly honest and innovative work of art about the universal complexity of grief. Thank You For Playing follows Ryan and his family over two years, offering an intimate, revolutionary glimpse into how the fusion of art and technology - in this case, a video game - can document profound human experiences in the modern age.
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Formats: Digital Copy, DVD
Running Time: 80 min.
Theme: Author's POV, Children, Creative, Family, Health, Hybrid, Personal Story, Technology see all »
Language(s): English
Director(s): David Osit see all »
Producer(s): David Osit, Malika Zouhali-Worrall
Thank You For Playing


  • Press Kit
  • The result is at once a fascinating take on technological innovation and a stirring look at its ability to address personal experiences. It's a remarkable look at universal challenges through a distinctly 21st century filter.
  • The most important videogame movie ever made.
  • The film scores high marks for showing a father and mother’s unique paths of grief and transcendence. Highly recommended.
    Video Librarian
  • "Thank You for Playing’ Is a Heartfelt Meditation on Parenting, Cancer and Nonfiction Art
  • Some of the most heart-breaking moments at the Tribeca Festival. As an exploration of the human spirit, this film is indispensable.
  • "Thank You for Playing" is an elegant, heart-wrenching documentary statement that games are art.
    National Post
  • An intelligent, brave and authentic meditation on grief and the artistic process.
    The Upcoming

Academic Notes

  • Discussion Guide
    POV Community Engagement and Education Discussion Guide
  • Lesson Plan: More Than Just a Game
    In this lesson, students delve into common perceptions of video games and then explore how such games might have more substantive uses and impact beyond the traditional uses of gaming for enjoyment and competition.
  • Reading List
    Delve Deeper into Thank You For Playing.

    This list of fiction and
    nonfiction books, compiled
    by Sarah Burris of Bay
    County Public Library,
    provides a range of
    perspectives on the issues
    raised by the POV
    documentary Thank You For

Festival participation

  • Tribeca Film Festival 2015
  • Hot Docs 2015
  • Camden International Film Festival 2015
  • Festival do Rio 2015
  • Antenna Documentary Film Festival 2015
  • United Nations Association Film Festival 2015
  • San Fransisco Doc Stories 2015
  • St. Louis International Film Festival 2015
  • IDFA 2015
  • Tromso International Film Festival 2016
  • ZagrebDox 2016
  • One World 2016

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Additional Info

Production Company:
Distribution Company: Cinephil

  • Purchase the Video Game: THAT DRAGON CANCER

    Purchase the video game on which the film is based, “That Dragon, Cancer” for iPhone/iPad here, and for PC / Mac here.

    An immersive, narrative videogame that retells Joel Green’s 4-year fight against cancer through about two hours of poetic, imaginative gameplay that explores themes of faith, hope and love.

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Thank You For Playing

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