IFC Films

There will always be a special place in the OAKES studio for WORDPLAY as it was the first documentary that came through the doors in 2005. The film went on to have great success first premiering at the Sundance Film Festival and then showing in theaters across the nation becoming the 2nd highest grossing documentary of 2006 behind AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. The film features puzzle master and New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz and his annual crossword puzzle tournament in Stamford, Connecticut. The film follows five of the top contestents leading up to the event and along the way we meet famous puzzle heads like Bill Clinton, Jon Stewart, The Indigo Girls, and Ken Burns. The challenge of the graphics was to bring the typically solitary endeavor of solving a crossword puzzle onto the big screen. Using the gray pallette of the New York Times paper, words and clues come to life and enable the viewer to play along. Robert Ebert gave the film two thumbs up and said, "the film is made with a lot of style and visual ingenuity." Variety stated, "OAKES' titling and graphics design nevertheless devises ingenious visual strategies to illustrate the process of puzzle-solving, creating a play-along interactivity that audiences will find stimulating, if not intimidating. But for all the accolades WORDPLAY received, there was no sweeter moment when in 2008 The Simpsons decided to put their mark on the film with little Lisa Simpson. A true testament that WORDPLAY was officially sewed into the fabric of American culture.