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The Institute

Directed by Spencer McCall

The Institute still

US, 2012, 92 min

To those dark horses with the spirit to look up and see... a recondite family awaits.

"Oddly engaging documentary about a counterculture alternate-reality game."

- San Francisco Chronicle

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By mixing canon with fact, McCall has managed to replicate the game's experience perfectly and has created an engaging film that is totally enticing and wonderfully frustrating.

Tiny Mix Tapes

The Institute challenges the viewer to figure out what's real and what's not.

The Rumpus

Mystery is part of the appeal.

Hollywood Reporter

A compelling portrait of an unhappy new millennium searching for something better.

Pacific Sun

Here was interactive entertainment that combined treasure hunts, geocaching, and Who killed Laura Palmer?–style sleuthing.

Seattle Weekly

Spencer McCall's ambitious documentary gives those who weren't part of that three-year production a chance to appreciate what they missed.

A record of the mad invention of the game's masterminds.

The Village Voice

Oddly engaging documentary about a counterculture alternate-reality game.

San Francisco Chronicle

A shadowy conversation-starter of a movie...

The Dissolve

Spencer McCall's film takes the shape of an amusing portrait of the times.

East Bay Express

To take part in the Jejune Institute's program is to become a major character in a primordial conflict of good and evil, truth and suppression, enlightenment and ignorance.

Washington Square News

...Cleverly challenges the audience to reconsider their own conclusions about the onscreen events.

Smells Like Screen Spirit

One of the most interesting and weirdly inspiring films I've seen.

Mission Mission

A ground-breaking social experiment.

Huffington Post

Play itself can be profound.

San Francisco Weekly

An intriguing continuation of the interactive mystery.

San Francisco Weekly (Feature)

The #1 film people will be talking about at Sundance.

La Weekly

Playfully subversive... Rarely have I felt so absorbed.

The Village Voice

A brilliantly constructed film... a remarkable feat. 5 Stars.

Mike Scott, The Times Picayune

…the documentary sometimes blurs the same lines in and out of reality; there were moments where I questioned whether the entire documentary was false, if the ARG, already a fictional story, was fictional altogether and nonexistent outside the framework of the film. It was fascinating in the way even a recounting of the ARG causes a viral unbalance of reality.

Film Threat

A must for performance-art students, latent Situationists, punks, hippies, radicals, cultural studies academics, the unconscionably bored, and any theater person who goes beyond Sam Shepard.

Portland Phoenix

Hull, his colleagues, their characters and the participants are constantly engaged in questions of engagement Ñ about being awake to mystery around you, about surrogate families, about the clarifying eustress that solving a puzzle provides.

Using a combination of interviews and film footage from the creators of the game and from participants, McCall puts together a wellspun story that takes viewers all the way down the rabbit hole.

Slug Magazine

When a player says, without much irony, Then the Sasquatch gave me the transcript, you know youÕre DEEP down the rabbit hole.

Interested in the Jejune Institute? It's Too Late

New York Times

New Film Documents the Enigma of The Jejune Institute

Wired Magazine

San Francisco's Baffling Jejune Institute Gets A Documentary

The Awl