Comics, heralded as a white heterosexual masculine medium, has in fact a diverse range of contributors, many of whom are women, non-white, and/or do not conform to the binary constructs of sexual or gender identity. However, such voices often go unrecognized or are demeaned in mainstream media. Moreover, the lack of equal economic opportunities for a wide range of creators stifles the output of our culturally diverse society, which in turn is reflected in negative or absent portrayals of women, queers, and people of color in the content of the medium itself.
The Ladydrawers documentary Comics Undressed is an ambitious project with the primary aim of addressing media justice in comics and popular culture. We intend to portray the underlying forms of discrimination that impact representations of women, queers, trans folk, non-binary gender people, and people of color. We seek to support a diversity of racial, gender, and sexual identities that make up our society as well as unveil the surprising economic injustices and cultural biases that occur. Our goal is to present a sincere heartfelt documentary that captures our love for comics while critiquing the structure of the comics industry. We intend to implement an experimental process to give form to our extensive original research that mirrors the comics themselves. Through a myriad of interviews with comics creators, readers, bloggers, vendors, fans, and the general public, we strive to foster a multiplicity of viewpoints in the comic-book world and our culture at large.
We are a loose Chicago-based collective called the Ladydrawers that does original research to uncover media injustice and the lived experiences of women, genderqueers, and people of color interested in comics and culture. The Ladydrawers do a monthly column on news website Truthout, and have published their work in Bitch, Annalemma, and Tin House. We achieved international acclaim with our 2011 postcard project and our 2012 road trip to deliver sex ed books to Rep. Todd Akin. Featured in the Chicago Reader, our most recent endeavor, SEX. MONEY. RACE. GENDER: The Ladydrawers (of Chicago, Ill.) is an exhibition and workshop series that opened on June 27th and will run until July 27th at the A+D Gallery in Chicago.
We put a great deal of effort into publicizing, and paying, underrepresented comics creators. This documentary will utilize statistical information gathered by the Ladydrawers and will become an extension of our comics work in hopes of spreading our findings through a medium accessible to an even larger audience. But in a way that the comics can't, it will also show the world against which comics are set -- the sometimes uncomfortable boob-heavy, bro-friendly faniverse that publishers -- and, increasingly, movie studios -- aim to keep happy.
Many of the interviews and the general production of the documentary will take place in the city of Chicago, a mecca for budding comics creators. In addition to one-on-one interviews with local creators in Chicago, the Ladydrawers documentary crew has attended a large scope of comics-related events, conventions and festivals such as the Chicago Zine Fest, Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), The Man of Steel movie midnight showing and The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE).
On our own we have managed to make it far into the production phase of the documentary. However, due to a lack of funding we now look to you to reach our goal to complete our film. All proceeds from this Kickstarter campaign will directly finance the rest of the production of this documentary and start the post-production cycle of this film. If we reach our goal, we will be able to:
- Buy/Rent equipment
- Cover transportation costs
- Attend more comics-related events
- Pay for the labor of the production team
- Purchase an original music score
- Create motion graphics
- Produce DVD copies of the documentary
Additionally, we will use a portion of the proceeds to pay for rewards of thanks to our generous donors.
Thank you so much for your interest in our documentary. We hope that even if you can not contribute to our campaign that you will help us by spreading the word. Please please please help us out by posting links of this Kickstarter page to your Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter.
Fran Syass (Director/Producer) is a Chicago-based experimental filmmaker and artist. A recent graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, his last film, False Morels, screened at the Gene Siskel Film Center. He is also a co-founder of the Chicago-based film group, Psychopomp Productions. He hopes to combine his interests in experimental filmic constructions with the reality conveyed through the production of a documentary. He started reading comics early in life, favoring thick compilations of Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and The Far Side over books that might ever give him a shred of literary credence. He was deeply dissatisfied by the recent adaption of the X-Men series and has two cats.
Lindsey Smith (Assistant Director/Producer) is a Texas born, Chicago-based animation and film student currently obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the creator of the ongoing pen-pal comics and animation series Letters and has worked as Directors Assistant on the experimental video Musing. A jack-of-all-trades and connoisseur of superheroes, her love of movies and comics has led her to supporting any creative outlet that combines both mediums.
Delia Jean (Interviewer) is a Chicago born cartoonist and storyteller. She is the creator of Station in Life Comics, a self-published series based on experiences in the food service industry. A Second City alum and a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Delia strives to abide by a philosophy of authenticity. Influences include Harvey Pekar, Ellen Forney and Lynda Barry.
Caitlin Mattia (Assistant Camera/Sound Mixer) is an experimental filmmaker and artist with a BFA from SAIC. She loves making things and is concerned with the responsibility that comes with creating, as everything we create is a form of communication. She wants that dialogue to better reflect our world, which has sometimes made consuming media a bit bittersweet. She spends a lot of time doodling while watching movies and cartoons and maybe talks to her cat too much.
All of our fabulous backer rewards were created and provided by artists who are affiliated with our artist collective Ladydrawers. To find out more about these various artists click here.
Many of them will be featured in our documentary and have participated in our most recent gallery exhibition SEX. MONEY. RACE. GENDER. The Ladydrawers (of Chicago, Ill.). In addition, a few of the rewards originate from our Truthout comic series found here.
*Update* Now everyone can get an exclusive digital copy of the finished film at the $35 reward level. Also at this level are the Comics Undressed postcard, private Ladydrawers Tumblr access, and a Thank You on our Facebook page.
Any backer who purchase any reward above the $35 level will also be getting a digital copy of the film as well.
Special Thanks To:
Anne Elizabeth Moore; Marlee Mendelson; Kirsten Miranda; Joshua Esmaneuel David Slater; Greg Stephen Reigh; Amanda Rachel Breslow; Jamie Davida Lee.
Risks and challenges
Documentary film-making is prone to scheduling, weather, transportation, equipment, and commitment conflicts. As filmmakers, we are not only flexible to any situation but also inventive in our solutions. The resulting film will be a feat to compile, but we are confidant in our skill and will complete the film by next spring.
With any project that attempts to comment on a popular medium and cultural product, we expect reluctance from people who are comfortable with the current state of comics. Nevertheless, the current system neglects many creative voices. With your support we will be able to foster appreciation for a wider range of creators, readers, and fans.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Will this film accurately represent or even portray people I identify with and/or groups I am a part of?
We are often asked if we will address the representation of specific ethnic, racial, religious, gender, sexual, class, age, and/or other identities in comics in our documentary. We are always looking to expand the types of people represented in this film. If you think your unique voice will not be adequately represented, we are always glad to arrange an interview with you, so you can address your concerns. The only constraint is that the interview will need to be conducted in the City of Chicago where we are based.
Moreover, you can help us by forwarding us any information that could help give awareness to your cause: from websites, blogs, to contacts to specific comic creators or comic aficionados.
The best way to contact us is to email us at email@example.com, or you can leave us a message on our Kickstarter, or send us a Tweet on our Twitter.
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