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A love letter to Claudia Kishi, the iconic character who inspired a generation of Asian American women and creators of color.
A love letter to Claudia Kishi, the iconic character who inspired a generation of Asian American women and creators of color.
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356 backers pledged $17,441 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$17,441

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This documentary explores the legacy of Claudia Kishi, the iconic character from the hit Baby-Sitters Club books—and one of the only Asian Americans in 80s and 90s popular culture. Claudia inspired a generation of young readers of color, many of whom are now successful writers and artists creating stories of their own.  

STORY

Claudia Kishi is an eighth grader who loves art, elaborate DIY outfits, and her grandmother Mimi. She’s a terrible speller, but an avid reader of mystery books. She hides junk food around her room because her parents don’t approve. She’s also Japanese American.

For many Asian American women—and other women of color—who grew up in the 80s and 90s, Claudia was the first time they saw themselves represented in popular culture. A main character in Ann M. Martin’s best-selling series The Baby-Sitters Club (BSC), she was one of the only Asian Americans in popular media when the books debuted in 1986.

Not only was Claudia a rare Asian American protagonist, but she also defied stereotypical portrayals of Asian and nonwhite characters: She was creative, fashionable, popular, and (gasp!) bad at school. For young readers of color who craved seeing themselves in the media they consumed—not as distant historical figures, exotic outsiders, or diversity lessons, but as fully realized human beings—Claudia was a revelation.

As a blossoming artist, Claudia was an especially meaningful role model for creatively inclined readers—many of whom are now producing groundbreaking and inclusive stories of their own. The Claudia Kishi Club will feature interviews with fans including YA authors C.B. Lee and Sarah Kuhn; comic artist Yumi Sakugawa; and Angry Asian Man founder Phil Yu. We also interview Naia Cucukov, the producer who is currently adapting the books for a new live-action TV series.

REWARDS

We have some amazing rewards that we are super excited to share with you! Our digital rewards include Claudia Kishi GIFs, production stills, and great behind-the-scenes moments with interviewees.  

We also have exclusive print gifts that we will mail to you. These include SIGNED copies of Yumi Sakugawa’s iconic (and now out-of-print) Claudia Kishi zine, and a brand new fanzine we are putting together that will feature art and writing from our interviewees and other creators.

And for those of you who are based in LA or are willing to travel, we also have tickets to a private BSC-themed screening party before the film is released to the public. Join the director and local interviewees for drinks, behind-the-scenes stories, and Claudia-appropriate junk food!  

(Our LA party vibes)
(Our LA party vibes)

TEAM

Director Sue Ding is a documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She directs and produces nonfiction media—from feature documentaries to virtual reality—for a wide range of outlets and clients, including The New York Times, PBS, and MIT Media Lab. Sue’s documentary work explores the intersection of identity, social justice, and storytelling.

Sue also writes about documentary and new media, and is currently producing an interactive installation at Manzanar National Historic Site, where more than 10,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during WWII. She is also spearheading an emerging media program for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.  

This film’s central theme is the importance of diverse voices and representation in media, so it’s only fitting that our crew so far is 75% women of color, and the interviewees featured in the film are primarily Asian American creators, representing a wide spectrum of AAPI experience. In producing this project, and in our overall creative practices, we are all passionate about expanding the range of voices and stories represented in media.

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP

We are raising funds for an additional shoot in New York, where we hope to sit down for an in-depth interview with BSC author Ann M. Martin herself.

We are also raising funds to begin editing, so we can bring Claudia’s story to life. This crowdfunding campaign will help us move forward with the film, as well as connect with the many, MANY Claudia Kishi and BSC fans out there!

HOW YOU CAN HELP

  • DONATE: Any amount helps! Pledge directly or check out our fun reward options.
  • JOIN THE TEAM: We're looking for an editor and motion graphics designer—send us your recs or let us know if you're interested!
  • SUBMIT ART + WRITING: If you're an artist or writer and have work that you'd like to publish in The Claudia Kishi Reader, please get in touch here or at claudiakishiclub@gmail.com!
  • SPREAD THE WORD: Please share our project on social media and with your communities! Follow #ClaudiaKishiClub on our Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter.

Risks and challenges

We have already filmed over half of our interviews, so the film is well on its way. That said, there is still so much left to do—and that's where your help is so important! These funds will enable us to set up a shoot in New York, where we are hoping to interview Ann M. Martin herself. The funds will also help us move forward with post-production, and to continue bringing on additional partners and grant funding. It takes a long time, a huge effort, and a large community to make a documentary film, but Claudia is worth it—please join us on our journey!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    NEWSLETTER AND BONUS CONTENT

    Thanks for joining the Claudia Kishi Club! You’ll get our newsletter and access to interview outtakes and other fun bonus content.

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    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    DIGITAL REWARDS PACK

    You'll get a digital rewards pack including production stills, GIFs, and a curated list of Claudia-themed Los Angeles recommendations—plus our newsletter and a big THANK YOU on our Facebook page! (If you check out as a guest, leave us a note so we know who to thank!)

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    STREAM THE FILM

    You'll receive a private link to our documentary once the film has premiered and/or broadcasted, PLUS all the rewards above!

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    SIGNED YUMI SAKUGAWA ZINE

    SIGNED print copy of Yumi Sakugawa’s iconic web comic, "Claudia Kishi: My Asian-American Female Role Model of the 90's." A rare chance to get your hands on one of these out-of-print zines—Yumi is specially reprinting a limited number for our funders. 12 pages, black and white, shipping included. PLUS all the rewards above!

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    Pledge US$ 45 or more About US$ 45

    FANZINE: THE CLAUDIA KISHI READER

    We are putting together the ultimate Claudia Kishi fanzine especially for this campaign! "The Claudia Kishi Reader" will be gloriously encyclopedic, with art and writing from Yumi Sakugawa, Phil Yu, Sarah Kuhn, Sirin Thada, and more. 30+ pages, full color, shipping included. PLUS all the rewards above!

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    Reward no longer available 16 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 45 or more About US$ 45

    FANZINE: THE CLAUDIA KISHI READER

    We're putting together the ultimate Claudia Kishi fanzine especially for this campaign! "The Claudia Kishi Reader" will feature art and writing from Yumi Sakugawa, Phil Yu, Sarah Kuhn, Sirin Thada, and more. 30+ pages, full color, shipping included. PLUS our newsletter, bonus content, digital rewards, and a streaming link to the film!

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    27 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 70 or more About US$ 70

    ZINE PACK

    You'll receive both "Claudia Kishi: My Asian-American Female Role Model of the 90's" AND "The Claudia Kishi Reader," shipping included. PLUS all the rewards above!

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    22 backers
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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    SPECIAL THANKS

    Your name will appear in the Special Thanks section of our film's end credits, PLUS all the rewards above!

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    31 backers
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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    PRIVATE SCREENING PARTY (LA)

    One ticket to a private BSC-themed screening party in Los Angeles before the film is released to the public. Hear behind-the-scenes stories and have a drink with us at this event hosted by the director (travel/accommodations not included). PLUS all the rewards above!

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    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    CLAUDIA CARE PACKAGE

    You'll receive a custom Claudia Kishi-themed care package of snacks, art supplies, fashion accessories, and other goodies. Shipping included. PLUS all the rewards above!

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    PRIVATE SCREENING PARTY x 2 (LA)

    Two tickets to a private BSC-themed screening party in Los Angeles before the film is released to the public. Hear behind-the-scenes stories and have a drink with us at this event hosted by the director (travel/accommodations not included). PLUS all the rewards above!

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    Pledge US$ 400 or more About US$ 400

    DELUXE PARTY PACK

    You'll receive all the rewards listed in PRIVATE SCREENING PARTY x 2, PLUS a customized deluxe Claudia-themed care package.

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    GO BEHIND THE SCENES ON THE NEW BSC SHOW

    Exclusive opportunity for you and a friend to visit the set of the new Baby-Sitters Club TV series! Meet the cast and crew, hang out in Claudia's room, and live out all your BSC dreams. Also includes all the rewards above! (Travel/accommodations not included—please be aware that filming location is TBD, and you will need to sign a confidentially agreement.)

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    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT

    Thank you, and welcome to the team! You will be listed as an Associate Producer in the film's credits, PLUS all the rewards above. You'll be sent an early cut of the film and be invited to give us a round of notes before we lock picture. (If you would like to contribute more than this amount with a tax deduction, please message us.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)