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Documentary featuring three comic artists: a woman, an African American & a Sikh who challenge gender, racial & appearance stereotypes
Documentary featuring three comic artists: a woman, an African American & a Sikh who challenge gender, racial & appearance stereotypes
Documentary featuring three comic artists: a woman, an African American & a Sikh who challenge gender, racial & appearance stereotypes
275 backers pledged $26,391 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Je Suis Superhero - Break Stereotypes, Embrace Diversity

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Much thanks to our extremely generous supporters who have contributed to the making of this film. This is a story that needs to be told and one that is ripe for the times we live in. I am overwhelmed by your support and I look forward to sharing the finished movie with you soon. 

Onwards and upwards,

Je Suis Harleen :-) 

About Je Suis Superhero, The Film

Have you ever wondered why comic book and movie superheroes are almost exclusively Anglo-American males?

Or why there are no super strong women characters?

Or for that matter why there are very few characters (if there are any) who are black, brown, Asian, Latino, LGBTQ or Sikh etc?

Je Suis Superhero features three comic artists: a woman, an African American & a Sikh who challenge gender, racial & appearance stereotypes. Comic book superheroes provide a backdrop for the story. 

Comic books have an important place in today’s era as the world around us is filled with stuff inspired or adapted from comics. While comic book superheroes have the ability to instill important values and life lessons such as protecting the weak, believing in hope, they are also very stereotypical in their appearance. 

As such, these stereotypical images have a tendency to perpetuate biases among people, especially gender and racial ones. Comic book superheroes in particular have failed to represent diversity and where they have, they often fall into the trap of misrepresentations and stereotypes.

Je Suis Superhero is an independent documentary film that is challenging gender, racial and appearance stereotypes. The film weaves together stories of three comic artists who share their perspective of being stereotyped and how they constantly challenge this notion through their work and in their personal lives. The goal of the film is to create awareness about the pitfalls of such generalizations. As the stories unfold, the film provokes the viewer into thinking through these issues.

If you were a Superhero, how would you overcome such biases?

With Je Suis Superhero, we have started a conversation to end prejudices. No matter where in the world we live, this conversation will need all the support of our communities to sustain, thrive and drive a meaningful impact on our society. 

During the course of the campaign, we got amazing coverage from a variety of websites including NBC NewsIndiewire and Sikhnet. I also started a blog with The Huffington Post. Much more is still to come.

Perhaps David Bowie anticipated the heart of the film in his song Heroes:

We can be heroes, forever and ever What’d you say?

I know I’d say Je Suis Superhero.

Let’s stay connected even after the campaign is over. There are many more stories waiting to be told, maybe you will be a part of one of them. Find us at the links below:

Kaur Films Website 

Huffington Post 

Facebook 

Twitter 

Vimeo

Meet The Director,  Harleen Singh

I was born in India and now call San Francisco as my home. In between these two places, I have been fortunate enough to experience first hand the diverse stories of people across the globe. I began my media career with National Geographic Channel and The History Channel in Asia. As part of the jury for United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF), I gained valuable insights into the craft of documentary films. My first film "The Odd Couple - a Story of Two Triathletes" (2015) was screened and appreciated in various film festivals across the globe.

 Meet the Cast & Characters

Eileen Kaur Alden, Creator, Super Sikh Comics 

Eileen is a single parent of two teenage sons, a musician and co-creator of the comic book series Super Sikh. Prior to making comics, she played in a band, ran an underground record label, and wrote and directed small indie films. She faced gender discrimination from a very early age. But each time she challenged it by excelling at things that people said “women can’t do”. 

Keith Knight, Creator, 9t)think, K-Chronicles, Knight Life 

Keith, the 2015 NAACP History Maker, has taken civil rights activism to the next level through his award winning comic strips the Knight Life, (th)ink, and the K Chronicles. Keith talks about African American stereotypes and how he battled racism at every step of his rewarding career.

Vishavjit Singh, Editorial Cartoonist, Cosplayer 

Vishavjit is America’s first and only turbaned/bearded editorial cartoonist. Also known as “Sikh Captain America,” he challenges the appearance of a conventional superhero. He makes people realize that a superhero is not what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside.

Andrew Farago, Curator, Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco

Andrew is the Curator of San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum, the only museum of its kind in the western United States. He's recognized as an authority in the subject of comic art, and knowledgeable in a variety of disciplines throughout the field. His writing credits include “The Looney Tunes Treasury,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History” and “The Marvel Comics Holiday Special.”

Dr. Arvind Singhal, Director of Social Justice Initiative, UTEP, El Paso 

Dr. Singhal is a global voice in entertainment education. He teaches and conducts research in organizing for social change, civic participation, corporate citizenship, positive deviance, and the entertainment-education strategy. Dr. Singhal is the leading global researcher on Entertainment Education with three books and dozens of scholarly articles on the topic. His work on Entertainment Education has been featured in The New Yorker, The NY Times, and NPR, and he was recognized by the USC/Norman Lear Center in 2005 as the first recipient of the Everett M Rogers Award for Outstanding Contributions to Entertainment Education. He holds the Samuel Shirley and Edna Holt Marston Endowed Professor of Communication and serves as Director of the Social Justice Initiative in UTEP’s Department of Communication.

Adam Elrashidi, Producer, The Stream, AlJazeera International

Adam is a journalist and currently works as a producer for Al Jazeera English’s award-winning, social media-driven current affairs show “The Stream”. Adam talks about the role of media in creating and also breaking stereotypes. As a cartoonist, Elrashidi’s work has been featured on CNN and the Huffington Post. 

 Meet the Team 

Digant Kasundra is an award winning writer, director, and editor. His short films have played in various international film festivals, including Palm Springs, Slamdance, and the Atlantic Film Festival. DC teaches editing at Stanford University in the Continuing Studies program.

Jeffery L Gary is an award winning creator, photographer and cinematographer based in California. He has over 30 years of experience and has worked on numerous documentaries. Jeff is also an aspiring writer and director.

Jay Williams is jAswhO? (pron. Jase hoo) - a Multi-instrumentalist, producer and vocalist jAswhO? has been at the forefront of the “sf house music underground” for over a decade. For Je Suis Superhero, Jay created a novel, first of its kind, fusion of western symphony orchestra and the upbeat rhythm of the Punjabi Dhol for the theme music.

Theme Music

You can hear parts of the theme in the main video above, now check out the full theme score here: 

 Supporting Cast, Crew & Collaborators

  • Douglas Kreitz, mentor, photographer and video producer, Palo Alto
  • Josh Kramer, cartoonist and journalist, Washington DC
  • Prashant Sehgal, cinematographer and film maker, New Delhi, India
  • Supreet Manchanda, co-creator of SuperSikh Comics, San Francisco
  • Edmondo Tinetti, Video Editor and motion graphic designer, San Francisco
  • InkQuisitive, illustrator and artist, London, UK
  • Amit Tayal, graphic novel artist, New Delhi, India
  • Joti Dhanjal, artist and film maker, London, UK
  • Pentacular Artist, graphite and charcoal pencil artist, London, UK
  • Amrit Kaur Sethi, aspiring filmmaker, San Francisco
  • DS Creations, London, UK
  • Sikhchic.com, a media magazine for the art and culture of Sikh diaspora
  • MidPen Media Center, Palo Alto, a non-profit media training center available to the public. 

Credits for Kickstarter Video

Opening sequence Comic book images courtesy SuperSikh comics;  James Blake video courtesy NYPD cam; James Blake Image - BBC News; Location shoot courtesy Dr. Comics and Mr. Games, Oakland; Multiple; Superhero Mural - Cory Doctorow, Flickr, http://j.mp/22hqI6j; Video footage of Vishavjit Singh courtesy Red White and Beard the film, directed by Ben Fischinger, Matthew Rogers, and Ryan Westra; Vishavjit Image courtesy Dance To Unite and Cosplay Image courtesy PostMemes http://j.mp/22g42XA; Captain America Cosplay Image courtesy http://j.mp/1U3mzC7 

Risks and challenges

If we are successful in raising the Kickstarter money, it will accelerate our timeline. Otherwise, I will have to save and bootstrap my way to the goal.

Access to more funding gives us the breadth to do more in post production - graphics, music, art, etc. and be more visually compelling in our narrative than we would be without access to the money.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Reward #1 - Virtual hi five - Thanks for believing in what we are doing. Every dollar counts - including this one.

    We will specially acknowledge you on our Facebook page.

    + A guaranteed high-five whenever and wherever we see you!

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Reward #2 - Breaking Free - Our deepest gratitude. Thank you for helping an independent documentary film get made.

    Get a sneak-peak of the first five minutes of the film when it's completed (…before anyone else!) *Estimated Delivery - when the film is complete in early Fall 2016*

    + A digital download of one of the film posters

    + A digital thank you card

    + Reward #1

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    “ Just Because" AWARD. A lot of people have asked about helping to contribute but frankly don't really want a lot of the extra swag and extras you'll find below. If you choose this reward you can pledge any amount you want, from $10-$10,000 and we will simply put you on the email list. We recognize some people like stuff. But some people just want to make a donation and that's cool too. More than cool actually. But if you like stuff keep reading

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Reward #3- Champion - A big heartfelt thank you. You really are helping us spread the message and get this documentary made. Pat yourself as you are a real Champion.

    Your name will be added on the “Superhero Hall of Fame” on our website

    + You will receive a digital link to the first two Super Sikh Comics

    + You will receive an exclusive MP3 download of our original theme music

    + Digital wallpaper of the exclusive, unreleased poster designed by our superhero Vishavjit Singh

    + Reward #2

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    New Champion Plus Reward

    Digital download of the finished Je Suis Superhero documentary when it is available for sale. Inspire a new generation of Superheroes whenever you watch the film

    + You also get an exclusive digital copy of “Knight Takes Queen”, the long-awaited second collection of Keith Knights nationally syndicated daily comic strip, the Knight Life! Over 350 comics covering the transition from a two to three person household! With plenty of added foolishness! (Available in May 2016)

    + Reward 3

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    All NEW Je Suis Champion Reward

    Carry a BAG of honor. A Je Suis Superhero Tote Bag that is exclusively created for the Kickstarter campaign.

    + Reward #3

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    ALL NEW Super Champion Reward

    A Limited Edition mug featuring Superhero art by Pentacular Artist. These are EXCLUSIVELY created for this Kickstarter campaign because you are truly special.This is an extremely RARE gift as this art is not available elsewhere so grab this while it lasts. Feel like a Superhero, every time you sip your favorite beverage.

    + Reward #3

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Reward #4 - Superhero - Hey it's the digital age, right? And you wanna see the fruits of your labor quickly. You can have Je Suis Superhero on all your devices and show people the movie you helped make!

    We'll send you a code that will allow you, for a limited period, to stream Je Suis Superhero online around the time of the film premiere (Estimated Delivery Fall 2016). Get it before everyone else does! Offer only available through this Kickstarter Campaign. Go ahead, throw a huge party, and invite all your friends to the watch the result of your generosity.

    + We will send you a Director’s take on the film that you can play at your party - pretty intimate right? (Estimated Delivery Fall 2016)

    + Talking about screening films, we will also give you a digital link to our 2015 film “The Odd Couple”, a story of two triathletes. The film was featured in film festivals worldwide and now you get to watch it at home.

    + Reward #3

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    All NEW Double Champion Reward

    Get a hard copy (approx. 11”x15”) of a cartoon print created and signed by Keith Knight for our Kickstarter fans. These are numbered and one of a kind and I can bet you will not get it anywhere without your super powers so grab it soon

    + New Champion Plus Reward

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Reward #5 -True Superhero - You are helping us get to our goal, you are a true superhero. For your help you will get

    A Limited Edition mug featuring Superhero art by Pentacular Artist. These are EXCLUSIVELY created for this Kickstarter campaign because you are truly special.This is an extremely RARE gift as this art is not available elsewhere so grab this while it lasts. Feel like a Superhero, every time you sip your favorite beverage.

    + Get a hand written personalized thank you note from the Director (sent digitally)

    + Reward #4

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    New Certified Superhero Reward - You are helping us get to our stretch goals, you deserve your own certified superhero apparel. For your help you will get

    A Limited Edition "Certified Human" T-shirt EXCLUSIVELY created for this Kickstarter campaign because you are truly special. Feel like a Superhero, every time you step out into the sun.

    + Get a hand written personalized thank you note from the Director (sent digitally)

    + Reward #4

    *Design will be enhanced prior to production. Only 50 Available.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    All NEW Genuine Superhero Reward

    Get a SIGNED copy of “They Shoot Black People, Don’t They?”Comics strips straight outta Keef’s world-renowned cartoon slideshow presentation, “They Shoot Black People, Don’t They? The book features 20 years of Keith’s Police Brutality Cartoons and comes with a bunch of bonus strips not included in the slideshow!! Consider this the director’s cut.

    + Get the New Champion Plus Reward

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Reward #6 - Elite Superhero - You are in the Elite force.

    An actual hard copy (approx. 11”x15”) of an exclusive signed poster of the film

    + get a hard copy (approx. 11”x15”) of a cartoon print created and signed by Keith Knight for our Kickstarter fans. These are numbered and one of a kind and I can bet you will not get it anywhere without your super powers so grab it soon (first 60 backers only)

    + Credit at the end of the film. That’s right, see your name on the silver screen!

    + Nominate a superhero, someone you actually know, along with a story of why they are a superhero and we will post their story on our Facebook page and website. Their stories will be immortalized.

    + Reward #4

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Reward #7 - You are a super supporter. Thank you for showing us your love and helping us get to our goal.

    A Je Suis Superhero tee shirt exclusively created for this campaign

    + Carry a Bag of honor. A Je Suis Superhero Tote Bag that is exclusively created for the Kickstarter campaign

    + Get a digital copy of “Knight Takes Queen”, the long-awaited second collection of Keith Knights nationally syndicated daily comic strip, the Knight Life! Over 350 comics with plenty of added foolishness!

    + a thank you phone call from the Director

    + an exclusive link to raw footage of the film

    + Reward #4

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    Pledge $160 or more About $160

    Reward #8 - Webbed SUPERHERO

    A Web session with one of our three artists on how to create a comic book / art of cartooning. (Sometime between June and August 2016, depending on availability)

    + Learn about drawings, cartooning, and writing screenplays. Also, if you have already created a script of a comic book (or any other form of art) you can get a free review of your work. This is an exclusive for the kickstarter contributors.

    + An exclusive signed copy of Andrew Farago’s 2015 Harvey Award Winning book -“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History. If there is an expert who knows a LOT, I mean a LOT about comics then it has to be him. For Andrew is the curator of San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum. But more importantly he is an author par excellence who is giving away signed books.

    + Carry a Bag of honor. A Je Suis Superhero Tote Bag that is specially created for the Kickstarter campaign

    + You would get a digital copy of “Knight Takes Queen”

    + Get your name on the credits of the film. It certainly cant get better.

    + Ok you also get a personalized video message from the Director to thank you for your help.

    + Reward #4

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    Pledge $160 or more About $160

    Reward # 9 - Double Superhero - ( It's like a Double Cheeseburger)

    Get an exclusive signed book by Andrew Farago. If there is an expert who knows a LOT , I mean a LOT about comics then it has to be him. For Andrew is the curator of San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum. But more importantly he is an author par excellence who would be giving away signed books of his 2015 Harvey Award Winning book -“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History.

    + Hang on there is more you will also get a SIGNED copy of “They Shoot Black People, Don’t They?”Comics strips straight outta Keef’s world-renowned cartoon slideshow presentation, “They Shoot Black People, Don’t They? The book features 20 years of Keith’s Police Brutality Cartoons and comes with a bunch of bonus strips not included in the slideshow!! Consider this the director’s cut.

    + Carry a BAG of honor. A Je Suis Superhero Tote Bag that is exclusively created for the Kickstarter campaign

    + You will get a digital copy of “Knight Takes Queen”

    + Get your name on the credits of the film. It certainly cant get better.

    + You also get a personalized video message from the Director to thank you for your help.

    + Reward #4

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    Limited 4 backers
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Reward #10 - TABLET Superhero - You are in the digital age , so its best to get something that is fully loaded and ready to go.

    Our collaborators at Datawind are giving the supporters of Kickstarter an exclusive 7inch Tablet that comes fully loaded with a digital copy of “Knight Takes Queen”, a full version of my previous film “ The Odd couple” and exclusive art created for Je Suis Superhero documentary and links to two digital copies of the SuperSikh comics. The Tablet can be used right out of the box. So now you have no excuses. Just contribute and everything will arrive on your door step. (first 150 backers only - shipped 50 per month starting May 2016)

    + Get your name on the credits of the film. It certainly cant get better.

    + Oh yes, you also get a personalized video message from the Director to thank you for your help

    + Of course, Reward #4

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Reward #11
    Superhero Associate Producer

    Get the elite Associate Producer Credit for Je Suis Superhero

    + Personalized Datawind tablet loaded with all the goodies described in Rewards #10 (May 2016)

    + Get 4 exclusive tickets to Je Suis Superhero Premier that will be held in the San Francisco bay area (does not include travel expenses or accommodation)

    + A personalized home cooked meal with the director and producer (in San Francisco bay area)

    + A special collector’s edition of a DVD of the film, signed by the Je Suis Superhero team.

    + One of a kind exclusive merchandise set. We will keep it a secret, but would let you discover it with clues when we talk on the phone. Yes, the director will personally thank you on the phone

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Reward #12
    Superhero Executive Producer

    Elite Executive Producer Credit in our film.

    + Logo of your company or your name on the film, film posters and website

    + Get 8 exclusive tickets to Je Suis Superhero Premier that will be held in the San Francisco bay area (does not include travel expenses or accommodation)

    + 4 Personalized Datawind tablets loaded with all the goodies described in Rewards #10 (May 2016)

    + A personalized home cooked meal with the director and producer (in San Francisco bay area)

    + A special collector’s edition of a DVD of the film, signed by the Je Suis Superhero team.

    + One of a kind exclusive merchandise set. We will keep it a secret, but would let you discover it with clues when we talk on the phone. Yes, the director will personally thank you on the phone

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Funding period

- (31 days)