About this project
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 News, Indiewire 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:
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.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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