Artist Development

Drawn Together: Comics, Diversity and Stereotypes

Description

With a backdrop of superheroes and comic books, Drawn Together: Comics, Diversity and Stereotypes brings together three examples of artists who are challenging the subject of stereotyping and racism in modern America—it is the first film that blends experiences from a Sikh, a woman and an African American perspective. It opens with exploring the usefulness and drawbacks of stereotypes and the role that comic books play in spreading some of these stereotypes in our society.

Vishavjit, dressed as "Sikh Captain America," challenges the appearance of conventional superheroes. Regularly typecast as "Osama," Vish raises questions about the identities of these popular figures. Keith Knight talks about African American stereotypes and how he battled racism at every step of his rewarding career. Finally, Eileen shares her experiences of being boxed in as a woman, a mom and even a white person when traveling with her family across southeast Asia—experiences that led her to deliberately challenge stereotypes through the creation of a new comic superhero, SuperSikh.

The documentary offers a rare opportunity to discuss the serious subject of race, gender and religion based stereotyping with a fun and humorous backdrop of comic books. It’s a bold attempt to encourage viewers to unlearn stereotyping, look beyond the obvious and challenge media prejudices.

Expert commentary is provided by Professor Arvind Singhal, Clinton Foundation Fellow and a world expert in Entertainment Education; Andrew Farago, Curator of San Francisco Cartoon Museum; and Adam Elrashidi, a producer at Al Jazeera; who collectively tie the story together and share how change in stereotype culture can be brought about by changing stories. They share their thoughts on the impact of these artists work in bringing a groundswell movement on how we look at racial identity, gender biases and other stereotypes that are well entrenched in our society.

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Harleen Singh (director/producer) grew up in India. As the daughter of an Indian Army officer, she traveled extensively all across the country. Traveling to remote locations and meeting people from different walks of life gave her a very real sense of the world. From a very young age she wanted to show case and share these stories that she had encountered along the way. Her passion really took shape when she started working with The History Channel and National Geographic Channel.

Since moving to California in 2009, she has sharpened her skills by taking up documentary film courses and assisted local producers behind the scenes. Actively involved in the documentary film community, she has been a part of United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) as a member of the jury since 2013.

The Odd Couple: A story of Two Triathletes was Harleen's debut as a producer and director. Through the documentary, she aspired to inspire the youth to go out and work towards accomplishing their goals despite their challenges. The film premiered at the SIFF in Toronto, Canada, and had its US premiere in Sikhlens, Los Angeles. In addition to other film festivals, The Odd Couple was a special invitation to the 2015 Parliament of World Religions held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Prior to jumping into the world of film making, Harleen worked in corporate marketing for various Fortune 500 companies. She earned her MBA in Marketing and Strategy from the Indian School of Business, ISB, in Hyderabad, India.
Film Details
  • Country(ies): USA
  • Language(s): English
  • Year: 2016
  • Running time: 50
  • Director(s): Harleen Singh
  • Producer(s): Harleen Singh
  • Cinematographer(s): Jeffery Gary
  • Editor(s): Tal Skloot
  • Music: Jason Williams
  • Website: www.kaurfilms.com

FSP 1543