The Blog

Meet the Team Behind WONDER CITY

WONDER CITY is a comic-book-style adventure game where players realize their own ideals of leadership and heroism by shaping the story of a teenage superheroine. Targeted to tween audiences, players will have to balance different values, outcomes, and relationships to determine what’s important to them and how they think a hero should act.

 

WonderCity-titlescreen

 

Last year, through the Tribeca Film Institute, we were honored with a fellowship with Games for Change — an organization that facilitates the creation and distribution of social-impact games that serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts. Games for Change has come aboard as one of our key non-profit partners. We also had the opportunity to participate in the BAVC Producers’ Institute for New Media, where we worked with key members from Games for Change to further develop WONDER CITY.

 

WonderCity-characterchoices

WONDER CITY’S talented creators now include:

Naomi Clark has been designing and producing digital games and virtual worlds for nearly 20 years, starting by designing early virtual worlds as a teenager. She has grown and managed many online communities, from message boards for youth groups to the vibrant community surrounding one of the first multiplayer web games, Sissyfight 2000. In the last decade, Clark has worked as a producer, game designer and creative director at studios such as Gamelab, Blue Fang, and Fresh Planet. These projects included downloadable games such as Egg vs. Chicken and Miss Management; web games such as Josefina’s Market Day for American Girl; Facebook games like Zoo Kingdom and The Specialists; and large community projects such as Gamestar Mechanic, a website where kids create and share their own games.

Tamarind King is a recent graduate of Stanford University Bachelor of Arts program. She has worked as a graphic artist, animator, and sequential artist and is a bright young star in the illustrative arts. King did the title and credit sequence for the WONDER WOMEN! film and will do the concept art for the game.

Phoebe Harris Elefante directs narratives. Drawing on a background in political science and economics, with a masters in media management, she synthesizes vast immersive story worlds with multi-platform distribution strategies to meet the demands of 21st century players. As the founder of Mstrmnd Ltd, she developed and produced a print and web magazine, “Mstrmnd,” designed games and web experiences for several clients, including: CBS, Sprint, Rockstar Games, and Melissa Auf der Maur’s music video project “Out Of Our Minds.” Phoebe’s writing credits include “Captain Heartless: Legend of the Lost Heart,” a literacy-building adventure game, AT&LT’s “The Lost Function,” an algebra role-playing game, and “The Tides,” a casual MMO for tween girls.

Melody Lu likes thinking with a pencil or a stylus in hand, and she pretty much never stops drawing. Over the years, she’s created illustrations and animations for TV series pitches, medical textbooks, kid’s books, magazines, comics and commercials, but most of her recent work has been in social games, including Top 10 Free iTunes and Android Marketplace games. Melody studied animation at Vancouver Film School and has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Yale University.

We’re aiming to role out the game’s pilot episode – in an abbreviated form – at the time of our April 15 PBS | Independent Lens broadcast. Be sure to check back for further updates in March.

Independent Lens | Wonder Women! | Promo | PBS

Mark your calendar for April 15!

Lynda Carter also appeared on PBS’s Pioneers of Television – Superheroes show. Check out this fascinating interview!

Partnership With New Day Films

In a recent article in the New York Times, film critic A.O. Scott describes the past ten years of American cinema as “a singularly male-dominated era.”

While we are frustrated by the lack of progress, we are pleased that the topic is getting public attention. We believe that representations of gender in mass media have a profound social impact — which is why we made WONDER WOMEN! We’re thrilled to announce that the film is now available for purchase from New Day Films for use in schools and community groups.

logoNew Day is a cooperative organization, run by the filmmakers whose award-winning work is distributed by the company.

The price for the DVD is $295 for colleges; $95 for public libraries, middle schools, high schools and community groups; or $85 for a short-term rental.  The DVD features closed captioning, deleted scenes, and two versions of the movie: a 55-minute censored version for younger audiences, and a 55-minute uncensored version for more mature audiences. Sales and rentals include a comprehensive curriculum guide for middle school, high school and college students.

Meet “Twin Peeks” Blogger Liz Belson

Today the WONDER WOMEN! team kicks off a series of  posts about individuals who inspire. We’ve been blessed to meet many heroic women throughout this project and in our general lives. We want to highlight those who’ve made a difference to both us and to you. Please consider nominating someone to be highlighted.

Meet Liz Belson:

Liz Belson grew on the South Shore of Long Island in the town of Cedarhurst. Although a fan of Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, Liz’s TV version of a wonder woman came in the form of Rhoda Morgenstern, lead character on the show Rhoda (a spin-off of the Mary Tyler Moore Show).

“At a very young age I somehow related to her and in 2nd grade tried to emulate her by wearing kerchiefs around my head,” recalls Liz. “I loved how Rhoda had this hot boyfriend, Joe, she worked in fashion, had business smarts, was very independent and very witty.”

LizWonderWoman

To lift spirits Liz often looks to this picture of her as Wonder Woman.

Witty is in fact a good description for Liz’s blog “Twin Peeks,” which she started the year she turned 40. Following a baseline mammogram Liz was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Through her blog she communicates with loved ones, processes information, jots down thoughts and, as she likes to say, get her proverbial ducks in a row.

“Although I didn’t set out to write a funny blog, the feedback has been nothing but positive,” said Liz. “I can find humor in just about anything and in this case I choose to laugh at cancer. I suppose it’s a defense mechanism. And honestly I think it doesn’t just help me, it helps everyone else feel at ease too. Plus, who wants to read a serious blog about cancer in their spare time?”

Recently Liz received a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer in the lungs. Undeterred she is determined to get well and hopes to help others overcome challenges thrown out by the health care system. For those facing difficulties in their own lives she has the following advice,

“Try and look at the bright side and see what good can come out of a shitty situation; there’s always something. Definitely do your due diligence and get several opinions. And last, accept the assistance and strokes of love, as my mom calls them, that others want to share with you. It’s OK to create boundaries, but there’s no need to shut everyone out. We’re all human. We all need love.”

We Are Seeking an Experienced Game Writer and Illustrator for Adventure Game

Vaquera Productions is seeking an experienced game writer and an experienced illustrator for the following game (in development): WONDER CITY is a companion adventure game to the Independent Lens documentary “Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.”

“Wonder Women!” the documentary investigates American popular culture’s evolving attitudes toward powerful women, including the serious lack of them.

WONDER CITY strives to actively involve tweens in addressing the very same failure of imagination and opportunity that the film documents. As the film encourages young audiences to explore pop cultural history as a means of thinking critically about how we visualize power and gender, the game provides an interactive component for the same audience to identify their own heroic qualities and make empowered choices while building self-esteem.

The player starts by creating a heroine with her own unique style. She has the opportunity to select her heroine’s body shape and ethnic background as well as picking a costume, a superpower, and even a weakness she’ll have to strive to overcome.

WONDER CITY will use a gameplay structure popularized by games like “Surviving High School” from Electronic Arts and explored by lesser-known games like “Cute Knight”, “Prom Week” and “Choice of Romance”. The game itself will be both web and mobile based. The game will work as a stand-alone piece though it will live on the film’s website so fans of the film can easily find it.

  • Game writer applicants should include a CV, letter of interest and a link to any online work.
  • Illustrator applicants should include a CV, letter of interest and a link to an online portfolio or other online work.  Please send work samples, with special focus on character design, comics, work for tweens, and work for games.

Both positions are paid commensurate with experience. The project deadline is March, 2013. Applications will be accepted through December 21, 2012.

Please forward applications to:

Naomi Clark

Kristy Guevara-Flanagan

Kelcey Edwards

DOC NYC Q&A, International Screenings And One Powerful PSA

As we approach Thanksgiving, the WONDER WOMEN! team would like to extend its gratitude to everyone who made this project possible. You truly helped us get this far.

Recently we’ve had a lot of exciting events, including international screenings in Canada, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Taiwan and Poland. Also, the folks at DOC NYC were gracious enough to tape the Q&A after our Nov. 11 screening in New York City. Producer Kelcey Edwards, film character Katie Pineda, editor Melanie Levy, and editor Carla Guttierez answered questions from both a moderator and the audience.

Additionally, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media launched a new PSA in support of its See Jane campaign. We applaud their work and wanted to share this powerful video with you. You can also read their latest research on the topic.

Last week Davis did a great Q&A with Ms. Blog. We’ll leave you with this quote,

“Feminism simply means equal social and political status for men and women. There’s nothing radical about it or about using that word or having that as a goal. We’re simply trying to elevate the status of the female characters to equal. We take up half the space in the world so it would be great to see roughly half of characters be female.”

Happy Halloween From Some Extraordinary Wonder Women & Wonder Men!

Kristy Awarded Best Directing at BendFilm Festival, Film Also Wins Best Documentary

There was quite a bit of jumping up and down by the WONDER WOMEN! team this weekend.

The BendFilm festival announced its winners in 12 categories Saturday evening at an awards gala in downtown Bend. Film Director Kristy Geuvara-Flanagan won Best Directing and WONDER WOMEN! also was awarded Best Documentary.

WONDER WOMEN! in NYC

We’re thrilled to announce our first New York City screening! WONDER WOMEN! will be playing at the DOC NYC film festival, at the IFC Center in Manhattan, Nov. 8-15.

DOC NYC, now in its third year, has quickly become one of the premiere documentary festivals in the United States. Screening times are Sunday, Nov. 11, at 12 p.m. and Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 7:15 p.m.

This will be a home-town screening for Producer Kelcey Edwards — so please come out to show your support for Kelcey and for the project, and get a chance to see the movie on the big screen!

Documentary Feature Award, Upcoming Screenings

Things continue to be at full speed for WONDER WOMEN! Next weekend the film will be screening at both the Mill Valley Film Festival and New Orleans Film Festival. We’re also a few days out from announcing a future November screening in New York City.

Additionally jurors at the Dallas Videofest honored WONDER WOMEN! on Sept. 30 with the Documentary Feature award. The festival celebrated its 25th anniversary, below is its fantastic opening credits:

 

 

WONDER WOMEN! also continues to receive great attention from the press. In August Sadie Magazine did a Q&A feature with Kristy about the film. San Francisco Magazine named it one of the best five documentaries at Mill Valley.

Dallas Morning News blogger Jaron Hataway said, “My hopes, and I’m sure the creators of this documentary feel a like sentiment, is that this film and others like it can put a more female empowering message out into the culture.”

The team is also preparing for the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies at the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) in San Francisco. We’re ecstatic to be moving forward with a gaming component to complement the film and will have a lot more to report after October.

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