As the conversation continues on the dearth of black representation in
An update on a multi-media project we first alerted you to in almost 2 years ago, in January 2013, from filmmaker/professor Ayoka Chenzira (“Alma’s Rainbow”) – who, last year, also partnered with acclaimed best-selling author Pearl Cleage to adapt her novels to the screen – and her daughter and longtime collaborator, HaJ. It’s an innovative sci-fi multimedia project that will incorporate film, gaming, and social media, to create an interactive storytelling experience, and it’s called “HERadventure.”
At the heart of “HERadventure” is a coming of age story that stars a reluctant, young woman who accidentally falls to earth and ends up a superhero. The twist is that, right in the middle of the story, the audience becomes HER (the main character) and plays a series of virtual games in order to find out what happens in the end.
“We wanted to create an experience that helps social causes, better engage viewers and reach them where they get entertainment and education in the digital age,” Ayoka and HaJ said in a press release, at the time that the project was first announced in January 2013. They have been working on it since 2006.
“We are experimenting with ways to address social issues, personally engage viewers and reach them where they get entertainment / education in the digital age,” said Ayoka. “Stories and superheroes developed for the new digital film and gaming formats seldom include women of color. HERadventure will not only address this issue but engage more young women through gaming and illuminate the interconnectivity of us all,” said HaJ.
More: “What would happen if the societal issues affecting women put other planets at risk? We will soon find out in HERadventure, a science fiction-based, multimedia platform project that interweaves virtual worlds, digital and social media to create a cutting-edged gaming and storytelling experience.”
The National Endowment for the Arts championed the project’s interdisciplinary approach to storytelling and engagement in social issues that the organization awarded it a $100,000 grant through Spelman College, where Ayoka is the founder and director of the Digital Moving Image Salon. The award was the first NEA grant for Spelman College.
Part 1 (or maybe I should say phase 1) of the “HERadventure” story has been released, and is embedded below. At the end of it, you’ll find a link taking you to the project’s website, where the interactive portion of the story will reside – www.heradventure.com. There you can sign up to “help HER.”
Watch 12-minute part 1 below, which sets up the project’s narrative environment; and immediately after that, watch Ayoka give a TEDx talk in 2013, in which she shares inspirations and motivations for her interests.