Black Kungfu Chick
Inspired by martial arts movies of the 70’s & 80’s, join us in making this modern day kung fu western set in South LA about a young girl who learns kung fu from her premed teacher to save lives and protect her community.
About The Project
Imagine that you’re walking down the street and someone begins harassing you. You walk a little faster hoping to leave them behind but this person keeps following you. Suddenly you hear a small voice pop up, “Hey! Stop messing with him/her.” You turn around to see a young black girl standing there in her school uniform and book bag. She steps in between you and your harasser. You both look at each other frowning completely skeptical of what’s going to happen next. We’ll tell you. She’s going to save your ass. She’s the Black Kungfu Chick!
WHAT IS IT?
Black Kungfu Chick is a long form dramedy webseries about a young girl from South LA who learns kung fu from her premed teacher to save her community from local menaces.
WHY THIS STORY?
Inspired by our love for martial arts movies of the 70’s and 80’s and a passion forfemale superheroes like Chinese martial artists Hsu Feng, Angela Mao Ying, and Pei Pei Cheng, Black Kungfu Chick comes from a desire to emulate these heroes– women who were outspoken, noble and courageous not only in martial arts but within their communities. We wanted to tell a story of an ordinary black girl who, in facing daily challenges, becomes remarkable on her journey to saving lives both as a martial artist and a doctor.
WHY SOUTH LA?
Compton, Watts and Willowbrook are incredible places! We wanted to tell a story of a girl’s life in South Los Angeles because it is a rare place filled with beauty and tension with its electric public art, lush communal gardens, jazzy train and bus station plazas juxtaposed against torn wire fences, abandoned trash and trees that struggle to offer shade. While we have seen one side of South LA portrayed in many mainstream movies, we wanted to show a different side. The South LA that is a place of creativity, resilience, and strength — we wanted to portray this darkly magical place in a unique way.
When Tasha, a middle child of a single parent, fails one of her premedical classes the month before she is supposed to graduate from high school, she ends up taking morning summer school classes with her old math and science teacher, Mr. Jian. After she comes across a grieving Mr. Jian one day planting seedlings in a community garden, she stops to help him. The next time he sees her with a new shiner from another fight defending someone, he decides to help her by teaching her kung fu.
In this garden, Tasha and Mr. Jian discover the yin and yang of challenges they each face: for Tasha its figuring out how to take care of those close to her while she struggles to find a way to achieve her own dreams of becoming a doctor; for Mr. Jian it’s searching for new meaning in his life after the untimely death of his wife. They both find answers in the study and teaching of white crane kung fu, tai chi and qigong as they apply these principles to not only Tasha’s pursuit of medicine but a better life.
We want to show that kung fu is not only a defensive technique, it is an art form that encourages us to reach for higher spiritual and mental planes. When we reach those spaces, we are truly powerful.
WHY IS THIS WEB SERIES DIFFERENT?
This web series affords us the opportunity to tell a unique story a different way. What we love about the idea of kung fu is that the most important lessons are not only physical. Although we have a fight sequence in every episode, the true values that Tasha learns are through applying the lessons to real life. We visit kung fu not simply as a defensive form, but as a form of enlightenment, holistic health, and healing.
We want to use a few transmedia approaches to do that. We’re excited to deliver in its final form a web series that is shot on super 8 with the texture of a home grown telecine and distributed on a digital platform, something that has never been done. Super 8 provides us with the opportunity to provide an intimate shooting environment as well as a living image on screen. We can move and follow cast without the dearth of equipment that makes productions move slowly. As well, there is no format more personal and accessible than super8.
We’re also excited to expand this narrative over 3 platforms: comic, app and game. We’ll provide this rare image via YouTube but also as a part of a specialized app that will serve girls around the globe with the episodes, an interactive blog, and a game that is based on African and Chinese fables. Funding for the app will take place after we shoot the first 3 episodes.
The most exciting thing about this web series is that it has a young coming of age black heroine. There have been so few young female black role models in the world. We get to tell a story about a young female heroine of color for young females of color all over the world. This app will allow us to surmount the boundaries of cable and television to access our international audience directly over their mobile in a short version television series.
WHO ARE WE?
We are an award-winning team of media creators and innovators with a bold vision. Our work has been supported by industry pioneers Panavision, Kodak, Monkeyland Audio and Fotokem. Our films have screened at Los Angeles Women’s Film Festival, BFI International Film Festival, LA Shorts Fest, Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival and Lecture Series, University of Chicago DOC Films, Newport Beach Film Festival, and Camerimage International Film Festival for the Art and Craft of Cinematography. Our work has been featured by Paste Magazine, Filmmaker Magazine, Madame Noire, Shadow & Act, Graveyard Sisters, Black Girl Nerds, Chicago Reader, Wilmington News Journal, and Kodak Storyboard.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
You can help us by supporting and getting others to support. Our goal on Seed and Spark is $20,000 which allows us to shoot the very first pilot episode, but our REACH GOAL is
which will allow us to shoot the first 3 episodes. This funding goes towards some very important areas because every episode requires a martial arts sequence. Safety is fundamental to the success of that sequence and safety is a function of:
MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING
PERMITTING & PUBLIC LOCATION STAFF
Because we are shooting a martial arts series, it is imperative that experienced crew be hired, cast be trained, and permitted locations be secured and staffed.
Finally we want to thank you for believing us and believing in this project which we truly feel can change the lives of girls of color everywhere by showing a young girl and her teacher who save the world by starting with their community.