A group of diverse European artists is working on a new project dealing with gender roles and stereotypes:
Wooden Mirror is a project for an animation series dedicated to young adults. It deals with Gender Roles and explores the consequences of accepting gender stereotypes.
Its protagonist is Ambo, a boy very emotional and creative, but in his kingdom those traits are not required. At least not from men. In fact in Hairyback Kingdom all men must be warriors and all women must be nurses. King Haggart, Ambo’s father, naturally expects his son to grow up as strong and powerful as himself. He has no idea how much of a disappointment he’s going to get.
In fact Ambo couldn’t care less about the fights. What attracts him are the powers of the women. They can cure, they can dance, they talk to each other like friends. That’s science fiction for Ambo, that’s all he desires. In Wooden Mirror we mix three timelines: Ambo as a kid, as a teenager and as a young adult. In each phase Ambo changes profoundly, but keeps looking for the same thing, discovering who he is.
Hairyback kingdom is split in two clear sectors. All men live on one side, all women live on the other side. There are only three intersections: the reproductive center, the nursery and the cemetery. Men and women have sporadic contacts and more intimate encounters happen only in the reproductive center once a year, when everyone’s in heat.
The men’s sector looks just like a medieval citadel: technology doesn’t get much further than a spiky club, everything’s build in stone and wood, buildings are squared and heavy. Men’s social structure is quite clear: king Haggart rules. This makes all interaction extremely clear and there is never a need for discussion, there is a hierarchic structure and you just have to know who’s above you and who’s below.
There is one basic activity at the core of the men’s sector: fighting. All grown men spend their lives in the arena in a sort of never-ending championship. If you ever happen to end up in there, these are some of the few things you get to take with you. And you better choose wisely, a wooden chest won’t get you far.
The Women’s sector looks like a huge nightclub from the 80s: the streets are made of lighting tiles, women clothes are colorful and made of synthetic fibers and music blasts from every corner of the sector. The women are creative and constructive and their main activity is curing: their temple is a clash between a hospital and a club where they treat wounded men in critical conditions. Their social structure is almost non existing: every individual is treated equally, no one is in charge because everyone is. The collaborative behavior of women has allowed them to develop advance technologies: they have plastic, electricity and all of the 80s beauties that come with it.
It is produced by an independent team of artists from all over Europe and its two creators are: illustrator/director Sergi Sanchez from Spain and writer/producer Carlo Zoratti from Italy. More than forty people are involved, they come from Italy, Spain, England, France, Argentina and New Zealand.
The team is now working on the pilot that is still in production. To keep maximum creative freedom no broadcasters have been involved. That’s why the team is launching a Kickstarter campaign on February 18th: “We want to connect with our audience, build something together, to make our story as deep and representative as possible. Kickstarter is our way of opening a long lasting relationship with our community”.
The pilot will be ready by spring 2019 and released online. The creators will follow closely its release and open a discussion with LGBT communities online in order to get their feedbacks and together build the milestones for the cartoon series.
The project is born on the conviction that stories can change the world. We believe that embracing diversity is humanity’s only way forward. In nature like in technology diversity is an accelerating factor. Humans though tend to build codex, structures and boundaries to make sense of the complex world they live in.
Particularly now we should challenge those boundaries, develop lateral thinking and explore possibilities that are still unknown to us. Can we tell all of this in a cartoon? Yes. When we speak to young generations we can. Our story will be implanted like a seed and as such it will grow inside them.
WHY WE ARE DOING THIS by Carlo Zoratti
When I was a teenager my dad convinced himself that I was gay. I wasn’t but I couldn’t change his mind. So he went on threatening me: “Look at the gate – he would say pointing at the garden’s entrance – you see it? If you turn out gay you’ll never set foot past it”. I probably survived it because I wasn’t affected by his threatenings, but I still shrank inside.
I was never a “masculine” boy and throughout my whole life I’ve always received remarks about my feminine side.
Once my brother drove me to a friends place and as I rang the doorbell he cried disgusted “You ring the bell like a gay guy!”.
I cracked up “Since when do gay people have their way of ringing doorbells?”. I tried to prove my concept hitting the bell several time in different ways, but, beside annoying my friend, I didn’t get past my brother convictions.
As I grew up I understood that my family never meant bad, they just didn’t know what they were talking about, their understanding of gender roles was relying on stereotypes.
Today I would like my family to understand the mistakes they have made. My brother has three children, two boys and a girl.
They dress in pink and blue, they play “boys vs girls”. And as their uncle I’d like to tell them the story of a boy that doesn’t live by those codes.
Maybe one day, when my nephews will be parents, they’ll stop the chain of mistakes we made.
More Info: http://www.woodenmirrorfilm.com/
Kickstarter coming soon.