July 19, 2024 The voice of all eras.

‘Zsazsa Zaturnnah Vs. The Amazonistas of Planet X’: See First Look at the Groundbreaking LGBTQ Superhero Film

July 9, 2024

July 9, 2024

The animated feature is still at work—and you can take part in it too!

When we talk about representation, it should not only limit it to race, social class, and disabilities. It should also encompass gender identities. Superheroes are often powerful and just, promoting peace and order in the community. Yet, these superheroes rarely depict gay characters.

Well, here’s a groundbreaking project by Filipino illustrator and graphic designer Carlo Vergara through Alamat Comics: in December 2002, a multihyphenated artist created a superhero from a shy, gay hairdresser in a small Philippine town who transforms into a superhero after experiencing numerous heartbreaks.

Following the adventures of Ada, a gay man who swallows a magical meteorite and becomes a red-haired female superhero, the graphic novel won a National Book Award in 2003 and became a bestseller.

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Animated Zsazsa Zaturnnah Film

Because of its success, in 2006, the graphic novel was adapted into a superhero musical film directed by Joel C. Lamangan and starring veteran singer-actress Zsazsa Padilla. It has also been staged by the Ateneo Blue Repertory, with music and lyrics by Vincent A. De Jesus and directed by Missy Maramara.

This time, Rocketsheep Studio aims to amplify this advocacy for representation by creating an 80-minute English animated film of Zsazsa Zaturnnah. This project aims to bring the “funny and heartwarming LGBTQ” story to a global audience while showcasing Filipino talent. The studio, known for hits like Netflix’s Hayop Ka! (2020) and Saving Sally (2016), has been working on this for the past four years, funding much of it themselves. They have now turned to Kickstarter for additional support.

“We have gone to several international film markets and peddled to so many business people who all say the same thing: the project is really cool but the market for it is too niche. LGBTQ culture is still censored in many places in the world. In some countries, it’s even literally illegal to be gay. Traditional film investors are scared of backing Zsazsa, so we are turning to you: You are our only hope!”

For quite some time, the Philippines has been a hub for animation service work, like Toei Animation Philippines Inc. (One Piece) and Snipple Animation Studios (Klaus, Phineas and Ferb, Teen Titans Go, and Scooby-Doo). However, “sadly, we are not known for ideating and producing animated films.” 

After releasing the first trailer, the indie studio is encouraging Filipinos and global supporters to pledge their support. Contributions can come with unique rewards, such as being part of a zombie horde or having your name embedded in the film. For two years, the makers have been raising $40,000 to complete the project and bring Zsazsa Zaturnnah’s story to the world. Pledges can range from $1 to $250, depending on the desired reward.

Like how the villains need love, sometimes the hero also needs some saving. Would you help bring Zsazsa Zaturnnah’s story to life? By supporting this project, you can play a crucial role in highlighting LGBTQ representation and showcasing Filipino talent to the world. Learn more here.

Cover image credit: Rocketsheep Studio

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