mercredi 3 avril 2013

Birthright: the Palestinian - Israeli conflict presented as a transmedia romantic comedy

Birthright, Transmedia romantic comedy

Last year, during the festival Power to the Pixel I was intrigued by Birthright, the project of BoomGen Studios, pitched by Mahyad Tousi

They dare use the complicated and painful context of Palestinian - Israeli conflict and made a comedy out of it.  And they are right, as laughter is the most powerful weapon. In Poland, during the communist period, comic cabarets were the most wanted and watched shows. This year, the project was presented at the Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels (Fipa) in France.  

Birthright  is a romantic comedy and political satire told through two different points of view: the film is about a shy Jewish-American kid Sam Raskin who follows the girl of his dreams on a free trip to Israel, only to get lost in Palestine, and a graphic novel showing a young Jewish - American girl who returns to Israel as pro-Palestinian peace activist.

Birthrights uses the following platforms: theater movie, interactive graphic novel for mobile/tablet (Tear Gas in the Morning), web, print experience.
Graphic novel Tear Gas in the Morning

The comical story untitled Tear Gas in the Morning was written by a writer and artist Katie Miranda and is  based entirely on her own personal experience. 

The ambition behind this project is "to explore other political conflicts through the lens of classical and contemporary love stories".

Interview with Mahyad Tousi, CEO and co-founder of BoomGen Studios

Mahyad Tousi

Birthright is a transmedia comedy that shows Jewish-Palestinian conflict - which is quite amazing as a mix. Why did you chose this form, quite politicaly incorrect?

The power of storytelling is in its ability to break through stereotypes and preconceptions and to reveal humanity even in the most absurd and tragic of circumstances. Taking a light-hearted approach to a heated political issue in this case helps to relieve manufactured tension and help the audience to connect with the characters. At the same time, the beautiful thing about this type of cross platform narrative design is that the story no longer needs to be defined by genre or format. Birthright is neither just comedy, nor just fiction. The motion picture layer of the transmedia property, however, is a fiction comedy. 

What kind of audience do you want to touch with Birthright?

We believe that the project will have a young international audience. What's interesting about having a motion picture, graphic novel application, and a game element is that you touch very distinct niches in each area. Having said that, we expect our core audience will be progressive 18-36 year olds, and leaning female.  

The story is declined on multiple platforms such as an interactive graphic novel, a mobile game, and a feature comedy. From which platform did you start the project?

Creatively it started with a film script penned by Ari Issler and Ben Snyder that came to us. We started working with Ben and Ari in further developing the script. Then we took a step back and asked ourselves what is at the core of this story? What truth are we hoping to tap into? We looked for and created other story layers that would further enhance that core message, the core truth.  

It's a long-term project. What are the phases of its development?

Graphic Novel, Game, Motion Picture. 

What is your business model? As you debuted the Tear Gas Teaser application in front of a live audience equipped with Samsung Galaxy tablets, I suppose it's your official partner, isn't it?

Samsung is not an official partner. The teaser is available for download through the google play store for any android device that has a screen resolution of 1280x800. 
The business model is simple. By no longer confining ourselves to the limitations of form, (i.e. book, tv, film, etc.), we create opportunities for a story to exist in multiple forms. In this way we tell bigger and better stories, and touch multiple niche markets and revenue opportunities for our investors. I call it sustainable storytelling.

What are the next steps?

We're working on the Graphic Novel and casting the film. 

More information about Birthright on website: