Drawn Together traces the fascinating journey of three comic creators who challenge the notion of race, appearance, and gender stereotypes through cartoons, comics and cosplay.

"These aspects stood out for me:

1- The intersectionality of identity. 

2- ...evolution of how they perceived themselves vs. how they were perceived by others.

3- ..appreciated the points of engagement featured in the documentary - initiating in-person dialogues, taking people out of their comfort zone face to face, and inspiring youth with workshops...drawings did not stay as drawings, they served as motivation for action, stimulus for conversations, and catalyst for change."

 

Hua (Helen) Wang, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Communication Affiliated Faculty, Department of Community Health and Health Behavior University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Synopsis: 

With a lively backdrop of superheroes, comic books, and animated comics, Drawn Together: Comics, Diversity and Stereotypes brings together three talented artists—a Sikh, a woman, and an African American—who are challenging the racist stereotyping currently endemic in America through their work.

The documentary provides the rare opportunity to explore the subjects of race, gender, and religion stereotyping through the universally popular medium of comic books and cartoons. Drawn Together boldly encourages viewers to unlearn stereotyping, look beyond the obvious, and confront media prejudices—all through an uncommon and inherently engaging everyday source.

Expert commentary is provided by Professor Arvind Singhal, world renowned expert in entertainment education; Andrew Farago, the curator of San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum; and Adam Elrashidi, a cartoonist and a producer at Al Jazeera. They share their thoughts on how to solve the problem of racist stereotyping through changing the stories being told and discuss how the three profiled artists have brought about a groundswell movement to combat the way we traditionally look at racist stereotypes.

Reviews

"This is a wonderful way to approach civil rights, accepting diversity, and engaging humanity in such a unique way"

Terry Cherry , President National Council for the Social Studies

"thoughtful, insightful and captivating ..."

Michael Poryes. Screenwriter, Creator and Executive Producer Hanna Montana

"themes are appropriate for fifth grade through college. Many K-12 schools are working on breaking down diversity, stereotypes, addressing bullying. The personal journeys of the artists is engaging and the imagery and messaging of the comics is appropriate for those levels."

Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas, Ex preschool director in Healdsburg, teacher and principal in the Oakland Unified School District, Elementary Curriculum Director for the Palo Alto Unified School District and Superintendent of the Luther Burbank School District.

“…groundbreaking work ..great message”

NBC Bay Area

 "brilliant, important, and amazing"

Nicole Ranganath, Ph.D, Historian & Asst Adj Professor Middle East/South Asia Studies , UC Davis

“This documentary challenges us all to look at stereotypes and prejudices through a serious study of cartoons from a diversity lens. It is a good example of united we stand but divided we fall”

Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia, Trustee, Parliament of the World’s Religions

“the subject matter is so relevant and pertinent to these times we're in, it was a breath of fresh air”

Nevin Millan , Actor and Producer

"Drawn Together imagines a future where inclusion is the status quo…"

Nomi Kane Artist at Schulz Studio, Illustrator, designer, and cartoonist.

“It is powerful, in my opinion, because it takes a creative approach to conversations around race and difference. ... aligned with the Social Justice Initiative ...not directly confrontational. Instead, it is compassionate."

Lucía Durá, PhD Assistant Professor & Program Director Rhetoric & Writing Studies English Department, UTEP

"Beautifully strung other--aesthetically!  Kudos on narrative flow, shot selection, sequencing, visuals and animations, edits, phenomenal music score! The protagonists and their work is humanized in a container of art and expression, justice and diversity, peace and understanding!  Surgically-culled, pithy commentaries that elevate and add value to the narrative arc!"

Arvind Singhal, Ph.D Marston Endowed Professor Dept of Communication The Univ of Texas at El Paso

"I could see this film working in a variety of classes, as a way to start having conversations about difficult topics and issues."

Christopher Murray, Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda (Montgomery County), Maryland

"incisively showing the absurdity of racism and stereotypes using comic strip characters. It is good to see people from minority communities as the good guys."

Indarjit. Lord Singh of Wimbledon CBE, D Litt.

"Good work – it was fun to watch and your use of animations for the animations was very effective and well executed"

Sharat Raju, Director Scandal

"This film is great. It touches upon so many of the ideas and issues surrounding community and diversity that we want our students to think about. It also inspires the habits of the heart that we wish to inculcate in them. What's more, it does so in a real, relevant, fun, and visceral way you don't necessarily get from dry, classroom lecture and discussion. It's a great teaching tool."

Jacob Root, Literature Coordinator, Grace Church School

"....inspirational stories of real-life heroes who have risen against all odds."

Reena Rathore , India West

"...comics aren’t just a way to escape reality and look up to our favorite superheroes – they’re a way to break stereotypes and create a conversation around the importance of diversity and representation in media and popular culture."

Brown Girl Magazine

"Captivating"

 

Prof. I J Singh, NYU

"This will be a winner."

Kamal Gianchandani, CEO, PVR Pictures
Director's Commentary: 

As a woman, as a brown woman and as a brown mom I was stereotyped at various levels. Some blatant, others hidden. I always wanted to make a film on this subject of stereotyping, but instead of just showcasing a problem, I wanted to showcase solutions. The concept of the film started to develop when I heard Eileen’s story whom I had recently befriended. Eileen’s struggles with gender stereotyping felt familiar, and I was instantly drawn to her story as a creator of action-based comics -a field which has only a handful of woman in creative roles. What drew me in more was comics and how their universality could connect with people across the board. 

What struck me about Keith was his easy going, sweet and gregarious nature. His work had the power to make me smile, think, and react all at the same time. While he spoke about everyday happenings and of African-Americans, it was very relatable as a person of color. The impact that his work was having was great and I wanted to capture that on cinematic lens.

Vish came across as a person who was unafraid of being stared at. He wanted to have a conversation with people so that maybe one person out there can change their perception of stereotyping or just how a superhero should look.

While all three of them looked diverse at first, there was a connecting thread that bound them and that thread drew me to creating this documentary. I spent 3 years with these artists and I am grateful, above all, to have found marvelous friends. Like many others who have been inspired by their work to do more to challenge stereotyping, I have become more focused and fearless and am ready to do my bit to showcase their story and start a conversation on embracing diversity and how we are all drawn together.