About

“Priya’s Shakti is the first Indian comic book of its kind — not only confronting teenagers with the sensitive issue of sexual violence, but also engaging young people through its innovative use of augmented reality technology.” — REUTERS

A woman vanquishes her fears and dismisses the ridicule, speaking out as a survivor and becoming an inspiration to thousands of women in India who have faced the same ordeal — a modern-day female superhero. – VICE NEWS

Origins

The idea to create “Priya’s Shakti” came after the horrible gang rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi in 2012. The incident caused an enormous outcry across India, particularly among young people — both female and male. Many people called for a cultural shift especially in terms of empowering women in modern society and challenging deep-rooted patriarchal views that affect both women and men. As a result, we created a new Indian “superhero” – Priya – who is a rape survivor with the capacity to inspire others and promote change.

Initially funded by the Tribeca Film Institute’s New Media Fund and the Ford Foundation, the comic book launched at the 2014 Mumbai Comic and Film Convention. “It was the most anticipated comic book release of the event.” — MUMBAI WEEK. The comic book and character became an immediate hit with over 400 news stories worldwide and nearly 500,000 digital downloads. Also, thousands of printed copies were distributed to attendees of the Mumbai and Delhi Comic Cons.

Priya’s Shakti is now part of the World Bank’s WEvolve Global Initiative, which challenges young men and women to break through societal norms that lead to gender-based violence. WEvolve provides a platform and community for teens and young adults to come together, share stores and seek new ways to end gender violence.

UN Women honored the character as a “gender equality champion!”

team

Motivation

Gender-based sexual violence (GBV) in India and around the world is deeply rooted in patriarchal views. The World Health Organization estimates that over 1 billion women worldwide, have or will experience either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. A lot of gender-based violence is not reported due to fear and shame. Through Priya’s Shakti message, this project can reach wide audiences in India and around the world–anywhere GBV is an issue. The comic book shatters the taboos around gender based violence through art, education, and a strong identifiable female character who is a rape survivor and superhero.

Priya’s Shakti is a path-breaking superhero who fights for women’s rights and equality. – INDIA EXPRESS

Augmented Reality Comic Books & Art

Central to the project is an augmented reality (AR) comic book & exhibition – the first of its kind with international outreach and social engagement. In the AR comic book, certain panels are animated featuring real-life stories and voices of Indian women who have survived sexual assault and faced the ensuing trauma and social stigma. These pieces are short documentaries, but the women will be animated in order to protect their identities and can be activated through a free AR APP. This project helped define the new frontier of integrating literary publications & exhibitions with AR technology.

Credits

Ram Devineni

RAM DEVINENI
Producer & Co-Creator
A filmmaker, publisher and founder of Rattapallax films and magazine based in New York City, Sao Paulo and New Delhi. He produced, edited and directed the feature documentary The Human Tower, which was shot in India, Chile, and Spain. Recently, he produced The Russian Woodpecker, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Dan Goldman

DAN GOLDMAN
Artist
He writes graphic novels and comics for such companies as AMC Television, Random House, Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly and New York Magazine. Dan also serves as Second Screen Experience Architect and Transmedia on AMC Television’s flagship original series Breaking Bad, and other shows. His 2006 web-comic, Shooting War  earned it an Eisner Award nomination for Best Digital Comic.

paromita vohra

PAROMITA VOHRA
Co-Writer
She is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and teacher. Her path-breaking films includeUnlimited Girls (on feminism in India), Q2P (on toilets, gender and the city), and others. She has written the internationally released Pakistani film, Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters) and several documentaries. She currently writes two popular newspaper columns one of cultural commentary and one on modern love.

shubhra prakash

SHUBHRA PRAKASH
Co-Producer
She is the Co-Founding Artistic Director of Hypokrit Theatre Company in New York city. She also performed in their inaugural production: Romeo & Juliet reimagined with a Bollywood lens. Her short film, Three Dates – a short film, which she wrote, directed and produced, was screened at New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) 13′.

ruchira gupta

RUCHIRA GUPTA
Advisor
She is a writer, an Emmy winning journalist, founder of an Indian grassroots sex-trafficking organization, Apne Aap Women Worldwide, and professor at New York University. As an activist on social justice and women’s issues, she has won the Clinton Global Citizen Award.

vikas menon

VIKAS MENON
Co-Writer
He is a poet, playwright and songwriter. His poems have been featured in In Indivisible: An Anthology of South Asian American Poetry &Harper Collins Book of English Poetry. He is a board member of Kundiman, the first organization of its kind dedicated to supporting Asian-American poetry.

LINA SRIVASTAVA, Transmedia Producer & Impact Strategist.  SHIKHA BHATNAGAR, Gender-Based Violence Advisor. RENE VERON, Music & Sound.  TUSHAR PRAKASH, Film Production. MARGARITA KOROL, Co-Producer.  DAVID ROJAS, Co-Producer. ROHIT PRAKASH, APP Developer. PRANAV JAIN, Hindi Translation.  KARINE BENDER, Portuguese Translation. MILA FAHREN, Italian Translation. NATALIA CONTRERAS DE LA LLAVE, Spanish Translation.

Partners

PRIYA’S SHAKTI is a Rattapallax production and supported by World Bank’s WEvolve Global Initiative. Initially supported by the Tribeca Film Institute’s New Media Fund and the Ford Foundation. Apne Aap Women Worldwide is the non-profit engagement partner.

Augmented reality partner is Blippar. HuHuba designed our Priya’s Shakti APP.

Developed at Crossover Labs and DOK Leipzig Net Lab. Selected for the market at Power to the Pixel, Cross Video Days and Sheffield DocFest’s Crossover Market. Incubated at the ‘Made in NY’ Media Center by IFP. City Lore was our exhibition and New York City educational outreach partner.

Support was provided by a Face Out grant, funded by The Jerome Foundation and administered by The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses. Also a grant from Asian Women’s Giving Circle supported by Ms. Foundation for Women. Priya’s Shakti was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. We also received a Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in the New York Community Trust. Presentation of “Parvati Saves the World” is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. In the comic book, you can learn about and download the innovative APP — Circle of 6. With Circle of 6, you can connect with your friends to stay close, stay safe and prevent violence before it happens.