Filmmaker Kristy Guevara-Flanagan has not rested in her fight for women’s empowerment through moving images. Since completing her documentary last year called “Wonder Women! The Untold Stories of American Superheroines,” she has been busy producing an online interactive video game called “Wonder City,” which was recently launched.
“We started doing research on games, and when we looked at pre-teen games, every option out there was about having a makeover, or celebrity dating or boyfriends, or social climbing to become more popular — they were all just really bad,” says Guevara-Flanagan. “Young girls are very interested in gaming, and we feel they should have the same options boys have.”
“Wonder City” allows girls, ages 9 through 12, the opportunity to choose their own avatar (customizing it to their shape and color); and it also teaches them how to be a superhero or leader.
“The game picks up where the film left off,” says Guevara-Flanagan. “We are interested in the reputation of women in popular media, and we couldn’t fit all that inside the film.”
Guevara-Flanagan says she has always been interested in the gaming community, and in looking at the representation of women in comics. She has always felt that female protagonists are often sexualized.
The filmmaker and video producer also found another area of concern through her research — the fact that women throughout history have become more involved in politics and the workforce, but they have not been rising in the ranks of leadership.
“That’s where we see huge disparities,” she says. “Very few CEO’s of businesses are women, so we wanted a game to develop leadership skills in women — to take a role in changing this landscape — one that would have a positive influence in that way.”
In addition to teaching girls about leadership, the online game also tackles how to recognize stereotypes and educates girls about important women in history. The game is also episodic, and more episodes will be developed as they are able to be funded. They will also be working on an app.
“People are enjoying it,” says Guevara-Flanagan of users’ reactions since the game launched last month. “Right now it’s getting a lot of interest from teachers and librarians. Our film is currently being distributed to schools and libraries, so I’ve been talking about it, and we’ll be going to gaming conferences as well.”