Super Gringa

A manic pixie dream girl buys a one-way ticket to Brazil during World Cup and becomes a pseudo superhero called Captain Wonder Mulher Super Gringa.

Genre: A spoof on ethnographic films about the wild natives of the Amazon.

Season 1

Episode 1: CopA de Veneno | World Cup of Poison

Episode 2: The Gringoleiro | Trocar Ideas

Episode 3: The Bambole of Truth & Desire

Commercial: In Search of the Kombasa Shake Shack

 

Web Series
Starring: Rita Carelli (Super Gringa)
Charles Kingsbury (The  Gringoleiro)

Writer: Lamar Furbanks
Editor/Illustrator: Saulo Frauches
Director/Producer/Photography: Melanie Feliciano

 

Synopsis:

An American woman is bored at home cooking when she hears a news report about problems caused by the World Cup in Brazil. In a flash of American-style desire to defeat evil, she assembles a superhero outfit with cape, boots and hula hoop (modern version of Miss Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth), and heads to the land of the “Amazons,” only to find out her “super” powers are useless and knows nothing about Brazilian culture. We never are quite sure if our protagonist is deluded, and thus thinks she’s a superhero, or just “super” Gringa. As her misadventures proceed, we realize there might be a method to her madness. She’s crazy… Like a fox!

Length: Three-minute series of web episodes starting 2014 during World Cup and ending 2016 during Olympics.

Market/audience: Expats in Brazil

Director’s statement of purpose

In the US, I am Latina. Puerto Rican, to be exact. In Brazil, I was “Gringa,” something that was extremely difficult for me to stomach, as I had always been proud of my “brown” identity. It was weird to be called “Gringa” when so many Brazilians around me had “white” skin. Identity is constructed in such different ways in the US compared to Brazil, so I wanted to play with this concept as I had started creating a new alter ego named “Wonder Mulher,” in attempt to cope with all the challenges of being an expat in a hard place like Brazil.  When I saw a woman on Ipanema beach dancing inside the protective orbit of a hula hoop, I immediately thought of the original DC Comics Wonder Woman character’s lasso of truth, and voila – a new “super” hero was born, except this one was only “super” in name because of her exaggerated “Gringa-ness.” This story is a fictionalized autobiography set in these environments and time periods. What makes this project unique is the backdrop of Vila Madalena, a hipster bubble of gentrification nestled inside the chaos of Sao Paolo.

 

The Characters

“Super Gringa” looks like a superhero with a cape and tights, but she is really just “super” ignorant and unaware of cultures outside of the US. She is a representative of Americans who do not get passports, and who continue to think their country is “#1!!!”

The Gringoleiro is an American who was a Super Gringo when he first landed in Brazil four years before, and teaches Super Gringa how to adapt to her new surroundings.

Main influences:
Romancing the Stone
Wonder Woman
Porta dos Fundos
College Humor
Gringolandia
Marga Gomez – Long Island Iced Latina
Steve Martin

Genre 

“Super Gringa” is a spoof of Ethnographic films made in the Amazon or Africa or the outback of Australia, ie, taking a camera into the forest to “see” how the natives live in their environments. We are all wild animals in our respective environments, be it urban, rural or tribal. That’s probably a very hipster-douchebag statement, but whatever.

Visual Approach

Before heading back to Brazil in June 2014, I bought a Black Magic Pocket Camera because I couldn’t bear to be yet another douchebag with a huge camera running around Brazil during World Cup…and as a single, tiny woman with limited capoeira-martial arts tricks, I needed my camera to be discreet so I bought a single “pancake” lens, that way, I just looked like a regular consumer making videos for Facebook/YouTube.

Qualifications

This is my second web series project after “The Femmebots.”

Between 2003-2012, I was producer of “Boomtown,” a documentary directed  by Lisandro Perez-Rey and commissioned by the Miami Light Project, which followed the lives of 7 characters during Miami’s biggest real estate boom and bust.

Between 1999-2002, I was an online journalist in San Francisco during the dot-com boom.

Likewise, “The misAdventures of Super Gringa” takes place during Brazil’s economic boom as a result of The World Cup and the Olympics.

As with “The Femmebots,” I gathered the cast and crew for “Super Gringa” through syncronicity and good old fashioned friendship-building. In May when I was trying to decide if I would return to Brazil, I started looking at places to stay on Airbnb.com. There were no reviews for Rita Carelli’s house, but through email messages with her, I found out she was an actress and director, and her roommate was a video editor. It seemed like the perfect place to land, and sure enough – we became friends and began supporting each other as filmmakers. I edited a reel for all her acting credits, and she humored me by playing the lead role of the script I had been writing with my longtime friend from Miami, Lamar Furbanks.

Rita also happens to be the daughter of filmmaker Vincent Carelli, an ethnographic filmmaker in Brazil, who also happens to be a colleague of one of my favorite professors at my film program at American University, Professor Patricia Aufderheide, who spent many years in Brazil researching media on Fulbright grants.

Production/Equipment

  • Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera
  • Sound/Boom Recorder
  • Editing: Premiere

Production Schedule

Pre-Production

May 2014: Writing/Editing Scripts
June 2-11: Location/crew scouting, casting
June 13-20: Script reading, Storyboards

Production

June 25: Shooting Day!

Release Dates

September 15 – Episode 1
September 23 – Episode 2
Coming soon – Episode 3

Fundraising
“Super Gringa” is financed by The MultiMedia District.

Budget
$500 – Flight (Orlando-Brazil)
$858 – Airbnb Sao Paolo June 2-July5
$730 – Room in Sao Paolo Aug 5-Sept 5

Career Goals

My specialty is the integration of Web as a platform for interactive short films/Webisodes.

Textbooks & Supporting Materials

  • Byte Sized Television: Create Your Own TV Series for the Internet, Ross Brown
  • Still Life in Real Time: Theory After Television, Richard Dienst
  • Digital Storytelling: A creator’s guide to interactive entertainment, Carolyn Handler Miller
  • Mike Jones.Tv: Screen Narratives, Experiences and Ideas