Female Empowerment Crowd-Funded Action Figure Line To Be Turned Into A TV Series

You may remember reading about a crowd-funding campaign from a few years ago which looked to raise money to produce a line of action figures created by NYC-based Julie Kerwin in 2014. The collection was called I Am Elemental, and played off the elements in the periodic table, but replaced them with traits such as bravery, honesty, courage, wisdom and energy. The campaign struck such a chord with supporters and press that it ended up going viral, reaching its funding goal in 2 days, and completed the entire 30-day stretch with a total of $162,906.

With so many conversations about the need for more female superheroes across a range of mediums and platforms (we finally got a ‘Wonder Woman‘ film this year!), it’s no surprise the I Am Elemental became a hit with campaign supporters as it is the kind of product that is filling a major gap that the mainstream toy market is still catching up on.

Fast forward to today, and the action figures are going to reach an even wider audience with the news of the company inking a deal with the Jim Henson Company (most famous for creating ‘The Muppets’) to turn the I Am Elemental characters into a TV series!

Having now created 2 action figure series comprised of female characters who weave together themes of heroism with real-life empowering traits to aspire to, they are going to be working with the Jim Henson Company on an animated show, adding a whole new dimension to the I Am Elemental line, according to an article on Forbes.com.

Julie told Forbes’ Anne Field what it means to have her action figures being turned into a TV series that will no doubt impact so many young viewers.

“This is an opportunity to take our message of empowerment, that all the superpowers we could want are already inside of us, and translate it to a story-telling vehicle for animated TV,” she said.

The action figures are sold online and in specialty retailers, however Julie says they have rejected offers from some major toy stories as they want to stay true to their core message and grow the line in the way they want to. While that means they may not be able to compete with other toys available on the market, clearly this strategy is paying off with the Jim Henson deal, and forthcoming TV series.

“We want to be smart about how we build the business and not get into situations where we are overextended,” she explained.

In an interview with the New York Post, Halle Stanford, president of television for Jim Henson spoke about how the news of the I Am Elemental animated series is timely, given a major movement that has dominated social media and the news.

“Every day in the news, women are coming out with their stories of feeling harassed or persecuted. Everyone is saying ‘MeToo’ and, we are talking about how we can heal the situation,” she said.

She also revealed that the company is hoping to pitch the show idea to networks and platforms such as Nickelodeon, Netlfix, Disney and more.

This series will also mark the first time a Jim Henson show will be aimed at kids older than their regular preschool age audience, as well as another important milestone.

“Jim Henson had not done a female empowerment show heretofore,” said Julie.

If the past few years’ focus on female superhero toys and action figures (remember the “Where’s Rey?” viral movement?) means these kinds of developments are the result, then something is working. It’s about time we start seeing powerful female characters as the norm, not the exception, especially when it comes to children’s entertainment. What kids are exposed to from a young age in terms of gender roles on screen, in pop culture, and on the consumer market, impacts their views on the world in a number of ways.

 

As Common Sense Media outlines, more than ever, media influences children today, in some cases more than parents, peers and mentors, especially given the increased access to technology and social media. For young girls to grow up seeing strong, powerful female characters who are changing the world around them for good can encourage and empower them to know they too are capable of being just as powerful.

We’re eager to see where the I Am Elemental TV series will land, and hope it will continue to grow an audience through this exciting new deal. On their Facebook page, the company expressed how important it is to have greater representation in media of complex female characters.

“Storytelling is powerful. And it is important for both girls and boys to see vibrant examples of strong, healthy female protagonists across all types of media. We can’t wait to see both our empowering message and our action figures brought to life on screen.”

To learn more about the I Am Elemental series, visit the website and learn more about the mission behind the action figures.

 

 

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