“The Claudia Kishi Club” is a documentary created by filmmaker Sue Ding to show the impact on Asian American women and creators from 80s and 90s of a Japanese-American protaganist.
Claudia Kishi is a Japanese-American character in the popular book series written by Ann M. Martin described as art-loving and boy-crazy. Ding wanted to create a documentary to show how important having an Asian-American character was in mainstream media.
Ding wants to write a “love letter” to Claudia, a character who had an impact on a generation of Asian American women and creators of color. The campaign’s goal is to raise $15,000, which it has already passed at the time this article is released. Funds described would go towards an interview with the author of the book series herself.
— BSCC (@BSCCPodcast) December 12, 2018
“Claudia Kishi is an eighth grader who loves art, elaborate DIY outfits, and her grandmother Mimi. She’s a terrible speller, but an avid reader of mystery books. She hides junk food around her room because her parents don’t approve.”
The character was unique in that she was not defined by the oppression around her but was a regular teenage girl who was experiencing teenage thoughts and emotions throughout the series.
“For young readers of color who craved seeing themselves in the media they consumed—not as distant historical figures, exotic outsiders, or diversity lessons, but as fully realized human beings—Claudia was a revelation,” as said on Kickstarter.
Fans have been voicing their support and reflecting on the impact Claudia had on them.
I grew up on Claudia Kishi. She inspired me to find my own voice as an Asian teenaged girl. Now, some folks have started a Kickstarter to explore this iconic character’s history and impact! It needs your help to cross the finish line!https://t.co/SufFawU4aI
— Reappropriate (@reappropriate) December 6, 2018
For Asian-Americans who grew up with few role models who looked like themselves, Claudia Kishi reflected a new kind of Asian girl beyond the tropes that were regularly seen in mainstream media. https://t.co/yxrngAIehV
— Kimmy Yam (@kimmythepooh) December 11, 2018
.@suedujour_ makes amazing films and now she is turning her attention to the generation-spanning influence of Claudia Kishi from the BABYSITTER’S CLUB. you can donate here! https://t.co/9NKq8zGYUF i for one will not rest until i can see this look on the silver screen pic.twitter.com/Ke5kHhu4qD
— cara giaimo (@cjgiaimo) December 8, 2018
claudia kishi is my idol
— jingle jess 🎄 (@jessicadnguyen) December 12, 2018
— Nora Gomez-Strauss (@NoGoPhoto) December 12, 2018
Los Angeles filmmaker Ding herself could personally relate to Claudia, growing up in a mainly Caucasian part in upstate New York.
“My parents were first-generation immigrants, and I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to be a painter, I wanted to be a fashion designer,” she said.
Other interviewees showcased in the trailer included is blogger Phil Yu of “Angry Asian Man” and young adult author Sarah Kuhn.
“Claudia was definitely one of the first times I saw myself in a story ― especially centered in a story,” Kuhn says trailer.
Feature images via Instagram / suedujour