On a sunny November day this past fall, 25,000 people showed up to watch a five-year-old cruise around San Francisco in a Batman costume, fending off threats like the Riddler and the Penguin until finally receiving the key to the city from the mayor. The city spent $105,000 on things like speakers, a big screen at city hall, and cleanup crews. Everyone from Barack Obama to Britney Spears cheered the costume-clad Batkid from afar.
This wasn’t some high-profile remake of Batman for little kids; it was a wish granted by the Make-a-Wish Foundation to Miles Scott, who had spent over half his life dealing with leukemia. The foundation expected 250 people to show up. That’s not exactly what happened.
In a new documentary called Batkid Begins, director Dana Nachman is telling the story of Batkid, the Scott family, and how one kid’s wish went viral. Nachman has already raised nearly $40,000 on Indiegogo to fund production. She’s hoping to make it to $100,000.
Nachman, a one-time journalist, made three films prior to Batkid Begins. They were all quite dark, she says. “I was looking for my next film to be uplifting. I didn’t even know about Batkid until after it happened, and I blown away that I had missed it, and was just so touched by the outpouring of support for this child.”
Through a friend at NBC (where Nachman formerly worked), the filmmaker was able to get a meeting with Make-a-Wish, which had already been approached by others wanting to do Batkid documentaries. Though Scott’s family had been reticent to do much press surrounding the Batkid event, they offered to work with Nachman on the film. Already, she’s spent a day with them in San Francisco and three days on their farm in rural Northern California.
She believes it’s because the family wants to generate publicity for Make-a-Wish. “I think they feel really indebted to the foundation,” she says.
The three-act story will start with a focus on Scott and his experiences, segueing into the lead-up to the event itself as it goes viral and everyone scrambles to keep up with the momentum. The day of the event is the third act.
The event went viral thanks in large part to the Clever Girls Collective, a content and social media agency that volunteered its time. “To me what’s interesting is that everyone approached for the [Batkid event] said, ‘Yes, I’ll participate and I’ll make it even cooler by doing this, this, and this.’ That’s the message of the film to me: ‘Yes, and.’ If I had my dream, that would be the title of it, but I think it’s a little too esoteric,” says Nachman.
The $100,000 in funding that Nachman hopes to collect on Indiegogo will help out with animations, a soundtrack, and other production assets. A rough cut will be ready by the one-year anniversary of the Batkid event, and the film will likely premiere early next year.