In Summary

  • Superheroes & Me awarded Best Documentary Short at this year’s FantaSci Awards
  • It is an examination of the ways that superheroes inspire us, with contributions from superhero stars, comic creators and fans
  • It is an outcome of an Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage project

A Swinburne produced documentary exploring our obsession with superheroes has received international recognition.

Produced by Swinburne’s Associate Professor Liam Burke and co-produced by Mark Hellinger, Superheroes & Me was awarded Best Documentary Short at this year’s FantaSci Awards in May.

The short documentary is an examination of the many ways that superheroes inspire us, with contributions from superhero stars, comic creators, and costume-clad fans. 

“From blockbuster films to convention cosplay, superheroes have never been more popular or pervasive,” says Associate Professor Burke.

“This project was developed over several years, and draws on over one hundred interviews with TV stars, comic book creators, and costume-clad fans. While often dismissed as escapist fantasy, this film demonstrates how these high-flying heroes can bring people together and provide hope in difficult times.”

“It provides an affectionate portrait of the many ways that superheroes inspire us from a marriage proposal at a comic book convention to heralding the arrival of an indigenous Australian Superhero.”

An Australian perspective

A goal of the film was to gain an understanding of the global phenomenon of superheroes from an Australian perspective, making the international attention even more special.

“With the film, we wanted to draw attention to Australian fans often overlooked in US-centric discussions of popular culture. So, to receive recognition at a US film festival is not only rewarding for us, but helps bring further attention to Australia’s contribution to global popular culture,” says Associate Professor Burke.

“One of the goals was to understand how the superhero archetype can be used to respond to Australian interests.”

Liam Burke and Mark Hellinger.
The acclaimed documentary was produced by Swinburne’s Associate Professor Liam Burke and co-produced by Mark Hellinger.

One of many

The documentary is just one of the outcomes of the Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage project Superheroes and Me in which Swinburne investigators Professor Angela Ndalianis and Associate Professor Burke collaborated with ACMI.

Other outcomes of the project include Cleverman: The Exhibition and Virtual Reality (VR) experience Superheroes Realities Collide that were exhibited at ACMI for four months from late 2018.

Media enquiries

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media@swinburne.edu.au