The 99: Islamic Superheroes
Day three of the Cannes Lions advertising event in the south of France saw one of the most inspirational talks so far, based on a preview of a new cartoon series about The 99 – a group of comic heroes inspired by Islam.
Presented by the US-based creator and former clinical psychologist Dr Naif Al-Mutawa, the series has been produced by Endemol and will have a global release – from Turkey to the US and even Iran.
Not religious in content, The 99 is striking in its approach to the rebranding of Islam and its tenets and beliefs. Al-Mutawa's aim is to reposition the religion not for the West, but for Muslims themselves. "The more bad roles Muslims play in the media, the more it creates reality," he said. Flicking through a series of media headlines related to terrorism, he added: "We are calling into question all those headlines related to things that are done in the name of Islam, so kids know there are alternatives in the world."
A brand with significant potential – already including a spin-off theme park in Kuwait, a printed comic series and a hook-up with DC Comics – we're looking forward to viewing a documentary about the making of the series called Wham Bam Islam, which will be screened on PBS this autumn in the US.
Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity