Uniting A City While Making A Movie Called ‘Sapiens’

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When a motion picture is made, the purpose is usually to make money, express creativity, and/or tell a story. However, a group in Kansas City wants to do all three as well as use the process as a vehicle for bringing diverse groups within the city together. Their goal is to produce a movie about unique kinds of superheroes titled Sapiens

Interview With Corey McCartney

I had the opportunity to interview the producer of Sapiens, Corey McCartney. He is a film producer at his production company out of Kansas City called AGA Productions. Corey’s also the co-founder of the FACEKC nonprofit which stands for Filmmakers, Artists, and Creatives for Empowerment, Kansas City. Both companies work to bridge gaps between communities, improve police interaction, and raise awareness through film, art, and music. His current project, called the Kansas City Community Film Project (KCCFP), recently completed phase 2, of 3 phases, when they released their trailer for Sapiens. Corey explained that the process and purpose of the project is to “take people from opposing sides or different demographics that normally would have no interaction with each other, or would actually be opposed to each other, and bring them together with an art project.” Phase 3 of the project would be making the actual movie Sapiens. Corey shared that they are currently between phases 2 and 3 as they are getting the funding to make the movie and getting the support of the community. 

Corey McCartney
Corey McCartney. Image courtesy of Envisonary Studio.

As part of phase 1 of the project, Corey produced a music video called “Disarmed”. It not only serves as a proof of concept of getting different groups to work together on a project, but even serves as a teaser to Sapiens. In addition to several different groups of artists, the video was produced with the help of the Kansas City Police Department. Corey stated that they wanted to seek our marginalized groups for involvement including people of color, people with disabilities, the LGTBQ community, and more. To do this, they approached organizations within the city that work with these groups in order to find individuals. Corey described that proximity is the ultimate healer. By getting groups who are opposed together and within proximity to each other where they get to know each other as they work together and learn from one another. By focusing on artists for this project, there is already a common interest on which relationships can be built. After the video was released early in 2020, there was an incident in the city which almost ended in violence. As two people got out of their vehicles with guns drawn, they recognized each other from working together on the video and a crisis was avoided. Each had originally assumed the other meant to do them harm. However, since they knew each other, had been in proximity, no one ended up getting hurt. 

The “Disarmed” music video.

What Is Sapiens?

Sapiens offers an interesting take on superheroes. In this story, superheroes are all artists and their superpowers are related to their art form. The writer and director of this project, Khalid Abdulqaadir, not only wrote the film but created this universe. There are several different classes of heroes. Dancers are known as Breakers and they can manipulate lightning and use it to travel through the clouds or send it out from their hands. Rappers and singers use fire or ice and the more powerful ones can use both. Ampers are like DJs. They use electronic devices to absorb powers from other artists and can then redistribute it how they want. Those who paint or draw are known as Misters. What they draw can come to life. Or if they draw a face, they can see through the eyes of that face. Depending on support and interest, there are possible plans for comic books, television shows, and video games based on this universe. Once the movie is made, the project will pay the artists and actors involved. Since the project is a non-profit, the Kansas City Community Film Project will share the proceeds from the film with those groups in the community who came together to make this project a reality. 

I am grateful to Corey McCartney for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to me and share his passion for not only making a movie but also using it to support the diverse groups and communities of Kansas City. I enjoyed watching both the music video and the trailer and look forward to viewing the entire movie in the future. I am very impressed with Corey’s goal of bringing a diverse community together using a common interest in the arts to build bridges and break down barriers. Our cities, our countries, our world truly need more people who want to unite us. 

Here is the concept trailer for Sapiens.

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