EXCLUSIVE: Joel David Moore and Rishi Bajaj’s Balcony 9 is teaming with Pop Front Pictures for Stefan vs. ISIS, a feature film that has script from C.C. Kilpatrick and Zack Stentz.
The companies secured life rights to the story of Stefan Bertram-Lee, a British-born non-binary millennial who, tired of a life that is only lived online, flew to Syria and joined a group of Kurdish freedom fighters. Their story was recounted in “The Online Left Goes To War,” a 2019 Jacobin article penned by Kilpatrick, which documented Bertram-Lee’s struggle to adapt to surviving in the conflict-ravaged region before eventually finding a way to make an impact in the fight against ISIS.
In writing the article, Kilpatrick said he “was amazed by their courage. But I quickly learned that it wasn’t just bravery that made Stefan special but a cutting wit and a wordliness well beyond their years. Here was a young kid with no military training ready to leap into the lion’s den and lay down their life for a cause bigger than themselves — and for a people they’d never met. Stefan’s story is that of an unlikely hero who showed the world that this supposedly alienated and fragile generation is prepared to fight for justice — really fight — even at the risk of death.”
Said Moore: “We believe this powerful story will help break multiple barriers in non-binary representation, and show the world a touching and complex portrait of a real person who is so much more than their gender identity.”
Moore and Bajaj are executive producing Stefan vs. ISIS with Pop Front’s Bhaskar Sunkara, who is also the founder and publisher of Jacobian magazine; Kilpatrick; Nando Vila; and Justin Trevor Winters.
The rights deal was negotiated by Hillary Jones of Jones and Jones Law Group and Forefront-Partners’ Susan Brooks.
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