‘Superheroes Anonymous’ director gets personal with Valencia Voice

Originally posted in the Valencia Voice at  http://www.valenciavoice.com/
Copy of Valencia Voice
Ben Goldman sets out to unmask real life community crusaders
By: Victor Ocasio
vocasio@valenciavoice.com
As children, so many wished for the chance to soar above the clouds like Superman, or take to the streets vanquishing evil like the dark knight Batman.
But what if that world of wonder and bat-shark repellent bat-spray wasn’t so distant?
For many around the world, who are part of the Real Life Superhero Movement, it isn’t.
They come from all over, don myriad unique costumes and all, in their own way, seek to better the community around them.
Many provide aid to the less fortunate through charity, while others still insist on ol’ fashioned street patrols to stop crime in its tracks.
In 2007, a project was started, in an effort to understand the realities of real life superheroism and to organize the first official gathering of these individuals in history.
Documentary film- maker Ben Goldman and co-director Chiam Lazaros set out to unmask the world of these real life community crusaders, in their first film, “Superheroes Anonymous.”
A Valencia Voice phone interview, with Goldman, offered in- sight into the ongoing project.

Valencia Voice: Where did the idea for a film about real life superheroes come from?
Goldman: I came to him (Chiam Lazaros) in 2007 with the basic concept of ‘Hey wouldn’t it be cool if there were superheroes in the real world,’ and we did some investigation and quickly discovered the real life superhero movement.
Valencia Voice: How many real life superheroes have you met during filming?
Goldman: A few dozen.
Valencia Voice: Are there any heroes that stick out in your memory?
Goldman: There is a superhero named Civitron who’s located in New Bedford Massachusetts and through out the course of documenting him we’ve been there on Christmas day with him and his family, we’ve met his parents, we’ve spent weekends over there and he’s just an all-around good hearted guy.
Valencia Voice: Would you say that you have made friends through out filming?
Goldman: Its hard not to become friends. You also have to realize that the real life superhero movement is so ripe for exploitation from people who don’t quite get it, that is kind of necessary for us to really cultivate friendships with the superheroes. The subject itself is under such enormous scrutiny and there are so many people that want a piece of this real life phenomenon, that the heroes are very wary of outsiders.
Valencia Voice: In your documentary, there is a scene with real life superhero, Dark Guardian confronting a drug dealer at night. How did it feel being behind the camera watching that unfold?
Goldman: That was probably the craziest experience I’ve had filming the real life superheroes. I don’t condone that style of superheroism, but I’m filming, so its not my place to step in. Dark Guardian is a martial arts expert, but even so you never know what’s going to happen in a situation like that. As it was happening, I remember thinking that I had to have a game plan if something happened, like what was I going to do if a knife or gun was pulled. This is where it gets controversial from a documentary perspective– the unknown part of that story was that I actually wore a lavalier mic and walked around the park, to find out where the drug dealers were. Dark Guardian was listening to the audio from 100 ft away, I came back and pointed out who had tried to sell to me and film him walking up to the guy. And that’s—that’s kind of stupid, and unconventional for a documentary.
Valencia Voice: What can you tell us about million dollar playboy turned humanitarian, Peaceman?
Goldman: How do you describe someone like that? I’m not sure real life superhero is the right word. Peaceman is an interesting guy. He originally was a banker, the son of a banker and a guy who created a banking empire but that never really was for him, he was always kind of hippie at heart or a peace loving guy at heart. After his father died he retired with hundreds of millions of dollars, and wanted to pursue a career in music, and to create a charity. So he created the Peaceman Foundation. He has secret corridors in his house, which is actually a castle. He mostly does humanitarian work, and he’s a really fun, fast-living party kind of dude. He is definitely one of the most interesting characters we’ve met.
Valencia Voice: Has this changed your outlook on life?
Goldman: I’ll tell you that its changed my outlook on life, not so much because of the superheroes, but because of the public’s response to the real life superheroes. There are people out there everyday, volunteering their time at homeless shelters who don’t wear capes, and most of them do more good than the real life superheroes. But the reason the real life superheroes are so resonant is because the public is looking for symbols of good, even if they are symbols of everyday good. People really respond to the idea of everyday heroes, of everyday people that have a hidden superhero inside of them.
Valencia Voice: When do you expect the film to be completed?
Goldman: We are currently working with another documentary crew and combining forces. I started this project without having been to a single film class when I was 19. We didn’t have any plan or budget , and just grabbed a camera and started shooting. We were amateurs and some of that shows in the earlier footage. I can’t say much about them, but they are a big documentary team, and I would say within the next few months you guys will see a trailer I theaters.
Valencia Voice: Whats your next project?
Goldman: Well now that I’ve done a documentary on real life superheroes I might want to do a documentary on real life zombies. Who knows? Maybe it just requires a Google search and I’ll uncover a whole movement of zombies.
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