The story of the little California boy with leukemia who transformed San Francisco into Gotham City for a day is now being made into a documentary in the hopes of answering the question: Why were so many people transfixed by Batkid?
KTF documentary filmmaker Dana Nachman is the creator of "Batkid Begins," which she hopes to turn into a feature-length film by Nov. 15.
That's the one-year anniversary of when Miles Scott, now 6, realized his dreams and then some, when 16,000 volunteers stopped their normal lives to pitch in to turn him into America's favorite superhero for a day. He drove around the city in a Batmobile and received keys to the city, and thousands of actors re-created highlights of the Batman saga, complete with encounters with the Penguin, the Riddler and a damsel in distress.
Miles is now entering first grade, and his cancer is in remission.
Nachman, a New York native who lives in the Bay Area, is hoping to raise $100,000 through the fundraising site Indiegogo to pay for post-production costs to finish the film. Fundraising officially begins on Tuesday.
"I watched with the rest of the world, how Batkid took over the world," Nachman says in a YouTube video to promote her fundraising efforts. "How did this happen? Why were so many people transfixed by it?"
And so she set off with her "teeny, tiny crew," which includes NBC Bay Area producer Liza Meak, to get behind-the-scenes with Miles' family in Tulelake, Shasta County. There, the team spent a weekend with the Scott family, including Miles' parents, Nick and Natalie, who describe in the upcoming film how, when Miles was first diagnosed with leukemia, he felt a deep connection to Batman.
"One of his doctors told us that with this disease they just become like a fighter," his dad told the documentary crew. "I think he sees the good versus evil battle in superheroes and just relates to it."
Nachman's Santa Clara-based team also did extensive interviews with the people at the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area Foundation in San Francisco who put together the thousands of volunteers to create a day followed by people in 117 countries across the globe. Nachman also used to work at NBC Bay Area.
After all those conversations, Nachman said on Monday that the story of Batkid is also the story of those who live and work in San Francisco, which she feels is a "central character" in the film.
San Francisco is the center of technology, Nachman said, where people not only post photos to Instagram and Twitter, thus propelling the Batkid story forward. But it's also physically, where many of the high-tech executives live and play. "All the right people heard about it, and the companies got on board," she said.
Plus, Nachman added, there is simply the whimsical, childlike nature of San Francisco that added a larger-than-life aura to the magical day.
"People just love dressing up in San Francisco," she said.
All proceeds from the film will benefit the Batkid Fund, which supports several charities.
BATKID BY THE NUMBERS:
People who RSVP’d to volunteer via Make-A-Wish website: 16,077
Estimated size of the crowd at San Francisco City Hall on Nov. 15, 2013: approximately 20,000
Number of #SFBatkid/#Batkid tweets generated from Nov. 15-17, 2013: 545,576
Percent of all tweets coming from outside US: 13%
Number of countries where Batkid was discussed: 117
Total tweets: 555,697
Number of Instagram photos with #SFBatkid: 16,000
Number of hits per second to all Make-A-Wish websites during peak: 1,400
Number of staff in the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area office: 23 full time; 4 part time
Number of wishes granted by our chapter each year: approximately 350
Source: Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area.