The Fine Art of Being Superman

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"That's pretty much what superheroes are: a symbol of hope for society," Christopher Dennis says. "When I'm out there on Hollywood, I'm portraying the character of Superman ... that's kind of what our job is -- to get out of ourselves and become someone else. And you know, I love doing that." 

Just in time for Halloween, California Is a Place is back with a documentary about the power of a costume: Superman, a portrait of Dennis, who has been impersonating Christopher Reeves in his most iconic role for 19 years. The series has been on hiatus while its creators, Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari, work on a documentary feature about Claressa "T-Rex" Shields, the teen boxing champion who won gold in London this summer. Dennis, who also appears in the longer documentary Confessions of a Superhero (on Hulu), and his wife share intimate details of their lives, from the story of how they met to their ruinous obsession with buying Superman stuff on eBay. The atmospheric style of California Is a Place is especially perfect for this story, creating an immersive day-in-the-life portrait of a complex character.

Canepari, a photographer, discussed the making of the series in an interview with the Atlantic Video channel last year. "For me, it's really a great model of storytelling. The work is really fun and I am generally excited about the stories we are telling," he said. Hopefully they'll continue to make time to produce California Is a Place in between their feature and commercial projects!

Watch more episodes from California Is a Place on the Atlantic Video channel or at http://californiaisaplace.com/.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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