The Making of The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story

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We are so proud of this group of filmmakers, who were the inaugural members of our shorts program, LENS (Leading and Empowering New Storytellers). Jarelle Dampier (Director), Khaila Amazan (Writer), Clara Chan (VFX Supervisor), and Joe Darko (Animation Supervisor) came together with Michelle Raimo-Kouyate and David Schulenburg (Producers, LENS Program Mentors) to create The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story. Get a look behind the scenes at the making of this project.

Sony Pictures Animation has teamed up with the Kevin Love Fund to digitally release the animated short film, The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story, that will be incorporated into the Kevin Love Fund’s new mental health focused lesson plan, “The Hero Within.” The lesson plan invites students to tell their own story through the lens of mental health awareness via an interactive curriculum including a creative storyboard activity. Visit for additional information.

In the genre-bending thriller The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story, Miles Morales struggles to balance his responsibilities as a teenager, friend, and student while acting as Brooklyn’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. After a particularly challenging day living with these pressures, Miles experiences a panic attack that forces him to confront the manifestations of his anxiety and learn that reaching out for help can be just as brave an act as protecting his city from evil.

The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story was developed and produced in the inaugural year of Sony Pictures Animation (SPA) and Sony Pictures Imageworks’ (SPI) Leading and Empowering New Storytellers (LENS) program, a 9-month leadership training program that provides candidates from underrepresented groups with an opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience in animation. The final deliverable of the program is an all-original short film, set in the existing world of a feature produced by SPA and SPI.

The LENS program is backed by Sony Pictures Entertainment’s global, multi-pronged racial equity and inclusion strategy, Sony Pictures Action. The program’s goal is to provide creatives who have traditionally lacked access to leadership roles with a first-hand opportunity to deepen their understanding of every element of the animated filmmaking process including production design, animation, visual effects, lighting, sound, and various post-production processes. Through the program, participants strengthen their ability to effectively articulate their film’s creative vision and collaborate across a variety of disciplines.

The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story is directed by Jarelle Dampier and written by Khaila Amazan, and produced by LENS program creators Michelle Raimo-Kouyate and David Schulenburg. Rounding out the inaugural LENS team are Clara Chan who served as VFX supervisor and Joe Darko who served as animation supervisor.

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