M.A Digital Film
Research interests: Women in Film, Feminism, Silent African-American women filmmakers and British Women Collective Films

My research question focuses on:
The Female Voice on Screen: Freedom and No Shame.
How women filmmakers are exploiting the internet to create web series that reflect unheard voices without boundaries from 2011- 2016.


© Still from The Strolling Series

The cinematic experience has changed for viewers since its birth and the digital revolution is changing how people choose to watch moving images – from subscribing to Youtube series through to searching for comical gifs.

This freedom has given women, both young and mature, the ability to create a voice online that does not need a pitch, a huge film crew, approval from a film company/television network or a huge amount of money. This freedom is the birth of the web series in the late 1990’s. The early series were raw and notebook-like concepts on a screen, but in the last few years with digital technology forever changing and making technology less fearful, they have become more cinematic. The crowd sourcing phenomenon has also played a huge part in the development of these series as an alternative way of financing projects. According to Wikipedia, ‘In 2015, it was estimated that worldwide over US$34 billion was raised this way.’ The viewer can contribute from anywhere in the world with internet connection to help fund their favourite web series for another episode or season. The relationship between the viewer and filmmaker is also changing with this form of online series. Comments can be made directly after watching an episode, whether if be via the channel’s dialogue box or social media.

The filmmaker of the web series have freedom and the women choosing to exploit this medium have the freedom to make work that reflects the wide spectrum of female subjectivity and move away from the historical ‘male gaze’ (Mulvey) that remains within mainstream film narrative.  The 21st century filmmakers are the cyber-flâneurs of contemporary film culture, who are making visual observations about taboo subjects relating to women, contemporary feminism and culture, gender, sexuality and female dichotomy. 

The filmmakers I will focus on are Cecile Emeke (Strolling Series 2014), Sydney Freedland (Her Story 2016), Jessica Kahweiler (The Skinny, 2016) and Issa Rae (Awkward Black Girl 2011). Their work shows diversity, human faults, uncomfortable situations and realities in either a fictional, semi-autobiographical or documentary style. They are all very different genres but reflect a female subjectivity, challenge race, gender and a different approach to how spectators can experience film in the cyber-age.

© Strolling Series
• Cecile Emeke: www.strollingseries.com

• Sydney Freedland: www.herstoryshow.com

• Jessica Kahweiler: www.refinery29.com/the-skinny-tv

Issa Rae: www.awkwardblackgirl.com

The following posts will look further into each series and the discourse will focus on the web series’s cinematography and how women’s film history has made an impact on this genre. I will focus on the pioneer women filmmakers, contemporary filmmakers that place women in usual spaces and the second wave feminist film collectives who decided to make noise and challenge women on screen, which is present in web series today.