Il recente dibattito sulle industrie creative (termine che ha sostituito/sta sostituendo la nozione di industria culturale nella riflessione economica, culturologica e estetica sui media) ha evidenziano il permanere di differenze di genere nell'accesso alle pratiche creative. Si tratta per un verso del portato di una presenza ancora disomogenea di uomini e donne all'interno del sistema mediale; per un altro verso dell'emergere di forme di segregazione su base sessuale anche all'interno della rete e degli ambienti digitali. In termini positivi, inoltre, continua a emergere una differente modalità nella gestione dei processi creativi da parte di uomini e di donne. Questo monografico esplora le forme che la creatività maschile e femminile sta assumendo, con un duplice intento, In primo luogo contribuire a illuminare la genesi dell’industria creativa, intesa come combinazione fra processi produttivi (istituzioni, soggetti, pratiche, competenze) istituzionali e processi produttivi (soggetti, modalità, forme, stili) bottom up. In secondo luogo cogliere le eventuali criticità che tale sistema sta rivelando.
Although cinema is routinely classified as a creative industry in the twenty-first century, countering its designation as a “business, pure and simple” at the beginning of the twentieth, Hollywood productions are increasingly determined by the commercial imperatives of the conglomerates and the domination of young males as the most profitable audience within this sector. Notwithstanding, recent developments in delivery systems have afforded those seeking to reach female viewers unprecedented access to this audience by enabling them to engage creatively with the geographies of twenty-first-century screens, including home-viewing, through various broadcast, cable, satellite, internet and digital services, as well as through the increasing number of film festivals serving most major cities. While the ‘girly’ film, or chick flick, is in decline, the woman’s film, its hybridizations, in particular in the form of franchises targeting young female viewers, and its various televisual avatars have proliferated, with women directors emerging in the independent sector and art house directors developing ambitious projects for television in its new incarnations that take the female audience into account.
Women’s film festivals are among the most significant instances of grassroots creativity. Most of these festivals emerged in the heyday of the women’s film movement as alternative platforms of distribution and exhibition for women’s cinema. Women’s film festivals have historically been a niche area of film promotion, vastly ignored by mainstream media. Especially since the advent of social media technologies and services they have been gaining more visibility, both within the international festivals’ circuit and in the public sphere. This paper examines the Web 2.0 generation of women’s film festivals, from within a conceptual framework drawing on feminist film theory, media theory, and film festival studies. The focus is on the Birds Eye View (BEV) festival, founded in 2002 in London, UK. The BEV exemplifies a widespread tendency in the Web2.0 generation of women’s film festivals: that of resorting to social media to open up new spaces and opportunities for women filmmakers across different modes and contexts of media production and distribution. In following this trend, the BEV festival has been progressively incorporating market-oriented and industry-linked activities and events in its program, endorsed by an almost all-female board of trustees mainly composed of executives and top managers of important film institutions, film festivals, film companies, and financial institutions. While this shift reflects the festival’s effort to remain competitive and sustainable after the government’s cuts on cultural subsidies in 2008, it also signals a dangerous move towards gender mainstreaming.
“TV for women” represents both a strong, traditional factor in the medium’s history and one of the main components of innovation and change on Italy’s contemporary television scene. On one hand, female audiences have always been the core target of mainstream television; on the other, the new digital thematic channels now consider them a specific, strategic target. Although strong elements of continuity between older and more recent forms of “TV for women” are evident, a new creative process emerges from behind the strategies and standards of producing, scheduling and managing content typical of today’s broadcasters. This article aims to map three models according to which the female gender is used in the contemporary Italian television industry as a tool to build content and to establish channels’ identities. In the (only superficially homogeneous) field of digital “TV for women”, what content-management standards emerge? How do communication and creativity contribute to branding strategies to differentiate the general and classic idea of a “female audience”? And how are specific channel identities built for different female targets?
This essay looks at Pinterest as a creative community for women. Pinterest, a virtual pinboard that allows users to share, in a visual way, inspiring things they have found on the Internet, has established itself as one of the most prominent social media sites to date. Vastly explored for the business and marketing opportunities it offers, Pinterest remains under researched as a social media platform, especially as it appeals to women, who constitute 80% of its user base. To address this gap, this essay investigates how female users construct the boundaries of creativity on Pinterest. In so doing, the essay uses, as a starting point, the notion of everyday creativity pertaining to the production of media content, which is novel in a given context. The overarching category of DIY & Crafts was chosen as a site for netnographic research with participant observation as a method of data collection and thematic analysis as a method of data analysis. The article presents four major findings: (1) Pinterest widens the traditional understanding of creativity and crafts by embracing diverse and unconventional content; (2) creativity on Pinterest is intertwined with, and often anchored in, consumption; (3) on Pinterest, creativity and crafts refer not only to making external objects, but also to individual development of users as women; (4) creativity brings ‘pinners’ together in an effort to pool knowledge and is the ideal that each user seems to connect to, yet it does not suffice to build a community. The essay also identifies similarities between Pinterest and earlier forms of media – print women’s magazines and how-to articles. Finally, the ambiguity of Pinterest is discussed in relation to its potential for empowerment, in particular as a source of pleasant feelings and a resource on creativity and everyday activities.
The selfie has become a deeply integrated component of the media strategy of politicians and public figures. This article considers three case studies of selfies portraying powerful leaders: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Pope Francis. It argues that these images became a battlefield for negotiating the authorship of the actors involved, and that issues of gender and sexuality are a key element of the ‘fantasy’ sustained by them. The analysis traces the overlapping of the mechanisms of celebrity culture with contemporary political communication. In observing the manner in which these selfies have been discussed, each image is placed in relation to other related media objects in order to delimit the interpretive framework. How come such pictures, which were not directly taken by these three public figures, have come to be identified as their own selfies? This question can be partially addressed by queer theory, which provides useful insights on how moral concerns over sexuality and online self-representation shape the perception of selfies. The appeal of (mis)reading these three images as selfies lies in their ambivalence towards ‘illicit’ exual fantasies circulating around these powerful figures. By considering these pictures as objects whose aesthetics and cultural function are closely aligned with ‘authenticity’, we allow ourselves to believe that they are conveying some fundamental ‘truth’ about their authorial subject.
Vidding is an, almost exclusively, female audiovisual form of fandom activity that consists in appropriating clips from movies or TV shows, re-editing them and setting them to music, usually to pop songs. Vidders, through editing, stage analytical readings of the original media texts they appropriate, in order to comment upon the sources, criticize them, or praise them. This essay aims to explore the vidding practice as a gendered remix practice: we will discuss the history of the vidding community and, using different examples of fanvideos, its specific features and the possibilities of feminist critiques and readings engendered by this remix practice as a creative tool.
Far from the vehemence of the creative gestuality of women connected with electronic art and experimental cinema, between the end of the 1960s and the early 1970s, I would like to propose the idea of a sweet creativity as a mark style of artists who today, speaking about femininity, work with experimental languages. Over time, female paths of audiovisual experimentation developed towards heterotopic territories, to use a term coined by Foucault, other territories, finally independent from logics of confrontation-collision with the masculine. The choice of the works I present in the paper aims to be paradigmatic of a feminine poetic discourse where women-artists investigate themselves and the relation they have with the world, filtering everything through an introspective capacity, a poetic thought and a loving and compassionate gaze which transits through the eye of the camera.
The article analyzes some screenwriting techniques used in the critically acclaimed US cable Tv series Mad Men, Breaking Bad and In Treatment. It highlights the means by which viewers are induced to empathize with the protagonists of these series, who are all antiheroes, fathers in a middle age crisis. Firstly, the story is conceived around a clear thematic inspiration. The drama explores deeply and specifically a conflict between different set of values, which are at stake in every event and plot twist, making the audience feel that what happens to the character is relevant for them. Secondly, the story uses adversities to make the viewers feel pity for the protagonist. Thirdly, the story stresses a few positive traits of the character, arousing the admiration of the audience. It is especially effective the subtle underlining of the moral conscience which is still alive in the antihero, his tension towards being a decent person. This element arouses the hope for redemption, which never completely fails in the viewing experience. The article concludes observing that cable series like the ones taken into account, even though through negative cases, admit the importance of the value of family. On the other hand, it argues that, by giving a prolonged and unanimous depiction of the weakness of this value in contemporary society, they exercise a problematic cultural influence.
In the wake of a recent essay on the theory of screenwriting (S. Maras, Screenwriting. History, Theory and Practice. London-New York: Wallflower Press, 2009), questions concerning the debate on the nature, the regulations and the goals of “Screenwriting” and the dialogue between narratology and other fields of Film Studies are encouraged thanks to the import of Frame Analysis approach from social sciences. Steven Maras’ proposal, which we have adopted here, is to define the debate set in motion by the discourse on the screenplay as peculiar to the screenplay itself, and therefore, to identify a frame where to include all theoretical contributions participating to this debate, although of a different nature and origin. Adopting this approach and defining the discourse frame does not solve the problem on the nature of the screenplay but it allows to take up the subject from a new perspective reflecting and including what analyses from what other approaches decreed on the subject. Moreover it allows a great freedom in combining different subjects to analyze and define objects such as the screenplay of an audio-visual product, which nature is elusive and problematic, dignifying, for instance, an often underestimated branch of narratology applied to arts such as manuals (a discipline of great historical interest and a full-blown container of cinema theories). The usefulness of this theoretical frame can be verified in the investigations that do not just analyze texts but try to focus on the blurred landscapes existing between them, and it’s ideal to host debates on “authorship” and on the concept of “creative process”. For instance it becomes relevant in adaptation theories and every time there is an ongoing negotiation between cinema and other media.
The essay consider the notion of sermo mythicus, one of the most important ideas in Gilbert Durand’s production. With J. Hillman, G. Bachelard and M. Eliade, Durand consider myths, images and symbols as structural elements of human constitution. Myth, in particular, is defined as the model of every meaningful narrative structure. The author, during his long and fruitful career, tested trough pratical verification the heuristic value of this method, and created a new way to approach the topic, known as mythocritique. Thanks to this method, Durand realized a qualitative interpretation of the mythical-symbolical implications, operative inside anthropological narrations, in which he recognizes, by analogy, the mechanism of sermo mythicus. Starting from these attainments, I try to develop the same question in a different field, the cinematographic narration. Our question will be: which structural elements of myth are preserved, and which ones are not? At what kind of metamorphosis are they subjected to? Which anthropological structural elements do share Uruk’s king Gilgamesh and Tony Stark, alias Iron Man?
The recent debate on "creative industries" – words that have substituted/are substituting the more traditional notion of “cultural industry” into media, economic, cultural and aesthetics debate – denounces the resilience of gender “differences” (understood both as specificities as inequalities) into generating processes. CS special issue no. 3/2014 (edited by Alice Cati, Mariagrazia Fanchi and Rosanna Maule) aims to explore the many features that gendered creativity assumes: its genesis, its expressions, its effects, both negative and positive.