New streaming service Femflix celebrates female-driven storytelling

Samantha Laidlaw.

Streaming service Femflix, which carries features, documentaries, miniseries and short-form content celebrating female-centric storytelling, has launched in Australia and New Zealand.

The brainchild of Samantha Laidlaw, the ad-free service costs $8.99 a month and offers 200 titles, all with at least one female-identifying creative in positions such as director, producer, writer, cinematographer or lead actress.

“Our goal is to shine a spotlight on female filmmakers in Australia, New Zealand and from around the world and to increase availability of female-centric storytelling for audiences,” Laidlaw tells IF. “As a woman, it’s important to see yourself reflected on screen and have access to storytelling through a female gaze.

“We’re excited to have the support of a number of well-established distributors like Transmission Films, Bonsai Films and Vendetta Films and are in conversation with other distributors now that we have launched.

“We’ve also partnered with a number of screen industry bodies including WIFT Australia, Bus Stop Films, Film Fatales, Screen Vixens, Primetime Network and Diversity in Australian Media, who are all advocates for what Femflix represents and believe in ensuring our industry reflects the diversity of our society both behind and in front of the camera.”

Laidlaw started developing Femflix in response to the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement with the aim to engage, educate and influence audiences and content creators about the importance of eliminating unconscious bias, highlighting gender balance, challenging stereotypes, creating role models and showcasing a wide variety of strong female characters in entertainment and media.

The line-up includes Tracks, 52 Tuesdays, Strangerland, New Zealand anthology Waru and feature doc The Song Keepers, and international docs Janis, I Am No Bird, Ready to Fly and Becoming Traviata.

Among the international female-directed narrative features are Madame Bovary, Palo Alto, The Third Wife, Working Woman, Suffragette and Exhibition.

Laidlaw aims to keep the library at around 200 titles to reduce ‘scroll fatigue’ and to build a relationship with subscribers through Femflix’s curatorial approach, prioritising quality over quantity.

The venture is privately financed but Laidlaw is keen to bring in external investors. For a free 30-day trial go here.

After starting out as a runner on big format shows such as Network 10’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, she moved to Fremantle Australia as a field producer for Australia’s Got Talent.

For two and a half years she was a creative executive with LA-based Weimaraner Republic Pictures, where she produced the feature doc Built to Fail: A Streetwear Story.