Op-Ed: Billions of Women on This Planet Have Stories to Tell—So Listen Up


One of the Internet’s most exciting potentials is as a great equalizer, be that in politics, the arts or as a means to give women around the world a voice, a connection and power unlike any democratizing force before it.

Women’s Annex is an online interactive Web TV platform created by Film Annex that promotes and supports women’s empowerment with videos, instructional programs, and blog stories about education, arts, business, sports, and a variety of other topics. With more than 35,000 professional films and videos on its platform, Women’s Annex encourages women in developing countries and other parts of the world to be financially independent self-starters. The platform enables women to self distribute and monetize their film and written content.

The platform also allows women to connect with female role models through videos and blog posts. The initiative, which was launched to empower women in Afghanistan and Central/South Asia, has now become a global platform for women around the world.

The goal of Women’s Annex is to empower women through filmmaking, online film distribution, and creating a revenue stream through online advertising.

According to recent research conducted by Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D., Katherine Pieper, Ph.D., and Marc Choueiti at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, access to financing is the number one barrier for female filmmakers to start a film project. Commissioned by Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles, the study looks at the number of U.S. female filmmakers who participated in the Sundance Film Festival from 2002 to 2012 and compares them to the number of male filmmakers. Female filmmakers are also interviewed about their experiences in the industry.

Some crucial findings include:

Women’s stories are often dismissed by financiers and investors due to their lack of commercial potential. The number of female documentary filmmakers is significantly higher than the number of female narrative filmmakers. It is also reported that women are more likely to receive money from documentary funders, who are more often females. In general, “those who hold the purse strings are overwhelmingly male.”

The study offers several potential solutions to “create change around the issues” with mentorship programs, alternative sources of financing, and raising awareness around women’s issues.

In this article, we introduce readers to a new platform, Women’s Annex, which enables women to meet their mentors, be proactive in their creativity, and raise funds for their projects via alternative financing methods.

Like any other art form, filmmaking is a tool for women to tell their stories. The Sundance Institute study reflects the reality that women are not given equal opportunities as men when it comes to telling their stories, being financially self-sufficient, and taking charge in the workplace.

If women keep facing these obstacles when they are embarking on their projects, how can they get their message across to their audience? If they are not given equal financing opportunities as men, how will they tell their stories?

Women’s Annex was launched to address these issues and others.

Women’s stories are equally important and as marketable as male-created stories.

Every woman who registers on WomensAnnex.com controls her own web channel that she can curate with videos, blogs and photos. Female content creators—such as filmmakers and bloggers—can upload their films and videos to connect with their viewers. Other participants can curate their channels with films and videos by their favorite filmmakers on the platform.

All women are paid for their content via the pre-roll advertising that is displayed before their videos. In addition, all bloggers get paid for their approved articles.

By having their own personal Web TV channel on Women’s Annex, women can monetize their films, finance new projects, become paid writers, and promote themselves on social media platforms.

All female filmmakers, writers and content creators are invited to get connected to Film Annex’s 50 million monthly viewers, reach out to their audience, and seek financial independence.

Has the Internet helped you connect with a larger world? Has it improved your life? Tell how in COMMENTS.

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Eren Gulfidan is the Creative Director of Film Annex (www.filmannex.com), an online film platform that finances and distributes independent films. Eren also produces “Eren’s Picks” on the Film Annex home page, and she manages film programming and outreach for Film Annex Capital Partners. In addition to her work at Film Annex, Eren has developed, directed, and edited performance and music videos, web series, and short films. Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Eren lives and works in New York City. Email Eren | @mumfus