March 27, 2019 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and ARTE France are launching today the documentary webseries Streamers on the NFB’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. Directed by digital and interactive expert (and videogame enthusiast) Guillaume Braun in collaboration with Marie-Eve Tremblay, an expert on social movements in the digital era and a Radio-Canada columnist, the series highlights 14 professional videogame streamers who broadcast their sessions to followers in real time on the Twitch platform.
The series consists of four episodes running about 10 minutes each—all filmed with the same tools used by Twitch broadcasters for their performances. Streamers raises questions and reflections that creator and narrator Will (Guillaume Braun’s avatar) has considered over the four years he’s spent immersed in the platform, which boasts over 100 million users per month. The protagonists eloquently open up to us, speaking intimately about their relationship with this world, its new methods of social interaction, and the social codes generated by this streaming phenomenon that’s become central to their daily lives. To the uninitiated, streaming may seem strange, if not inconceivable as a cultural phenomenon. Yet Twitch is among the largest users of bandwidth in the United States, along with Google, Facebook, and Netflix. In fact, the series is about our fundamental need to exist and to belong to something bigger than ourselves, as observed in the world of video game streaming.
Twitch by the numbers: A current global phenomenon
15 million unique daily visitors
Over 100 million users per month
Over 2.2 million monthly broadcasters
(Recent Twitch statistics)
Direct cinema in the digital age
The series was shot over four years, using an approach similar to that of observational documentaries—going in stages. The filmmakers made strong, direct connections with the protagonists, creating bonds of trust over time. This allowed the people in the series to share their worlds and experience, confident that their work would be understood and recognized. And their views on their professional practice are complex and profound. Streamers goes far beyond the individual performances of its stars, beyond the prejudices and sensationalism, and allows us to hear directly from those who have created a global phenomenon. The series explores how people form relationships, interact, and give rise to communities that are inventing a new culture unique to the digital era.
A four-part webseries
The series explores four major themes: community engagement, the language and codes of Twitch, the monetization of streaming, and the balance between online and offline life.
Will, the creator and narrator of Streamers, shares what motivated him to dedicate the past four years to immersing himself in the world of video game streaming. The streamers communities are made up of people from all over the world who share, gather, and support each other—even meeting in real life, blurring the lines between the real and the virtual.
Will takes you to the heart of Twitch chat, the key means of interaction between streamers and their community. The platform has its own language of codes and unique graphic worlds. Chatting forges a crucial link between streamers and their viewers and creates a tribal spirit: the community establishes its own rules, and streamers act as leaders, developing strategies against trolls.
Will explores with the protagonists the different ways that streamers can monetize their online presence and how they view their success beyond money. Their main sources of revenue are viewers, allowing some streamers to make a living from their passion and to produce more content. But complete commitment to the community can lead to a hectic and ultimately isolating lifestyle.
Streamers share their experience with vulnerability, honesty, and insight and reflect on the future of their career, channel, and community, as well as the future of streaming. Defining the limit between one’s online and offline lives is a quest, and it often allows streamers to find their voice and build the community they desire. However, it can be difficult to find the right balance, as streaming often rewards excess.
The streamers who take part in the series
Will met the 14 protagonists during a period he spent immersed on Twitch. The streamers are North American and European men and women from the United States, Canada, France, and Germany:
- GoldGlove (United States), 1.38 million followers: https://www.twitch.tv/goldglove
- CohhCarnage (United States), 1.06 million followers: https://www.twitch.tv/cohhcarnage
- MANvsGAME (United States), 503,000 followers: https://www.twitch.tv/manvsgame
- AvaGG (Canada), 365,000 followers: https://www.twitch.tv/avajaijai
- FemSteph (United States), 217,000 followers: https://www.twitch.tv/femsteph
- BibixHD (France), 195,000 followers: https://www.twitch.tv/bibixhd
- Ezekiel_III (United States), 175,000 followers: https://www.twitch.tv/ezekiel_iii
- missesmae (United States), 113,000 followers: https://www.twitch.tv/missesmae
- SHROOMZ (Germany), 146,000 followers: https://www.twitch.tv/shroomz
- Trinity (France), 94,000 followers: https://www.twitch.tv/trinity
- bast_50 (Canada), 71,000 followers: https://www.twitch.tv/bast_50
- ashlynn (United States), 59,000 followers: https://www.twitch.tv/ashlynn
- djWHEAT (United States), 38,000 followers: https://www.twitch.tv/djwheat
- General_Mittenz (United States), 38,000 followers: https://www.twitch.tv/general_mittenz
The NFB and ARTE France
Through their many collaborations (including the documentary series Do Not Track by Brett Gaylor, which racked up more than a million views online), the NFB and ARTE France continue to embrace creative approaches to exploring vital contemporary issues, using today’s platforms and technologies. These projects allow creators to make social phenomena accessible—using the very people who live and shape them as guides, taking us beyond snap judgments and prejudices to connect with audiences who may not know much about their worlds.
Original Idea: Guillaume Braun
Directed by Guillaume Braun, in collaboration with Marie-Eve Tremblay
Visual Design and et Motion Design: Akufen
Narration: Guillaume Braun
Production: Louis-Richard Tremblay and Marie-Pier Gauthier (NFB), Lama Serhan and Marianne Lévy-Leblond (ARTE France)
About the NFB
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is one of the world’s leading digital content hubs, creating groundbreaking interactive documentaries and animation, mobile content, installations and participatory experiences. NFB interactive productions and digital platforms have won 100 awards, including 18 Webbys. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit NFB.ca or download its apps for mobile devices.
Online Screening Room: NFB.ca