This month's web series and VOD picks show the incredible range of content that women are contributing to the entertainment industry through alternative routes.
For fans of dystopian series such as "The Walking Dead," "The 100," or the like, Hollywood vet Reagan Gomez-Preston's web series, "Surviving," offers new side to that story. It does exactly what web series are so beloved for -- doing what TV cannot. When have you ever seen an end of the world narrative on screen that centers on a black female character? Gomez-Preston has got you covered.
Liz Rizzo directs Season 1 of the Shakespearean comedy "Titus and Dronicus," which creatively re-imagines the playwright's plays as murders to be solved by a pair of best buds and clever private eyes.
Rose Kennedy-Schlossberg and Mara Nelson-Greenberg want us ladies to be prepared for the end of the world in their comedy web series "End Times Girls Club," which does less to teach you legitimate survival skills than make you bust your gut laughing at its deadpan humor.
"Emelie" is the new slow-burn horror movie that gives its audience a female horror trope turned on its head, and you can enjoy those twists and turns now that the film is available on VOD.Here are our picks for this month's women-centric VOD and web series releases.
"Surviving" - Created by Reagan Gomez-Preston
Filling the void for people of color who lament their erasure from the post-apocalyptic worlds of mainstream film and television, Reagan Gomez-Preston's "Surviving" is the zombie-filled world we had not seen on screen until now. This thriller centers on a doctor named Shalyla (Cynthia Kaye McWilliams) and her younger sister Lucy (Zayden Bates). Their protective sisterly love intensifies their quest for survival in this suddenly zombie-filled world. After finding out that their father may be partially responsible for the outbreak, the pair finds themselves on the run from the government in addition to the zombies. Season 1 consists of eight episodes, each ranging from 10 to 15 minutes long, offering complex female characters of color who must do all they can to save themselves -- and the world. Survive the apocalypse with these interesting characters here on Gomez-Preston's YouTube channel.
"Titus And Dronicus" - Directed by Liz Rizzo; Written by Megan Kelly, Madhuri Shekar and Seamus Sullivan
This web series follows two best friends and private investigators, Titus and Dronicus (Zehra Fazal and Corey Walter Johnson). While Titus idolizes the mysterious private eyes of the past, her counterpart Dronicus is in the business mainly to help people. Each crime is inspired by one of Shakespeare's plays -- for instance, in Season 1, Titus and Dronicus are hired by Ophelia to investigate her boyfriend Hamlet and his obsession with his father's death. This creative re-imagining of Shakespeare's famed characters shows just how timeless Shakespearean narratives can be with the right creative spin. You can be part of all the snarky antics of Season 1 in just 15 minutes (three episodes, five minutes each) on the show's website.
"End Times Girls Club" - Created by Rose Kennedy Schlossberg and Mara Nelson-Greenberg
Rose Kennedy Schlossberg knows you're concerned about surviving the apocalypse, so she and Mara Nelson-Greenberg star as Bee (Schlossberg) and Lara (Greenberg) to offer you imperative survival techniques so that you can be ready when the world ends. This quirky comedy, "End Times Girls Club" consists of a brief series of videos full of lovely dry humor and sarcasm. If you've ever wondered how you will maintain your "cute factor" after the world ends, Bee and Lara have generously provided instructions on how to make mascara by mixing "ashes and some plain old auto grease." For this and other indispensable gems, visit the show's YouTube channel.
A new indie favorite for the horror fans among us (yes -- there are female horror fans), "Emelie" is one of the new and exciting horror films that plays with horror's predictable conventions in a way that is fresh. Young babysitter Emelie (Sarah Bolger) comes over to watch the Thompsons' three children (Thomas Bair, Carly Adams and Joshua Rush) so their parents can go out to celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary. While this is a very familiar premise for a horror movie (and purposefully so), this flick is determined to defy every expectation you have had as a viewer of horror. Emelie is not the vulnerable babysitter trope of the past -- she is the sadistic, terrifying worst nightmare of a babysitter that every parent fears. This film has no need for the typical male bad guy -- Emelie scares the children (and the audience) enough on her own. This creepy film is now available on iTunes.