PopArt!, a new locally produced weekly livestream series focused on female pop-culture creators, will kick off with a free pilot preview screening from 6-8 p.m. June 7 at Duo Security, 130 S. 1st St. in Ann Arbor.
Duo Security's A2 Tech Film Showcase, with a mission of increasing diversity in film, is sponsoring the screening of the program, which is produced by local digital entertainment company Pop-Post. The 35-minute pilot was pre-recorded and filmed at Eastern Market and Vault of Midnight in Detroit, but starting in June all future episodes will stream live weekly on the Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch. The show is hosted by Charley Tucker, general manager of Vault of Midnight Grand Rapids; and Emma Fyffe, a Los Angeles-based actor and producer.
Ann Arborite Kathleen Hiraga started Pop-Post in 2014 to highlight female creators in pop culture but says the company has grown and shifted its focus since then.
"We started out as basically a mobile game studio for casual gaming, but that evolved into really focusing in on being a platform for the mission, which is a place for female content creators to aggregate," Hiraga says.
Hiraga's background includes serving as a staff designer for MTV Networks when she was 20. She says MTV was revolutionary when it started because there was no other aggregation platform for music videos, and she sees a parallel with Pop-Post and PopArt! providing a platform to aggregate the work of female pop-culture creators.
In spring 2016 Pop-Post started producing a seven-minute video talk show with female creators and found it resonated with viewers. That's when Hiraga began talks with Twitch about doing a similar talk show in a longer format with the goal of drawing more female viewers to Twitch, which tends to have a mostly male demographic.
"We'll be hosting some pretty viral guests in gaming, animation, and comics, discussing the latest films, game releases, and everything else in that pop-culture universe in real time," Hiraga says.
In the first segment, Fyffe talks about the animated cult favorite Sailor Moon, while Tucker discusses the history and creative backstory behind the superhero Black Panther prior to the character's recent blockbuster film.
The June 7 premiere will start with a mixer followed by introductions and a showing of the pilot episode. A panel discussion with creators including Hiraga, Tucker, and videographer/cinematographer Priscilla Creswell will follow the screening.
Hiraga says her company's mission is not just about filming a talk show but about creating a culture.
"At the end of the day, that's what we're doing," she says. "We're not a content studio so much as a cultural showcase for content in the pop art idiom for girls."
The screening is free, but RSVPs via EventBrite are requested.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Pop-Post.