May 2, 2017 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
With Streamers, the National Film Board of Canada and ARTE France continue to explore new ways of telling stories using new technologies and platforms. This real-time documentary experience, filming every week until the end of June, will form the basis of a collaborative documentary launching in fall 2017. Through the prism of video game and streaming platform Twitch.tv, Streamers examines the desire to be part of something greater than oneself in today’s hyper-connected era. Eight to 10 episodes in English or French, featuring 32 Twitch users from North America and Europe as well as the communities that follow them, will be live-streamed on twitch.tv/streamersdoc. In keeping with the spirit of Twitch, the Streamers creative team will be taking an open, collaborative and real-time approach to exploring streaming—how it works as well as its limitations—and attempt to reveal the impact it can have on human relationships.
After the episodes are live-streamed they’ll immediately be archived on Twitch, and highlights of each episode will be made available a few days later. This wealth of content should provide an in-depth and up-close look at a global phenomenon, the statistics for which are proof of its staggering popularity: with 9.7 million daily active users, 293 billion minutes of total viewing, and 14.2 billion chat messages sent, Twitch was the fourth-largest source of peak Internet traffic in the United States last year. The episodes may also provide the streamers with food for thought about their own views on the Twitch phenomenon. The film shoots and the documentary will give audiences privileged access to these communities and their culture of live-broadcasting, by venturing directly into their territory.
- Highlights from each episode will be uploaded to YouTube and tv/streamersdoc a few days after the initial broadcast. Complete episodes will also be available.
- All episodes will be shot live in Montreal, and some will feature guests from Quebec and France (in French), while others will focus on Twitch’s international reach, featuring guests from the United States (in English), where the Twitch phenomenon is at its peak.
- The first live shoot took place on Saturday, April 22, on tv/streamersdoc. The episode featured Denis Talbot, Bast_50, Sebwellz and EpicJoystick, and among the key topics covered were: how outsiders (such as family and friends) view the Twitch phenomenon; connecting with the outside world; and the relatively small number of women who are part of this subculture.
- The second shoot, on April 30, featured streamers from Quebec and France: Camak, Master Snakou, Aeikillu and Fred Bastien. They compared the streaming experience on YouTube and Twitch in discussions that were often quite personal.
- In each new episode, four streamers will interact (with each other and with the community) and discuss various aspects of their lives and streaming experiences.
- Eight to 10 episodes in total will be filmed, and each film shoot will be streamed live every week. Details about the guests, the topics, and the day and time of the shoot will be communicated beforehand on tv/streamersdoc every week.
- In total, 32 North American and European participants from every possible background, speaking in French or English in real time, will provide content for the documentary.
“Streamers is an opportunity for us to experiment with the documentary experience. We’re venturing into uncharted terrain that is a product of the era we live in, where everything is perpetually live and connected. The as-yet unexplored phenomenon of streaming has fostered a new language and new cultural practices. How do we document something like this? By immersing ourselves completely in the culture, the better to understand it, chart its development and appreciate its uniqueness. It’s the time-honoured documentary tradition—using modern-day technology.”
– Louis-Richard Tremblay, producer with the NFB’s Interactive Studio
“We were on board with Streamers from the very beginning because of the opportunity it offered to encounter these communities whose growing impact is as-yet undocumented. We’re even making it central to our public-service mandate to shed light on these communities, which are subject to misleading stereotypes. Video games and streaming have become mass activities that feed popular culture while shaking up the old knowledge hierarchies and traditional social dynamics. We also believe in the relevance and originality of this open approach to documentary filmmaking, the notion of an exploration that uses the tools of the community it observes to both investigate and broadcast its findings. And, of course, we’re motivated by the prospect of continuing our fruitful collaboration with the NFB, as well as the promise of having inspiring encounters with the creators of Streamers.”
– Marianne Levy-Leblond, ARTE’s head of web productions and transmedia projects
 Numbers of 2016 (source: Twitch).
NFB Youtube channel