Women’s health activism and the digital health revolution.
Interview with Director, Producer, Writer Choterina Freer
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I was interested in how digital health (or Health 2.0) tied into a new trend for patients being asked to take responsibility for their health plans. This trend was noticeable in how language in healthcare was evolving from the term ‘patient’ to the sudden use of terms such as ‘service user’, ‘client’, or ‘consumer’.
The idea that patients should take control of their own health was happening at the same time as massive cuts in the NHS in the UK, and was often spoken about in terms of how it empowered the individual. I was concerned this new idea of patient responsibility privileged the well, young, wealthy and educated; in particular people who were in a position to question medical staff.
I began working on the film looking at Health 2.0 in a broad sense in regards to health and fitness apps and how these inform and/or control our bodies. At the same time I was working with an artist’s collective (0s+1s) researching cyberfeminism. An essay by Marina Levina in the book Cyberfeminism 2.0 outlined links between feminist healthcare activism in the seventies and the marketing of empowerment through digital healthcare companies today.
I became fascinated with these two methods of collective information sharing; arising from two very different aims. From this fascination the project evolved to focus on collective conversation related to women’s health issues; from seventies consciousness-raising groups, to Silicon Valley Health 2.0 companies, and online forums.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
The film is loosely essayistic in format, while also being visceral and emotive in aspects. I would hope it will make you feel (and consider) something relating to the themes I described above. I always hope my work will start a conversation or collaboration.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
How we access resources to make informed choices about our own bodies is personal to everyone; and women’s rights to healthcare information is a universal theme.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
I tend to work in a fragmentary way, building the video as I work. So quite a lot of work gets discarded along the way; and in this project I had to lose quite a lot. Over the course of making the film, the project became more streamlined in topic. There were sections relating to the digital female body in a wider sense (including fitness apps and naked selfies) that I discarded along the way.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
As I made the work, I received feedback from friends and peers fairly regularly. There have been several discussions leading from the work involving the positive and negative aspects of sourcing health advice online, and the commercialisation of feminism.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback allowed me to see the project from fresh perspectives, and helped me to be more ruthless in the editing process. It also helped me to navigate through making a work which has both essayistic and affective aspects (which was the biggest challenge for me).
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I would like to broaden my audience beyond the UK. I hope that greater visibility could lead to me to have conversations with other artists and filmmakers who are interested in similar subjects and/or ways of working.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I’m particularly interested in speaking to film festival directors and journalists; and I’m interested in online distribution too.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
A second-wave for women’s health activism!
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Has the digital health revolution empowered women to make choices about their own bodies and health care today?
Would you like to add anything else?
I’m keen to speak to anyone who wants to discuss the film with me. Please contact me through www.choterinafreer.com.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a film to be shown in an exhibition at Gotlands Konstmuseum in Sweden in early 2017. The film is part of a wider project called The Legacy Complex developed with 0s+1s collective. More details can be found here: http://www.0s1s.net/
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Women’s health activism and the digital health revolution
Length: 12 minutes
Director, Producer, Writer: Choterina Freer
About the writer, director and producer: Choterina’s videos are material manipulations of our digital environment; she composites taken and found footage, CGI animations, and hand-drawn graphics to examine and define a new digital social realism.
Key cast: Sonia Hedstrand, Anna Kinbom, Rut Karin Zettergren
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Distributors, film festival directors, journalists
Release date: 2016
Where can I watch it in the next month? London Feminist Film Festival, Rio Cinema Dalston, London on Saturday 20 August: https://londonfeministfilmfestival.com/