Call for papers: XXIV Annual Graduate Student Conference, Feb. 9 & 10, 2023
School of Cinema, San Francisco State University
Extended deadline submission: November 15, 2022

“Requiem for Netflix? Reflections on Two Decades of Streaming”

Keynote Speaker: Juan Llamas-Rodriguez (Assistant Professor, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania)

The ability to engage with moving images without leaving the home on an increasingly dizzying number of devices and with more and more physically disparate audiences has forced a reckoning with the very nature of these images.

Throughout the first decades of the 21st century, companies like Netflix and Hulu found tremendous financial success in the production and distribution of films and television online, accruing vast economic and cultural capital as traditional theatrical distribution became less culturally dominant. Audience’s relationships with works distributed via the internet have taken on new styles as cinematic libraries are simultaneously more accessible and less stable, trends that were only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, recent financial headlines indicate that perhaps for some, the golden era is ending. As the 2020s begin services are losing subscribers in an increasingly proliferated market and culling their libraries in order to maximize profits during high profile mergers.

At the same time, services like YouTube, Twitch and TikTok have created new ways for filmmakers to share their work, and with them a new culture (and culture industry) has come to dominate these platforms. Audiences of these new images have developed unique relationships of production and consumption with their favorite “creators,” taking advantage of the perceived accessibility and authenticity of these non-professional or semi-professional producers.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, these personalized works became more popular both with audiences and producers.

Continuing the topic of our conference last year, “Relocating Cinema,” SFSU School of Cinema’s 24th annual graduate conference seeks to examine the state of cinema in the present moment, where audiences are more disparate than ever and analog home viewing is glossed over by disposable media, interactive content, and mass-produced global works. These forms of cinema merit examination as they emerge, come to crisis or mature in the early 2020s. We intend to look back to see how we arrived at this streaming dominated moment and look forward to see what may be coming next, as well as looking inward to question what these shifts have meant for us as audience members, scholars, and cinephiles.

Potential themes of presentation could include (but are by no means limited to):

  • Audiences’s interactions with streaming media: cinephile reactions to streaming, fandoms of digital producers, cultural impact of global television, streaming and the body, haptic media, online body genres, interactivity in streaming media, tastemaking
  • Questions of political economy and streaming: role of workers in the production of streaming material, the status of digital producers as workers, the commoditization of attention, piracy and counter piracy
  • Archive and library: streaming as archiving, unequal access to streaming material, exclusion of certain works from streaming libraries, the regulation of misinformation and inappropriate content, streaming platforms as distributors
  • Questions of infrastructure: the design of streaming platforms, the role of personalization in streaming experiences, predecessor analog technologies, the relationship between streaming and physical data infrastructure, streaming’s impact on the environment, cinema ecosystems

Please submit abstracts of 200-300 words and a short bio of 100 words  to by November 15th, 2022. We are accepting submissions from graduate students and postdoctoral scholars of all disciplinary backgrounds. Submissions could take the form of presentations, papers, or video essays. Participants will have 15-20 minutes to present their work. The conference will occur on February 9 & 10, 2023 in a hybrid mode (both online and in-person) and streamed live via Zoom. In your submission, please inform us if you are planning on attending online or in-person.