AllieAllie Esslinger is a 2010 graduate of the GIPA program and concentrated in Media Studies and Governance & RIghts. During her time at The New School she took classes across the Political Science and Media departments and completed a Practicum with the Cities Alliance. Throughout the final years of GPIA, Allie was working with various production companies throughout the CIty, building off the hands-on classes she was taking. Allie is the founder of Section II, a recently launched online streaming service and production company focused on lesbian-related films and series. Section II is dedicated to the better representation of queer women in popular culture and launched a beta site in February, which allows for rentals and downloads of feature films, web series, and shorts.


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interview conducted by Benjamin Ace.


How did Section II come into existence?

I realized pretty early into the Netflix streaming phenomenon that there weren’t very many updates in the LGBTQ category. And, then, after looking into it more, I realized that the “G” was outnumbering the LBTQ titles by about 9:1. There are over 500 titles a year that play at festivals and center around queer female characters, but it’s really hard to find them outside of those premiere screenings.

Why is a platform like Section II important?

Section II of the Motion Picture Production Code outlawed lesbians on screen until 1968. Having a platform– a distribution channel and a production company– that address the underserved market that was created with censorship and still exists today is the baseline. But also an ecosystem that can sustain increased productions and more efficient distribution is pulling together technology and content so that fostering creativity and improving representation can be a viable next step in the fight  for LBTQ equality.

 Allie2Does Section II have any productions in the works?

We have a slate of features, television shows, and web series created by our network of writers, directors, stand-up comics. We are fundraising both for Section II as a Benefit Corporation and also Section II Films, the production company with projects ready for a greenlight.


What are some of the most popular titles featured on Section II?

We are lucky to have a great mix of classic films like DESERT HEARTS and LOVING ANNABELLE along with a crop of hilarious, slick web series like F TO 7TH and SOCIAL ANIMALS that offer more variety than any other site.


What vision do you have for Section II and what resources are needed to make that vision reality?

We are starting with this multi-platform network of streaming and VOD channels– a Netflix for lesbians. But with just 1% of self identified lesbians signing up for our email list– or ⅕ of 1% of the 56 million women in the United States who have had a same-sex experience– we have the opportunity to produce content at a pace that’s never been attempted and deliver to an audience that’s never had the chance to consume it’s fair share.

We are launching a crowd funding campaign on May 22 to push our first major web series into production and to beef up the next version of the site. We’re excited to begin reaching a larger audience and getting feedback on the content that we should be acquiring and creating most.

What aspect of GPIA has impacted your life and career post grad school?

I still have my GPIA friends, which I’m grateful for. But the practical, critical thinking I developed in GPIA, especially around the ideas of Power and Resistance, two classes I took, have shaped a lot of the philosophy and corporate culture at Section II. We find ourselves talking about #BetterRepresentation and self-distribution to the point that it feels like a school of thought sometimes. And I definitely learned how to articulate my interpretations and personal responsibilities in relation to them, at the New School.

We’re certainly gearing up for a Net Neutrality decision that will weigh heavily with the ideas of Power and access that I read and wrote about non-stop.

What advice do you have for current GPIA students?

I think I was always waiting to understand the application of theory to practice, but I wish I’d realized that I could be getting my hands dirty a lot earlier had I realized that finding ways to apply it personally was more valuable than looking for a template or a pre-existing point of intersection.