Franchesca Ramsey is returning to her roots. The ever-poised and polished YouTuber is dressed in bright colors and sports and a bold lip in the midst of the grey and white background of Sundance Film Festival. The comedian, YouTuber, journalist, actress and producer has returned to the film festival for the second year in a row with her new comedy docuseries, aptly titled Franchesca (at least for now.) This isn’t the pilot Ramsey recently sold to Comedy Central, Franchesca is something else entirely. A short form series which premiered under Sundance’s inaugural Indie Episodic section, Franchesca combines beauty and culture in the brilliant candid way Ramsey has mastered.
Sitting with director Kaitlin Fontana, the women speak enthusiastically about the origins of the series. “It was really collaborative,” Ramsey explained. “My manager introduced me to Kaitlin. They worked on a project together. I had a development deal with Topic to create something. We just weren’t really sure what we wanted to do, but we knew we wanted it to be very different from anything else we’d seen. I loved the idea of exploring beauty and culture because that was how I got my start on YouTube. I started making videos in my bathroom, and it really came out of the fact that there weren’t any natural hair videos. I needed help styling my hair and I didn’t know how. I was just very fortunate that I built an audience because there wasn’t anyone else doing it. Even though I wasn’t an authority, I think people connected with my passion and my honesty.”
Fontana was also interested in making sure the series stretched and expanded further than beauty and culture — examining some of the things Ramsey deals with on a daily basis as a Black woman in the public sphere. “I think that that’s an interesting and important part about the pilot,” she expressed. “Online abuse is something that Franchesca absolutely deals with. One of the first things she said in the pilot is, ‘No I’m not going to deal with this today. I’m hanging out with my friend today.’ I think that’s such a part of women’s lives. To compartmentalize so much of what we’re doing.”
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