SBS snaps up Aussie online hit after 20 million YouTube hits
Starting From … Now!
Australian YouTube hit Starting From … Now! has made the jump to TV and will screen on SBS 2 after its world premiere at the Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival in March.
The announcement of a television screening comes almost two years to the day after writer/director Julie Kalceff published the first seven-minute, self-funded episode of her drama Starting From … Now! on YouTube.
Kalceff said the show was a way to tell stories she felt were missing from Australian screens.
"We certainly never foresaw the series amassing 20 million views online,” she said.
“I was really heartened that both Screen Australia and Screen NSW wanted to help us take the show to the next level. The production values and the quality of the show overall have dramatically increased as a result.”
The creators join a growing group of content creators that Screen Australia has ushered from digital beginnings to broadcast including The Katering Show, The Wizards of Aus, Soul Mates and forthcoming series from both Fancy Boy and Skit Box.
Screen Australia investment manager, Mike Cowap, said Starting From … Now! was the perfect example of a creative team understanding their audience and how to find them.
“Our funding for the next iteration of their show has meant that Julie and her team could pursue even more ambitious storytelling," he said.
"We’re thrilled that Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival and SBS have helped Screen Australia to make it happen.”
Producer and cast member Rosie Lourde said: “The web series world has made it possible to build an audience and prove a concept which previously wouldn’t have been made," she said.
"Twenty million views is huge, and you simply can’t argue with the numbers – we’re excited the industry is taking this format seriously.
"We’re grateful to both Screen Australia and Screen NSW for not only supporting our series, but for the initiatives they’ve put in place to support female filmmakers in general.”
It has an all-female core cast, creative and producing team.
Screen NSW chief executive, Courtney Gibson, said, "as well as showcasing Sydney’s vibrant inner-west community, Starting From … Now! puts young, queer female characters at front and centre," she said.
“We hope the jump to television will see the series find an even bigger audience and propel the team into the next phase of their careers”.
It has screened at over a dozen international web series festivals, winning best web series at the SHE WebFest 2005.
It has also proved to be a career builder for its cast, with Sarah de Possesse winning Best Supporting Actress at the prestigious NYC WebFest awards.
SBS director of television and online content, Marshall Heald, said SBS was thrilled that the award-winning web-drama series would premiere on SBS 2, after three popular seasons online.
"SBS is always looking for content and stories to bring to its broader audience that explore, appreciate and celebrate diversity. With its compelling storytelling and already established fan base, we’re confident that Starting From… Now! will enjoy its new home and audience on SBS 2.”