Epic Films’ First Day has attracted further international interest, with Japan’s public broadcaster NHK acquiring the series from the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF).
The award-winning children’s drama stars young transgender actor Evie Macdonald as Hannah Bradford, a transgender girl about to start her first year of high school.
Hannah not only has to navigate the challenges that come with starting a new school, but find the courage to live as her most authentic self.
Originally commissioned by the ABC, First Day was created by writer/director Julie Kalceff and produced by Kirsty Stark and Kate Croser for Epic Films in association with Kojo Entertainment.
Screen Australia led the investment, in association with the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and the ACTF, which has distributed the series internationally.
Since its launch, First Day has been acquired by several broadcasters across the globe including US SVOD streamer Hulu, BBC’s children’s channel CBBC (UK), RTE (Ireland), YLE (Finland), NRK (Norway), SVT (Sweden) and MOMOKids (Taiwan).
It has also won several awards including the 2020 Kidscreen Awards, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, and Rose d’Or Festival.
In 2019, NHK acquired the original short First Day on which the series is based.
First Day is scheduled to air on the pubcaster in June as part of their “Inclusion Week”.
NHK programming department senior producer Takako Hayashi said it was “very pleased and proud” to deliver the “universal message” of the drama series to viewers in Japan.
“We are confident that the young viewers who watch this program will immediately feel that this is THEIR story,” she said.
“I strongly believe that this program will definitely be an important first step forward for Japan to become a country where every one of us has our own place to live.”
ACTF CEO Jenny Buckland said the acquisition was emblematic of the show’s broad appeal.
“It’s a very special day when NHK acquires one of our shows, but the values that underpin First Day – of love, courage, and inclusion – are proving to be universal,” she said.
“We’re very proud that children in Japan will be able to see this story, too.”