'First Day'.

Award-winning children’s series First Day and Luke Eve’s ReCancelled are among five projects to share in $1.3 million of online production funding from Screen Australia.

The ABC iview drama about transgender student Hannah Bradford will return for a four-part second series, along with fellow Rose d’Or Award nominee Cancelled, which was inspired by Eve’s experience during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Other projects also include Sunset Paradise, a new series from the creators of YouTube hit Meta Runner; as well as animated children’s series Ginger & the Vegesaurs and comedy series The Emu War.

Screen Australia senior online investment manager Lee Naimo said the projects showcased engaging storytelling across a mix of genres.

“We are always looking for projects that have solid pathways to audience and we are very impressed by the range shown in this slate, whether it’s via platforms such as ABC iview or targeting significant existing fan bases like Glitch Productions’ Sunset Paradise on YouTube and Luke Eve’s ReCancelled on Facebook,” he said.

The second iteration of Screen Australia and SBS’s Digital Originals initiative is also underway, with 12 teams selected to participate in the development workshops.

Naimo said there were a diverse range of projects within the program.

“It’s also great to be working with the next group of Digital Originals creators, who participated in workshops last week,” he said.

“The teams spent time developing their projects as well as hearing from workshop guests including Nisha Ganatra (Late Night), Warwick Thornton (Sweet Country), Ryan O’Connell (Special), Anna Dokoza (Lady Dynamite), Corrie Chen (Homecoming Queens), Richie Mehta (Delhi Crime), Vanessa Gazy (Eden) and Ronny Chieng (Ronny Chieng: International Student).

“The 12 projects are all so different – from dramas to thrillers, comedies to horror – it’s an incredibly strong group and we look forward to selected teams entering further development on their projects for SBS OnDemand.”

The projects to receive online production funding include:

  • First Day series 2: A four-part second series of the award-winning children’s drama for ABC iview, centred on transgender student Hannah Bradford (Evie Macdonald). This series follows Hannah in her second year at Hillview High as she sets out to change the culture at the school, and finds it’s only through working together that meaningful change can be achieved. Returning for series 2 is writer/director Julie Kalceff and producers Kirsty Stark and Kate Butler. They are joined by writers Eloise Brook and Martine Delaney (The Village). This project is financed with support from the South Australian Film Corporation.
  • Ginger & the Vegesaurs: A 20-part children’s animated series for ABC iview and YouTube set in a world dominated by Vegesaurs, the freshest and most delicious creatures ever to rule the planet. Ginger, a young plucky Tricarrotops, and her three baby Pea-Rex pals share adventures in a valley populated by a host of other Vegesaurs – some friendly, some not so much. Created by Gary Eck and Nick O’Sullivan whose credits include Happy Feet 2, the series was developed and will be produced by Cheeky Little Media. Eck and Sam Carroll (Grace Beside Me) lead the writing team and the series will be produced by Celine Goetz and executive produced by Patrick Egerton and David Webster who previously collaborated on Kangaroo Beach
  • ReCancelled: A six-part second series following on from COVID-inspired drama Cancelled, which has garnered over 2.5 million views on Facebook to date. Inspired by true events, the new series follows creators and stars Luke Eve and Maria Albiñana one year on from the start of the pandemic as they continue to navigate life in lockdown in Spain. Realising they still won’t be able to get married, life then throws them another curveball and the couple embark on this new challenge together in a life full of restrictions. ReCancelled is directed by Eve and written and produced by Eve and Albiñana. It is financed with support from Tourism Valencia and the Spanish Embassy Australia.
  • Sunset Paradise: A 10-part animated series for YouTube from Glitch Productions, the team behind hit series Meta Runner. This comedy-adventure series follows a young woman Meggy, who arrives on a tropical island for a holiday only to find a criminal conspiracy threatening the safety of the island. It’s up to Meggy to save the island from danger – and rescue her holiday plans. The pilot episode which launched in March has already amassed over 1 million views. Sunset Paradise is written by Jasmine Yang and Jasper Marlow, directed by Luke Lerdwichagul, and produced by Kevin Lerdwichagul.
  • The Emu War: A seven-part YouTube series inspired by the unbelievable true story of when Australia declared war on the emu population in 1932. This absurd comedy follows the platoon of soldiers who were sent to kill the emus but who were eventually defeated by the birds. The creative team features writer, director, and producer Lisa Fineberg and writer/directors John Campbell and Jay Morrissey who previously collaborated on Gocsy’s Classics, as well as writers and comedians Jonathan Schuster (Fancy Boy), Dane Simpson, and Urvi Majumdar.

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