Australian YouTube hit Starting From … Now! makes jump to TV
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, the show is now moving to TV. It will screen on SBS 2 after its world premiere at the Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival in March.
“Starting From … Now! was a way to tell stories I felt were missing from Australian screens. We certainly never foresaw the series amassing 20 million views online,” said Kalceff. “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.”
Starting From … Now! joins 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.
“Starting From … Now! is the perfect example of a creative team understanding their audience and how to find them,” said Screen Australia’s Investment Manager Mike Cowap. “Our funding for the next iteration of their show has meant that Julie and her team could pursue even more ambitious storytelling. 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 added that, “The web series world has made it possible to build an audience and prove a concept which previously wouldn’t have been made. 20 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.”
Starting From … Now! has the distinction of having an all-female core cast, creative and producing team.
“As well as showcasing Sydney’s vibrant inner-west community, Starting From … Now! puts young, queer female characters at front and centre,” said Courtney Gibson, CEO Screen NSW. “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”.
Since its beginnings, Starting From … Now! 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 is thrilled that the award-winning web-drama series Starting From… Now! will 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.”
Starting From … Now! explores the lives of four Australian lesbians as they struggle to work out who they are, find a place where they belong, and maybe even find someone to love along the way. Season 4 picks up three months after the end of Season 3, with the characters having to deal with the repercussions of past events and the realisation that no amount of regret will get things back to the way they were.
1 March 2016: World Premiere of Season 4 (screened in full, 60 mins)
Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival, Event Cinema George Street
Tickets now on sale. Limited media comps available (contact Queer Screen)
7 March 2016: Television Premiere of Seasons 4 and 5 (screened in 4 x 30 minute episodes)
SBS 2 (followed by SBS On Demand)
Continues March 14, 21, 28
29 March 2016: YouTube and Vimeo Premiere of the new season (4)
Starting From Now YouTube Channel (free) or Vimeo On Demand (pay for view)
New episode released weekly, over 6 weeks
Mid-2016: YouTube Premiere of the next season (5)
Catch-up on Seasons 1 – 3 now on YouTube or on Vimeo On Demand and SBS On Demand from 22 February.