Rub-a-Dub Web Fest (Sorry)


Dublin Web Fest returns to Dublin’s Filmbase from November 18-20 offering, among other things, a look at some of the best international and domestic digital content around!


This year’s Dub Web Fest offers an opportunity to explore new series’ and online digital content in a number of genres from horror/sci fi, LGBT to comedy. Also planned are masterclasses and panels from industry professionals – including the Sound Design team behind Oscar winning film Room, as well as an actors and screen-writers panel.

Among the special guests attending are Irish actor Eddie Jackson of Games of Thrones and 12-year old director of Aphex Twin’s first music video since 1999.

Making its Irish debut at Dub Web Fest is Australian web series Starting from Now (November 20) 16:45 – 18:15 Drama, Screening Block VII, Basement). The brainchild of writer/director Julie Kalceff, Starting From has amassed over 30 million views before being picked up by an Australian TV network in March, 2016.

We caught up with Starting from Now‘s creator/writer/director Julie Kalceff ahead of Dub Web Fest to explore the antipodean angle on web series creation, marriage equality and her dream series casting.

Where did the idea for Starting From Now come from?

The original concept for the series – a woman moves to a new city and falls for her friend’s partner – began as a feature film script I wrote about 6 or 7 years ago. I wasn’t happy with the script and didn’t think it was working so I put it in my bottom drawer. Years later I was frustrated by the lack of diversity on screen and wanted to make a web series as a way of proving there was an audience for female-led content. I reworked the initial premise and wrote it as a series.

SFN has racked up over 30 million in more that 230 countries – did the popularity of the show come as a surprise?

It did. As I said, I wanted to prove there was an audience for diverse content. I’d done some research and I’d hoped to reach 100,000 views per episode. Season 1 surpassed that in the first few months and now a number of our episodes have views in the millions. This proves there’s an audience who is hungry for content and is looking beyond traditional forms of media to find it.

Season 4 was picked up by broadcast TV and screened in Australia. How did that feel? And will you have to compromise any elements of the show now that season 5 will also be aired on TV?

We had already shot Seasons 4 and 5 when they were acquired for broadcast. It meant we needed to re-cut those two seasons into 4 half-hours but we didn’t need to compromise any elements of the show. The storylines and the characters’ journeys remained the same.

My producing partner, Rosie Lourde (who also plays Darcy), and I spent the previous 8 months securing funding for those two seasons with the view of increasing the production values to broadcast quality and then approached the broadcaster to make that a reality. Rosie was instrumental in setting up and nurturing the relationships with both the broadcasters and the funding bodies.

Writer/ director Julie Kalceff (L) behind the scenes with Rosie Lourde

Are you inspired by other web series? 

Absolutely. There are so many wonderful series online and such a diversity of content. Before making Starting From Now I was inspired by Anyone But Me (dir: Tina Cesa Ward) which was a forerunner for lesbian online content; and also the work of Ingrid Jungermann and Desiree Akhavan in The Slope and then Ingrid’s follow up series ‘F to 7th’.

Who would your ideal cameo star be? 

I have been extremely lucky to work with such a talented and generous cast. Our four leads (Bianca Bradey, Sarah de Possesse, Rosie Lourde, Lauren Orrell) are the heart and soul of Starting From Now and have been on board from the very beginning. As far as an ideal cameo goes, I can’t go past Jodie Foster. I’m completely in awe of her as both an actor and a director.

Does/ has the show covered the topic of marriage equality? Is it something you plan to cover? What’s your personal feeling on the matter?

Starting From Now doesn’t cover the topic of marriage equality. The focus of the series isn’t on the sexuality of the characters but more on them as people. As such, we haven’t explored topics that are central to being a lesbian. Season 5 was the final season of Starting From Now. Rosie and I are currently developing a new series, a half-hour drama, called Torn that also centres around four female protagonists. There is scope in this series to explore topics such as marriage equality.

My personal feeling on the matter is that I can’t believe in 2016 we are still fighting to be treated equally. It’s destructive and it’s harmful to society as a whole but especially to anyone who identifies as other than heterosexual or cis-gendered.

The formally attired Starting from Now cast: Bianca Bradey, Sarah de Possesse, Rosie Lourde, Lauren Orrell

Do you have any advice for aspiring LGBT web series producers who might be reading this?

My advice is to trust your voice and tell the stories you want to tell. I spent a number of years trying desperately to write characters and stories that reflected what was seen in mainstream media. It was only when I decided to write about characters who meant something to me and tell stories I believed in that I found an audience.

The action kicks off at Filmbase, Temple Bar, on Friday at 6pm, with a opening reception where you can schmooze with the Veeps while sipping some Red Bull Cocktails and perusing the festival programme.

For full festival details, tickets etc., visit the Dublin Web Fest website.

© 2016 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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