Aussie broadcaster ABC Children’s has ordered a new live-action series from Epic Films and an animated preschool show from Cheeky Little Media.
Sydney-based Epic Films’ First Day (pictured) is based on an 18-minute standalone film of the same name that was made in 2017 as part of the ABC Children’s and Screen Australia initiative Girls, which funds promising female content makers from the country. The film also snapped up the inaugural Diversify TV Excellence award for kids programming at MIPCOM last year and the Gender Equity Prize at the 2018 Prix Jeunesse International Children’s Television Festival.
Written and directed by Julie Kalceff (Starting from Now), the four x 24-minute series follows transgender character Hannah as she copes with high school and transitioning into becoming a girl. Epic Films co-founder Kristy Stark (Unboxed) and Kate Croser (Top End Wedding) are producing. First Day is one of the first kids series that will explicitly follow the life of a transgender youth.
Meanwhile, Kangaroo Beach is a 26 x 11-minute comedy adventure from Cheeky Little Media (Kazoops) created by PJ Masks and Fireman Sam writer Tim Bain and executive produced by Cheeky co-founder Patrick Egerton. The series tags along with a koala, a platypus, a wombat and baby kangaroo who are lifeguards-in-training at Kangaroo Beach.
Both series are also going to receive undisclosed portions of US$4 million in new production funding from Screen Australia. The rest of the money will be split among three features and a pair of online projects, including a 10 x 12-minute animated YouTube series for teens entitled Meta Runner. The sci-fi comedy is produced by Glitch Productions and will premiere on the company’s YouTube channel SMG4 on July 25.
Additional funding for First Day is being provided by The Australian Children’s Television Foundation and the South Australian Film Corporation, while China’s UYoung Media is also supporting Kangaroo Beach.