Bringing her outstanding knowledge of the digital landscape with her, we’re extremely excited to welcome Julie Kalceff to the Melbourne WebFest Advisory Board.

Kalceff is an award-winning writer, director and producer, best known for her creative vision and the international hit online drama series Starting From Now. Attracting both critical and popular acclaim, the series has amassed over 130 million views from over 230 countries since it was first released. Going against the online comedy trend, it also created a web series model which is now used as a case-study around the world.

A graduate of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School with a Masters Degree in Scriptwriting, Kalceff has since founded the Sydney-based production company Common Language Films. She is passionate about raising public awareness around the lack of diversity on screen, paving the way by embedding diverse characters in stories with broad appeal. Kalceff is highly sought after as a speaker, panellist and judge at industry events and festivals.

In 2017, Julie was commissioned by the ABC to write, direct and co-produce First Day, a stand-alone television series which follows the story of a 12-year-old transgender girl starting high school. Released in 2019 as 4 half-hour children’s drama episodes, it is the first scripted television series in Australia to star a transgender actor in the lead role.

First Day won the MiPCOM Diversify TV’s Excellence Award for Kids’ Programming, 2018, and the Gender Equity Prize at the prestigious Prix Jeunesse International Children’s Television Festival, 2018. Kalceff also won the Best Screenplay Award (My Queer Career) at the Mardi Gras Film Festival, 2018, for her work on First Day, which additionally picked up the Audience Award. 

Kalceff continues to influence the shift of digital content and the growing landscape of diversity on screen – and believes web series and short form online content continue to create opportunities for emerging creatives to find their own voice.

“As online content becomes more prevalent and larger streaming platforms move into the short-form space, established writers, directors, producers, and actors are increasingly becoming attached to what were traditionally known as web series,” says Kalceff. 

“Web series festivals and funding support is becoming increasingly important as a means of protecting the emerging creatives whose voices are yet to be heard and whose stories are waiting to be told.”

Watch Kalceff’s new children’s drama series First Day on ABC iview.