LGBTQIA+ web series will hit the Melbourne WebFest screens in 2019, widening viewership of all forms of love as a part of this year’s selection.
Selected for both the Official Selection and Spotlight Selections, we delve into the lives of a variety of characters on emotional and unique adventures.
Cloudy River (AUS), Ding Dong I’m Gay (AUS), Sui Generis (NZ) and Weaving Rainbows (Pasifika, NZ), each share with us love, rejection, humour, understanding and acceptance in all forms.
Official Selection web series Cloudy River, directed by Charlie Ford and Sophie Hardcastle, takes you on the unique journey of Emma (Cloudy) and River.
The two creative characters see the world from all angles and make efforts to define emotional boundaries together, explains Hardcastle.
“Cloudy River celebrates love in all forms, and we’re hoping to show that love can be fluid and multiple, and that being open doesn’t cheapen a relationship, but rather be an alternative that is just as valid. We want to show audiences the legitimacy and inclusivity of pansexuality. Love is love, whatever form it takes.”
Audiences are taken on the emotional journey of the pair and share an intimate look into complications as their relationship unfolds, whilst jealousy and denial grow.
“Emma (Cloudy) and River are constantly pushing the boundaries of a conventional relationship, so it was only natural that they would experience doubts as they go against the norm. We wrote these characters to be flawed, but they find a middle ground, meeting each other in the in-between,” says Hardcastle.
Through finding inspiration from their very own pansexual experience in 2017, Hardcastle and Ford aimed to show audiences the instances that present themselves when in an open relationship.
“We aimed to show the weird and wonderful situations that present themselves in an open relationship. Everything from the joy of experiencing love’s multiplicity, to the comedy of dropping each other off on dates, to the heartache of feeling alone in a relationship that promises love from all angles”.
On the other side of emotions, Ding Dong I’m Gay gives a comedic and fun approach to the lives of Toby and Cam.
The series’ story follows Cam, an overachieving neurotic who reluctantly becomes a gay guru to his naive newly-out cousin Toby, all the while deflecting the best intentions of his enthusiastic and dysfunctional friendship circle.
Producer Tim Spencer explains ‘the queer experience’ is about seeing the world differently and finding the people who love and support you.
“It’s definitely not all rainbows and unicorns. Just like every community, there are big challenges for our health and happiness. We created Ding Dong I’m Gay to look at this stuff in a creative and lighthearted way, particularly modern issues around technology and mental health”.
Ding Dong I’m Gay may be seen as relatable for newly-out homosexuals, who do not know what to expect and too hold a kindred sense of naivety through the character of Toby.
Spencer takes the characters of Toby and Cam and compares them as polar opposites, revealing the different sides to a person.
“Cam has the deep cynicism of someone who has been burned too many times, and Toby has the naive positivity of someone who thinks being gay is all tank tops and Snapchat filters. Deep down though, both are desperate,” says Spencer.
Another series which gives an insight into the lives of many is Sui Generis, created by Roberto Nascimento.
Sui Generis takes us on a journey into the world of phone apps and easy sexual encounters, taking a glimpse into the lives of several gay men and women as they chase after the physical and emotional connection we all long to have.
In finding inspiration from his own personal experiences, Nascimento wanted to make Sui Generis relevant to audiences by showcasing the world of dating through accessible dating apps.
“I didn’t want to shy away from the fact that we get lots of rejection and we face issues like that, I hope that is relatable to other LGBTQIA+ people”.
The word Sui Generis is unique alone, holding a sense of curiosity by audiences on what it exactly means. Back in the early 90’s, in Brazil, the word Sui Generis was being used to describe LGBT content, Nascimento explains.
“Sui Generis means unique, of its own, nothing else like. I wanted a title that didn’t need to be translated and also made people curious about it. Dating and dating apps are an endless source of inspiration and bizarre stories, so I wanted to keep exploring it. We all want the same – to find something: attention, friendship, connection, love, sex, whatever.”
With fun and love, also comes self-acceptance. Weaving Rainbows brings audiences to the forefront of acceptance of both yourself and from your wider community.
Sharing the stories of those within the Pasifika rainbow community, Producer Elizabeth Koroivulaono shares an intimate insight into the lives of the LGBTQIA+ – the joys, the challenges, the celebrations and the negotiations with the world that are involved in day-to-day living.
“The messages that each episode of the Weaving Rainbows series brings is self-acceptance, acceptance from your wider community and courage. It is important to have a strong support network, and to know what happiness means to each of us, and most importantly, to be true to yourself,” says Koroivulaono.
Weaving Rainbows stays true to the essence of what the web series is about throughout each episode; the celebration of diversity and owning your truth.
“When I came out to my parents, I was 21 and the biggest challenge I faced was accepting it myself.. but once I [did] a courage I never knew existed took over and I slowly started telling my family and close group of friends. You have to accept who you are first, and unapologetically have the courage to be true to yourself,” says Koroviulaono.
Koroviulaono wants to connect with the audiences through different people and the narratives of their journeys of self-acceptance.
“Every story we share throughout the series resonates with me in a different way. What I found really special and humbling, was the common theme of overcoming adversity and every talents journey of self-acceptance. It is a theme that I hope resonates with audiences”.
From the creative storylines to the emotional and heart-pondering moments, each one holds a message and a story.
Resonating amongst all four web series is this – embrace who you are, because you’re an own individual, and that’s awesome.