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Hulu boards Epic Films’ award-winning SA made children’s drama First Day

04 August 2021
Three schoolgirls in uniform standing outside a school, smiling at each other
Nandini Rajagopal, Evie Macdonald and Elena Liu on the set of First Day Season 2, photo by Matt Byrne

Production wrapped in Adelaide today on Season 2 of the ground-breaking and internationally acclaimed children’s series FIRST DAY. The 4-part series stars Evie Macdonald as transgender student Hannah Bradford and follows her experiences in her second year at Hillview High School.

Produced by South Australia’s Epic Films in association with KOJO Studios, First Day has investment from Hulu, Screen Australia, the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and the ABC.

Director, writer and co-producer Julie Kalceff said the whole team was thrilled to welcome US premium streaming service Hulu to the First Day family.

“We are grateful to audiences all over the world for embracing First Day and we are honoured to have the opportunity to further explore Hannah’s journey. We are thrilled to be partnering with US streamer Hulu, who are widely recognised for their commitment to diverse programming and are a natural fit for the story we are telling in First Day,” Kalceff said.

Three teenage girls standing closely in a line, smiling
Elena Liu as Olivia, Evie Macdonald as Hannah, and Nandini Rajagopal as Natalie in First Day Season 2, photo by Matt Byrne

Lee Naimo, Senior Online Investment Manager at Screen Australia said, “First Day brings viewers a well-crafted and authentic story that weaves humour and lightness in with an important message for young viewers. We were so proud to see this multi award-winning series make a mark around the world and I can’t wait to see it return with season two.”

Head of Production and Development at the SAFC Beth Neate said “The SAFC is thrilled to support production of season two of this ground-breaking and multi award-winning children’s series here in Adelaide. First Day has not only been a trailblazer for diversity on screen but off screen as well, and the SAFC is proud to be funding a paid attachment for a gender diverse screenmaker on series two. We congratulate SA producers Kirsty Stark and Kate Butler, writer/director Julie Kalceff and the entire First Day team on this beautiful and authentic series which has resonated with audiences around the world.”

ABC Head of Children’s Production Libbie Doherty said “The ABC ME audience are on the edge of their seats to see what happens next to Hannah in this new season of First Day – they won’t be disappointed! Evie Macdonald brings a stunning performance alongside the spectacular supporting cast and most excellent crew who have been working tirelessly in Adelaide to complete production. First Day continues to wow audiences all over the world and the commitment from Hulu is another fantastic example of Australian creatives delivering world class content. Huge congratulations to Creator / Director Julie Kalceff and Producers Kirsty Stark and Kate Butler who have led this production to great heights.”

First Day Season One, released in 2020, has been awarded multiple international accolades, including most recently, a GLAAD Media Award (Children and Youth) which honour media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBTQIA+ community, and the Kidscreen Award for Best Live-Action Series.

In 2020, First Day won its category at the prestigious 59th Rose d’Or Awards, voted on by over 80 international judges, First Prize in the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Live Action Television Category, the ATOM Award for Best Children’s Television Program and was a Finalist in the in the Primary Division of The Japan Prize. First Day was nominated for two AACTA Awards (Australian Academy Awards) for Best Children’s Program and for Best Screenplay in Television.

The series was picked up around the world including the US (Hulu), UK (CBBC), Canada (CBBC), Japan (NHK), France (France Télévisions and Okoo), Finland (YLE), Norway (NRK), Sweden (SVT), Denmark, Israel (Hot TV), New Zealand (TVNV), Taiwan (MOMOKIDS), Ireland, South Africa and Brazil.

First Day is produced by Kirsty Stark and Kate Butler, and written, directed and co-produced by Julie Kalceff. Director of Photography is Anna Howard ACS, with Production Design by Erica Brien and Costume Design by Oriana Merullo. Editor is Christine Cheung.

Production credit: First Day is an Epic Films production in association with KOJO Studios for Hulu. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with the South Australian Film Corporation and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Developed with the assistance of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation.

First Day Season Two was shot at locations around Adelaide, South Australia and will premiere on ABC ME next year.


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