Everyone is on a journey to somewhere. It may take a week, it may take a month – but in some cases, all it takes is a sprinkle of determination and a buttload of resilience.
Forging your own unique path is something that These New South Whales (AUS), Sui Generis (BRA) and The Y Theory (BEL) all explore in their own way.
These New South Whales is the underdog tale of a generation. This incredibly real and not at all stylised documentary follows the immensely talented punk rock band across Australia on tour and closer towards signing that elusive record deal.
Described by Triple J as a “perfectly imperfect” mockumentary, you can’t help but admire the flawed characters of the band. “I think it’s important from an audience perspective to see the guys trying their hardest, even if they are deluded and floundering at times. There’s comedy in the desperation,” says Ben Timony, the co-creator, producer and co-director of the series.
Working alongside some of the most notorious musicians, it’s hard not to be in awe of the effort that these nipple taped hooligans have put into the series . “I remember when Jimmy Barnes came to the set to shoot his scene. He arrived with script in hand and said, “Boys you’ll have to excuse me, I have never acted before.” I thought he did a terrific job! We did quite a few takes on that scene and he offered something a little different and unique each take,” says Timony.
“We were also really lucky to get an interview with Roger O’Donnell from The Cure… we got along so well that we ended up asking him to come on board as an executive producer. Throughout the writing process we got a lot of tour anecdotes from Roger that made it into the final cut.”
Traveling around Australia is sure to have its trials, but none were so testing than the tour bus debacle, says Timony. “A big component and location of Season 2 is the gigantic over-the-top double decker tour bus. The driver would often ask where we’d like to park that night. It was the one thing I hadn’t planned for. I guess I just assumed he’d know where to park it. He did not.”
“My brother Jamie is the central character in the show and it’s been so great collaborating on this series together, where he is in front of the camera and I’m behind. We’ve been making videos together since we were 10 years old so it’s nice to be making our first show together,” says Timony.
The freedom of the web platform allows creators to make their content in the way that suits them. “We chose the web series format because our show works best at quite a fast pace. We felt we could get a lot into a 14-minute episode. Not many shows on TV are short form so putting it out digitally made the most sense,” says Timony.
Also following the path of the web series platform, Director of Sui Generis Roberto ‘(self-proclaimed) Supreme Leader’ Nascimento says he’s fascinated by the potential of the web format. “I have done a few other web series before (one of them played in the very first Melbourne WebFest). The format allows me to show a new story and a new character each episode.”
Sui Generis explores the swipe and fuck culture that is steadily growing in today’s society. It focuses on a variety of gay men and women as they chase a physical and emotional connection.
The inspiration from the series comes from Nascimento’s own experiences. “I’m a gay man and I have used grindr and tinder, so I’m familiar with some of the scenarios – some of them are actual things that happened to me and I adapted. As a gay artist I wanted to see a web show that has an anthology series format and deals with day to day situations, without making it overdramatic.”
“I wanted this show to be about relevant and relatable issues to gay men and women… it’s not about being gay or struggling with that,” says Nascimento.
Forging a new path is not the easiest thing to do, whether it is in your career or social life. Writers and directors, Caroline Taillet and Martin Landmeters, explores exactly this in their series The Y Theory.
“It is a rarity to find a bisexual protagonist (or even LGBTQ+). It was important to us to show that a bisexual person encounters many obstacles that they’re not prepared for, because they don’t have any role models. We wanted to show her path and how she deals with adversities to show what is going on inside her. Mostly because it is never shown.”
The series was inspired by a play that Taillet had written by the same title, based on her own experiences. “The play itself is based on the life and memories of Caroline. For the series, we also put a lot of what we experience in our everyday life as LGBTQ+ people living in Brussels,” say the co-directors. “Our series is about normality, or maybe not feeling normal. But, what does normal mean? It appeals to everyone who has ever wondered if he was straight, gay, bisexual or something else… who hasn’t?”
Even though the global acceptance of members of LGBTQ+ has increased substantially in the last few years alone, there are still many misconceptions that the community endure. “Bisexuality exists. It is not a phase, it does not mean that bisexual people are lost, cannot be in a relationship with someone, are cheaters, or need both a guy and a girl…. A lot of ideas still surround bisexuality,” says Taillet and Landmeters.
After creating The Y Theory, the pair has received immense support that really hits home. “We often receive messages from people saying things like “Thank god! At last a web series about us” or “Thank you, I ask myself the same questions as one of your characters”… Knowing that we really speak to our audience may be the best thing about it.”
No matter what path you decide to take in life, the path is your own, and that’s something you should be proud of.
Catch these series and more at Melbourne WebFest.