A legend can be many different things. From a tales of one person’s journey for survival in Otsoen Lurraldean (In the Land of the Wolves) (ESP) to the forgotten story of a nation in Indictus: The Land is No Ones (ITA). These are the classic forms of legends.
Then there are more abstract ideas of what a legend is. Turning the expectations and legends of a nation on their heads in order to terrify is Ao-terror-oa (NZ). Then the fears of the future with what we’re going to create with Terror 404 (CAN). Legends are all about stories and these web series forge their own path.
Otsoen Lurraldean (In the Land of Wolves) (ESP) is a highly stylistic post-apocalyptic series about an asocial woman and her dog trying to survive.
The series focuses on the female character Hodei and her dog searching for water in a mad land. The series is grounded in Basque myths and symbolism, cultural mythology that builds upon the four elements of fire, earth, air and water. The characters in the series are based on the magical creatures in these myths.
“We wanted to help disseminate the Basque language and culture around the world with a series that is very international,” says Rose of Dolls, the Director of Photography and an actress in the series.
Rose of Dolls explains that a strong female lead was a key goal of the series. “We need different female roles, we don’t just need women writing, directing and in leading roles. We need a woman in what have been ‘men roles’ until now”.
The main character’s name is Basque and the name is purposely agender. “Not only is she a woman, she is also bisexual and doesn’t give a crap about what anyone thinks. In a mad land, in a wolf land, gender does not matter, only surviving matters,” says
The series is very stylistic, most notably in a filter over the series to give it a look of watching it on a VHS tape. This is used to transport it’s audience to another era, Rose of Dolls says, “We chose this style to help tell an atemporal story, but give it a very geeky, different touch.”
“What I like most about the series is we risked a lot and took chances in the editing, the directing, the lighting and in the art department. We almost took it too far. But it worked!”
From the story of an individual’s fight to a battle for the survival of a nation.
Indictus: The Land Is No Ones (ITA) is a historical retelling of an old legend. It is the legend of “46 Norman soldiers that with the help of Saint George killed 3000 Arabs in a single night in 1063. After that night, Sicily became an easy conquest for the military forces of France”.
Francesco Dinolfo the Director, Screenwriter, and Editor of the series wanted to tell a story not seen in books that highlighted hidden places within his country of Sicily.
The creator’s favourite aspect of the narrative is the hidden mechanisms of the Indictus. “The events are juxtaposed with the brief digressions called Indictus (literally [meaning], what is not said) that subvert the plot and provide two different points of view: the classic story told by the winners and the ones of the vanquished,” Dinolfo says.
The land is also a large focus. Filmed in Sicily, the landscape shown is beautiful. When asked what his favourite location to film was, Francesco found it hard to pick one.
“The castle of Caccamo was one of the most beautiful places, but also the caves of Sperlinga and the Pyramid on the Sicilian coast. Pure Magic,” Dinolfo says.
“I wanted to give voice to my land, to the story that made it so beautiful and fascinating.”
Another series that is influenced by its setting is Ao-Terror-Oa (NZ), a horror anthology series set in New Zealand that aims to turn everything you love about the country on its head.
“New Zealand has an international reputation of being clean and green and amazing. And we are. We thought we would flip it and show the world a different flavour of New Zealand.”
Producer and Co-Director of Ao-Terror-Oa, Hweiling Ow, has episodes each based on ideas all relating to New Zealand. Having the central idea of the anthology as the country assists the style of the series greatly, combining humour as well as horror.
“It grounded the show in a particular country- and we could work with the cultural nuances that belong to this country. Also, most of our relationships are built in this country,” says Ow.
With the web series format, it allows for creative freedom with the stories Ow says. Choosing to make it an anthology series “allows the flexibility of exploring different themes within the same world. Stories don’t have to be connected by any particular character.”
Instead of using a country as an inspiration, Terreur 404 (CAN) decides to use phone applications to delve into people’s fears around new technology.
Terreur 404 is a horror anthology series centred around the question: ‘What’s the worse thing that can happen using any given modern app?’
The screenwriter and co-creator Samuel Archibald says the series is inspired by horror anthology series of old like The Outer Limit, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
The series aims to get under the viewer’s skin, says Archibald. “We wanted people to be afraid next time they use an AirBNB or Uber or Tinder or whatever. Basically, we’re trying to ruin your weekend.”
The process of creating the series was listing of different apps and technology the team wanted to cover, then brainstorming different story ideas for each. As well as this, friends and relatives were asked if something creepy happened to them while using the internet.
A lot of work was put in to keep the stories fresh with surprising twists. “ We knew we wanted to imagine nightmarish turns of events for different technologies but, you know, it couldn’t always be the main character ended up being killed by a maniac or something like that. Our worst-case scenario had to become much more flasher and weirder than that,” says Archibald.
Archibald’s favourite aspect of the series is in its universal reach, having won multiple awards overseas.
“It turns something very Québécois in tone and setting into something universal in its appeal by its choice of themes”