Film & TV

SA-made ‘First Day’ wins international Emmy

Ground-breaking South Australian made children’s series First Day has won Best Live Action Series at the 2021 International Kids Emmy® Awards for global excellence in television.

Photo: First Day co-producer Kate Butler of KOJO, producer Kirsty Stark of Epic Films with producer and SAFC CEO Kate Croser

Ground-breaking South Australian made children’s series First Day has won Best Live Action Series at the 2021 International Kids Emmy® Awards for global excellence in television.

The four-part ABC series about a 12-year-old transgender student navigating her first terms at high school beat entries from the Philippines, Netherlands and Argentina to win the prestigious award.

Produced by South Australian producer Kirsty Stark of Epic Films, South Australian producer Kate Croser and South Australian co-producer Kate Butler of KOJO Entertainment, and written, directed and co-produced by Julie Kalceff, the series received principal production investment from Screen Australia, in association with the South Australian Film Corporation.

CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation Kate Croser, who also produced the series prior to her role at the SAFC, said: “This is not only a huge win for First Day’s South Australian production companies Epic Films and KOJO, and for South Australia’s screen sector at large, but a huge win for kindness and integrity in storytelling and authentic on-screen representation.

“The SAFC is so proud to have supported this ground-breaking and multi award-winning children’s series which has been a trailblazer for diversity both on and off screen, heralding young star Evie Macdonald as Australia’s first transgender actor in a leading role on Australian television.

“Congratulations to South Australian co-producer Kirsty Stark of Epic Films and Kate Butler of KOJO, writer, director and co-producer Julie Kalceff and the entire cast and crew whose work and commitment is rewarded with this prestigious international award.”

Producer Kirsty Stark said “First Day is the combined effort of our incredible cast, crew and supporters to bring an important story to the screen, and we’re so grateful to everyone who has been involved throughout the journey. An Emmy is a significant award and we’re thrilled that even more trans kids around the world will now have the opportunity to see themselves represented on TV.”

The International Kids Emmy® adds to First Day’s incredible list of accolades, including a 2021 GLAAD Media Award (Children and Youth) which honour media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBTQIA+ community, and the 2021 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 has been picked up around the world including in 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.

Season 2 wrapped production in Adelaide in August, with investment from premium US streaming service Hulu, and will premiere on ABC ME in 2022.

FIRST DAY was produced by Kirsty Stark (Unboxed) and Kate Croser (Top End Wedding), and co-produced by Kate Butler and Julie Kalceff. Director of Photography is Meg White, with Production Design by Robert Webb and Costume Design by Renate Henschke. Editor is Christine Cheung.

First Day Season One Production creditFirst Day is an Epic Films production in association with KOJO Entertainment developed and produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Principal production investment from Screen Australia, in association with the South Australian Film Corporation. International sales by Australian Children’s Television Foundation.

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