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8 online originals to watch now

From new YouTube series to short films and quirky IGTV clips, we’ve put together a list of some new online originals you can watch right now and for free.

Looking for a fresh comedy series to binge? Or maybe you want some easy-to-watch content for your phone? Well look no further because there are plenty of new narrative online originals that you can sink your teeth into and they’re across a variety of platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, ABC iview and SBS On Demand. Check out these Screen Australia funded titles below:

Cancelled

Cancelled

In March this year Australian filmmaker Luke Eve (High Life) and his fiancée Maria Albiñana were due to be married in Spain. But two days out, they had to cancel the wedding just before strict lockdown measures were put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Stuck in an apartment alongside Eve’s mother Karen, the trio have turned the setback into a slick online series based on their own experiences (albeit slightly dramatised), all filmed entirely on an iPhone 10. Written and created by Eve and Albiñana and combining life and art, Cancelled follows the highs and lows, tears, frustration and laughter as the three navigate their new living situation. Episodes are releasing weekly and you can watch the first eight on Facebook here

Check out Cancelled: Behind the Scenes here

Cloudy River

Cloudy River

Online drama Cloudy River is a modern romantic story about an open relationship between pan-sexual artist Emma (aka Cloudy) and musician River that’s built on fluidity and freedom. It celebrates the diversity of love and explores sexuality and the challenges of finding a sense of identity as a young adult. The film is inspired by the real-life experiences of co-writers and co-directors Sophie Hardcastle and Charlie Ford who are hoping to turn Cloudy River into an episodic drama of 6 x 1 hour episodes. The film premiered at the Queer Screen’s 27th Mardi Gras Film Festival earlier this year to a sold out screening and has been selected for both the upcoming Toronto and Seoul WebFests.

You can watch it on SBS On Demand here

Content

Content is Australia’s first ever vertical comedy series, made specifically for mobile. From the creators of Bluey (Ludo Studios), the innovative seven-part show follows Lucy, a recent uni graduate living in Brisbane with her best friend Daisy. While Daisy is trying to focus on her career, Lucy is chasing internet fame after a live stream video of her crashing her car goes viral (side note: it was so authentic that a 30-second clip from the first episode did in fact go viral when people thought it was real). Cue Mukbang videos, “inspirational” yoga posts and online make-up tutorials. Because of the nature of the show, the narrative is shown through the perspective of Lucy’s phone via apps like FaceTime, Tinder, Facebook and Instagram. At the core of Content though is the friendship between Daisy and Lucy and it shows the effects (both good and bad) of internet narcissism and chasing online fame.

Watch on ABC iview here or YouTube here 

Girl, Interpreted

This five-part bilingual series follows Lillian, a nervous Mandarin interpreter, as she stumbles and stutters through awkward and entertaining situations full of language faux-pas and cultural misunderstandings. Her assignments range from translating for an elderly patient getting a prostate check to helping out an online sensation live-stream Mukbang. Creator/writer/director Grace Feng Fang Juan called on her own professional experience as an interpreter when creating the series and captures the struggles of Chinese migrants caught between two cultures in a playful way.

You can watch all five episodes on YouTube here

KGB

Written and directed by Indigenous filmmakers Dan and Luke Riches, KGB is not a series on the Russian secret police but rather an acronym for the three “notorious” Perth suburbs of Koondoola, Girrawheen and Balga. The satirical comedy follows two rookie Indigenous detectives - hot-headed “tough guy” Jack and the gentle and slightly ditzy Nigel - as they try to crack a meth lab explosion case. There’s everything from getting outsmarted by cocky kids and trying to one-up their work rivals, to blatant drug dealing and DIY weed-growing videos. It pokes fun at the police and the KGB neighbourhoods in an affectionate way as Jack and Nigel regularly have to choose between community and family loyalty versus their duties as cops. All five episodes are available on ABC iview here and YouTube here

Moments of Clarity

Moments of Clarity is a new animated comedy from writer/director Tim Logan that follows a neurotic bearded man and his wise furry sidekick Ra (the dog) as they confront the existential truths of ordinary life. It was built from the comic strip of the same name and covers everything from friendship dynamics, fitness regimes and surprise parties to discussions on Australia’s cultural identity and the thrills (or lack thereof) of dating. Each bite-size episode is between one to two minutes long so do yourself a favour and go check out this series (which has also just been selected as part of Melbourne WebFest and nominated for best animation and best screenplay). You can watch the episodes on Instagram here and TikTok here

Rebooted

Award-winning short film Rebooted tells the story of Phil, a stop-motion animated skeleton from the 1960s who can no longer find work in the age of CGI and cutting edge special effects. When he finds out he’s been left out of the reboot of the film he was created for, he and his band of eccentric characters, made up of fellow outdated creations, decide they must stop the production. A short film that pays homage to Hollywood’s golden age, Rebooted is told with no dialogue and captures feelings of melancholy, nostalgia, absurdity and suspense. Writer and director Michael Shanks describes it as “a love letter to old school movie magic”. The film has amassed more than 1.5m views on YouTube and you can watch it above.

Sex and Death

Created by and starring Kathleen Lee, Sex and Death is an off-beat rom com seen through the eyes of neurodiverse Charlie, an acting student in her mid-20s contently living in the shadows of her best friend and boyfriend. When Charlie meets Pat, she’s forced to confront her emotions and stop hiding behind her facade. Set and filmed in Melbourne, the semi-autobiographical six-part series follows the entangled lives of four friends in an exploration of love, friendship, heartache and self-acceptance. Watch all six episodes on YouTube here

Also keep an eye out for Lee’s next project in the works, a show exploring life with Autism Spectrum Disorder after her diagnosis.

Another one to look out for: Ding Dong I’m Gay

Coming to YouTube on 22 July is new queer-positive comedy Ding Dong I’m Gay from award-winning writer Tim Spencer. It follows over-achieving people-pleaser Cameron as he mentors his newly out-and-proud country cousin through the urban gay experience. The pilot, which acted as a proof of concept for the six-part series, released on YouTube two years ago and has already been viewed more than 2.6 million times.

Watch the trailer here