/News 18.08.21


Acclaimed South Australian children’s series First Day is set to break further ground in the US market with premium streamer Hulu coming on board for season two.

The return season of the multi award-winning series wrapped filming this month in Adelaide, where screen production has been able to continue safely through the COVID-19 pandemic. The four-part series stars transgender actor 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 Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Season two was shot at locations around Adelaide, South Australia, including at the SAFC’s Adelaide Studios, and will premiere on Australia’s ABC ME in 2022.

Director, writer and co-producer Julie Kalceff said the whole team was thrilled to welcome 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.

“The SAFC is thrilled to support this ground-breaking and multi award-winning children’s series going back into production for season two 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 South Australian 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.”

Beth Neate, Head of Production and Development, SAFC

First Day season one, released in 2020, has won multiple international awards including the 2021 BANFF World Media Festival Rockie Award for Best Live Action Series (Children 0-10), the 2021 Kidscreen Award for Best Live-Action Series, and a 2021 GLAAD Media Award for Most Outstanding Kids and Family Programming, for which it was the only non-US entry in its selected category, and the only Australian production to win a GLAAD Award this year.

In 2020, First Day won its category at the prestigious 59th Rose d’Or Awards, 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. In Australia the series was nominated for two AACTA Awards (Australian Academy Awards) for Best Children’s Program and for Best Screenplay in Television.

The series has received critical acclaim for its sensitive portrayal of a young girl’s experience being transgender; the New York Times called it “revelatory – (it) dares create a world in which trans youths don’t just endure but thrive”, while GLAAD Director of Transgender Representation Nick Adams told Chicago Pride the series was ”a wholesome, age-appropriate story about being yourself, and is a much-needed departure from transgender narratives that focus on medical transition and trauma. I hope viewers will watch First Day and learn more about the experiences of kids who are trans.

 First Day is produced by South Australian producers Kirsty Stark and Kate Butler, and written, directed and co-produced by Julie Kalceff.

Elena Liu as Olivia, Evie Macdonald as Hannah, and Nandini Rajagopal as Natalie in First Day S2 – photo by Matt Byrne

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Featured top image credit: Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Credit: SA Tourism Commission.