Few people ever get an opportunity to live their dream, but that’s just what a group of York University film graduates are experiencing with the launch of a new web series, YEAR, set for tonight (Jan. 28) at the MOD Club in downtown Toronto.
YEAR offers a new take on the Zombie genre and presents a model for how high-quality film and web productions are being created through the collective pooling of the talent and production skills possessed by today’s new film graduates.
It was created and co-written by York film alumnus Adam Clark (BFA Spec. Hons.’11). York film grads Shannon Fewster (BFA Spec. Hons. ‘1O), Spencer Hahn (BFA Spec. Hons. ’14), Kelly Paoli (BFA Spec. Hons. ’13), Louisa Pang (BFA Spec. Hons. ’14) and Jenn Paul (third-year student) worked on the production in a variety of key roles. In addition to the crew, more than 50 York students from the film and theatre programs and McLaughlin College appear as extras.
“It’s long been my goal to create a high-quality web series,” says Clark, “so when I put out a call to students and grads of the Film Production Program and out to my college network, I had an overwhelming turnout for the first production meeting.”
Filmed in and around Toronto and Hamilton, YEAR tells the story of a father who is trying to protect his young son in a society dominated by the chaos that ensues in the aftermath of an epidemic caused by a hemorrhagic virus. Visually stunning, the production redefines the web series format because it was made using feature film quality production standards and equipment, including three high-definition RED cameras, state-of-the-art location sound, production design, special effects and an original soundtrack. Click here to view the series trailer.
In addition to the pilot episode, this evening’s launch marks the start of the YEAR Kickstarter campaign and the production’s digital comic book. Clark says the YEAR team is going directly to the Zombie and independent web series communities through a crowd-funding campaign. “We’ve opted for the Kickstarter route because the plot line is central to the magic of YEAR and the cast and crew felt it was important to retain the integrity of the YEAR concept.”
Tonight’s screening will also be a reunion of sorts, bringing the entire cast, crew and extras together to see their work on the big screen for the first time.
“With its unusual plot and state-of-the-art production values, YEAR has a story and look that rivals current series such as The Walking Dead,” says Clark. “We really feel that it has the potential to do very well.”
The extended network of young film talent working on YEAR continually cross paths and draw on the collective skill sets in their network. “We work on each other’s productions and want to continue to do so in the future,” says Clark (Anything Goes, Millions), who is the co-founder of Toronto Sound, provider of location sound, sound design and the musical score for YEAR. Fewster is a freelance production manager and producer (Broken Heart Syndrome), Paul works with Strada Films and Union Pictures (I Put A Hit On You), while Paoli is a producer with The Applebox Film Company (The Fall). Pang is an assistant director at Spectacle Media (My Bloody Bachelorette) and Hahn is an independent producer.
“It’s a new way of creating high quality productions because we share equipment and skills. With independent series such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black on Netflix, the film industry is becoming a place of opportunity for those with the talent, ingenuity and drive to make their dreams a reality,” says Clark.
For more information, visit www.yearseries.com.