19 year-old Australian filmmaker Nicholas Carlton continues to make waves in US, with his teen drama web series OzGirl being selected for the Independent Television Festival in Los Angeles. The series caught our eye last November and later signed a distribution deal with KoldCast TV before its January launch.
Sophie Tilson stars as teenage country girl Sadie Brown who packs up and heads to the big city life of Melbourne, Australia where she tries her hand at photography and along the way meets a handful of new friends like Megan (Shanrah Wakefield) and potential love interest George (Richard Askin).
The vlog-style show seems to have struck a chord with former lonelygirl15 fans, many of which have been actively watching on Bebo and KoldCast TV while chatting the show up on web TV community forums at Anchor Cove. The OzGirl.tv site itself is also a community hub, built around social networking platform Ning.
In order to fund the trip to Los Angeles for the festival, the team has issued a call to action (see above), asking fans to buy a copy of the Season 1 DVD. They’ve set a rather modest goal of 200 DVDs sold in order to make the trip happen, though it looks like fans can also donate in lieu of shelling out $19.95 (AUS) for the DVD.
The DVD is full of what you’d expect — bloopers, commentary from Carlton and others, deleted scenes, etc. — though there’s also a full version of the live Q&A with cast and crew that capped off the first season. In all it’s about 6 hours of bonus footage, which isn’t bad for a 23-episode series that came in at around 120 minutes.
I asked Jenni Powell, a longtime lonelygirl15 fan and web series creator herself, what exactly drew the fanbase to the Australian series. “Initially it was the similarities to lonelygirl15,” she pointed out, “but what continues to keep them is the time that they took to create a personal connection with their audience.”
So personal in fact that Powell herself is writing a spinoff series of Shanrah Wakefield’s Megan character that will be shot back in Melbourne, Australia by Carlton and the OzGirl team. Powell added that Wakefield especially took the time to interact with fans both on and off the main site, participating in the conversations about the show around the web.