Epic Films’ First Day has added an International Emmy to its extensive collection of awards, winning the Best Live Action category.
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 triumph at the October 12 ceremony.
Created by Julie Kalceff, First Day was originally commissioned by the ABC, where it aired in March 2020, and is produced by Kirsty Stark and Kate Croser for Epic Films in association with Kojo Entertainment.
Also involved are director of photography Meg White, production designer Robert Webb, costume designer Renate Henschke, and editor Christine Cheung.
The first season received funding from Screen Australia, South Australian Film Corporation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF), which holds worldwide distribution rights.
Stark was once again thankful for the recognition of the global community.
“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,” she said.
“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 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 two wrapped production in Adelaide in August, with investment from premium US streaming service Hulu, and will premiere on ABC ME in 2022.
CEO of the South Australian Film Corporation Kate Croser, who also produced the series prior to her role at the SAFC, said the Emmy was not only a win for First Day’s South Australian production companies Epic Films and KOJO, and for South Australia’s screen sector at large, but also 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.”
Libbie Doherty, ABC head of children’s, described the series as “a stunning team effort”.
“Australian stories are celebrated internationally for their authenticity, honesty and ambition,” she said.
“The ABC is proud to play a leading role in showcasing our homegrown content and creativity on the world stage.”