Cinema Australia Original Content:
Directed by Mimi Helm, Gemma Hall and Jacqueline Pelczar
Written by Aaron Moss
Starring Alexandra Nell, Megan Hollier and Jad Abid
Single Ladies follows the misadventures of unlikely trio Catherine, Nina and Hashim as they try to save their sex positive radio show from the conservative owners of the station.
Written by Mimi Helm
Single Ladies is an exploration of female friendship and sexuality told from the perspective of two adventurous and ambitious young women. Catherine and Nina run their sex positive radio show “Single Ladies Radio” with the help of their naive but lovable producer Hashim. Catherine is the punctilious powder keg to Nina’s chaotic spark, and together they make a formidable team. The six episodes follow the three characters as they try to save the show from being cancelled by the conservative radio station owners, and campaign for the sex lives of women everywhere. They encounter everything from bunny cults and strippers to ghostly ex-boyfriends on their riotous journey.
The series spawned from conversations between power-house lead actors Alexandra Nell and Megan Hollier and writer Aaron Moss. From there our amazing producer Joshua Gilbert approached myself and fellow co-directors Gemma Hall and Jacqueline Pelczar to create a distinctly female creative team. We successfully applied for Screenwest Elevate 30 funding and from there went into pre-production. The web series format was new to us three directors, and the pre-production process for us as a group was extensive conversations around how we could make this series cohesive in style, performance, and world, while still bringing our own unique skills and flairs to the project.
Our aim was to make a series that challenged people’s ideas on female sexuality in the most hilarious way possible. There are a few messages in Single Ladies, but the most important thing we wanted to convey was two autonomous women living their lives exactly how they want. We set out to make a female buddy comedy with characters that are relatable, flawed and charming. Considering the ominous state of women’s reproductive and sexual rights globally, we need to be telling stories that portray female sexuality in a positive light. Aside from offering hope to women who are struggling with the uncertainty of our future rights, it’s also important to normalise the idea of women taking agency over their own sexuality and representation.
One of the things that makes this project so special is the way it brought three female directors from very different walks of life together. Gemma, Jacqueline and I have had vastly different experiences and approaches in life, but we’re united fundamentally by our love for each other and our values, much like Catherine and Nina. Months and months of pre involved the three directors meeting over copious amounts of wine, pad thai, donuts and of course obligatory d&ms. Our discussions centered on everything from colour palettes to costume to making Spotify playlists reflecting the series vibe.
In addition to an all-female directing team and female leads, we had an abundance of other fantastic female HOD’s and crew on set and in the post process. It was a challenging shoot – we shot all six episodes in under ten days, with locations sprawled all across Perth as well as Pinjarra. We were also working with some pretty full-on injuries – producer Josh had broken his arm prior to the shoot and I had broken my hip, so that was an interesting experience! Even when the shoot was at its most gruelling, this was a crew that really supported each other in a way that I’ve never experienced before. It truly feels like every member of the crew gave a piece of themselves to this project, and the end result is this tapestry of laughs, quirks and magic that we are all very proud of.
We were fortunate enough to receive Screen Australia completion funding, which was incredibly helpful in the post process. We also had the help of production company The Office of John Cheese, who not only offered us an edit suite, but also endless advice. We were also super lucky to do our post sound with Cue Sound, who lent us their expertise and crazy sense of humour. The final edit day was bizarre, after spending over a year on the series, it was so sad to be at the end of the journey, and I may have had a bit of a meltdown on the way to the edit suite for the last time…However now we get to share it with the world, and that’s a pretty amazing thing.
Single Ladies is already making waves internationally. It has screened in the UK at Pilot Light TV Festival, and will screen in Sicily and Seoul at Sicily Webfest and Seoul Webfest respectively this year. This week it will screen in Melbourne at Melbourne Webfest. Our Australian premiere was a huge success, with a packed 300 seat cinema and plenty of laughs. My hope for this series is that it makes the women who watch it feel understood, the men who watch it think about how they perceive the women in their lives, and everyone who watches it laugh. The entire team is extremely grateful for the support we received from Screenwest and Screen Australia in making this project happen, and the many other people who supported us along the way. The entire Single Ladies series will be available to watch on Hyvio on the 22nd of July.
Single Ladies will debut Monday, 22 July on Hyvio. To view the entire series, visit https://hyvio.com/singleladies.
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