Five Questions with our 2018 [Interactive] Incubator Winners

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Launched in 2014, the Incubator Project focuses on storytelling and connects creators with the expertise to help develop, focus and network their projects. This year’s new focus is women who want to develop and produce their first scripted web series. We asked this year’s participants five questions about their web series.

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Sarah Gignac (With Andrea Levesque) The Defective Detectives

1) Can you describe your web series in one sentence?

Staring down the barrel of midlife crises, tech tycoon Abigail and professional craftster Violet go overboard with their British Detective TV obsessions, and end up entangled in a real life crime caper.

2) How do you imagine the future of web series? Where would your web series fit in?

The beauty of web series' is that they can be whatever we want them to be. They have the potential to provide content that is missing or under represented on more conventional content providers. My partner Andrea Levesque and I are passionate about making shows that we want to watch full of characters we don't often see in our favourite shows.

3) What web series inspired yours (if any)?

Baroness Von Sketch, Narcoleap - and a lot of British Detective shows!

4) How well do you think women are currently represented in popular web series?

N/A

5) What forum panel are you most excited about?

I'm particularly looking forward to "Web Series Workshop with the IPF" and the Face 2 Face pitches!

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Jordan Steinhauer (with Atong Ater) Absorbed

1) Can you describe your web series in one sentence?

If saving the world means losing yourself, what would you do?

2) How do you imagine the future of web series? Where would your web series fit in?

Through three seasons of eight 10-minute episodes, Absorbed is a critique on the lives society has created for modern female minority millennials. We delve into topics like mental health, personal safety and trying to get ahead in an impossible job market - all while juggling superpowers. We hope that our webseries will speak to other female millenials.

We believe that webseries provide a platform for diverse narratives that are often neglected by traditional media, which is why we are excited to bring Absorbed to life. Hopefully our series will not only speak to our generation, but be accessible to a wide audience.

3) What web series inspired yours (if any)?

We were intrigued by the idea of a hero who is just struggling in this world to get by. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl combined with big superhero movies or shows helped inspired our story. Those inspirations along with our own personal experiences trying to make it in a competitive and unforgiving market, while struggling with our own internal conflicts helped to bring Absorbed to life.

4) How well do you think women are currently represented in popular web series?

We think web series by their very nature offer a platform for more diverse voices. The barrier to entry is low compared to traditional broadcasters and the creators can get their content to directly to the audience. We can’t speak to female representation in popular web series at-large, but we see there is an opportunity to add to the diversity of female representation in web series -- especially that of marginalized female voices. By including female representation in web series, we have an opportunity to explore the experiences and points of views of a group that may not be explored in wider popular culture.

5) What forum panel are you most excited about?

While we are excited for the entire festival, the webseries workshop along with funding 101 will really help us bring our project to life!

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Ireme Duma (with Stacy Gardner) I Think I See The Sun

1) Can you describe your web series in one sentence?

Our web series follows the hysterical adventures of Mary and Jane, two St. John’s newcomers on the run from disastrous marriages, wrecked finances and other “poor life choices,” who after realizing they they’ve spent the best years of their life supporting other people's goals, are now determined to put themselves, and their dreams of becoming successful artists, first.

2) How do you imagine the future of web series? Where will your web series fit in?

The future of web series is now! Leading the brigade for stories for women 45+.

3) What web series inspired yours (if any)?

Our web series is Older “Broad City”.

4) How well do you think women are currently represented in popular web series?

Better than most forms because women are producing them themselves. But our demographic isn’t well represented, and that’s why we are stepping in.

5) What forum panel are you most excited about?

Women in Comedy. We’re all about the comedy.

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Kerry Gamberg Askin’ For It

1) Can you describe your web series in one sentence?

Askin’ For It (aka #SQUAD) follows three ride or die high school bffs who are forced to tackle the issues of assault and consent head on.

2) How do you imagine the future of web series? Where would your web series fit in?

I’m looking to tap into the young adult market, and web is where that demo consumes their media. The instagrammers and snapchatters. I’m really excited about the medium and the lack of creative borders, as well as the endless potential for supplemental content or stories and character crossovers. The sky is the limit with digital content!

3) What web series inspired yours (if any)?

I’m a huge fan of Hannah Cheeseman’s Whatever Linda. It’s a wicked premise with TV level production quality and design. And of course I’m super inspired by all things Broad City. Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson are total inspo.

4) How well do you think women are currently represented in popular web series?

I think it’s a more accessible platform, which in turn results in more diverse storytelling, perspectives and casting. For not just women, but for all voices that are traditionally marginalized.

5) What forum panel are you most excited about?

Women in Comedy!! I’m a huge fan of Jordan Canning’s, and have been following her success closely. And I’m just so inspired and relate so closely to women making comedy. ALSO! Anna Serner speaking on the Diversity in Film Panel. Anna is THE WOMAN who pushed for gender parity in the Swedish film industry. She’s an absolute hero who’s mandate and enforcement is making waves all over the world.

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Shelley Thompson Condo Coven

1) Can you describe your web series in one sentence?

An allegory for the women's movement after Trump, the Condo Coven gals begin in a low-rent apartment building, and progress to their dream of a high-end Condo, as they discover the powerful magic that comes from working together.

2) How do you imagine the future of web series? Where would your web series fit in?

I'd like to imagine that web series would move from being a youth-focused phenomenon to something recognizing that even people over 50 know how to use computers and watch things on the web; aiming things at the older, and more populous demographic would be great! It wouldn't fit in, it would create a new trend.

3) What web series inspired yours (if any)?

Nope. Nothing. Closest are TV models from ancient history: Gilligans Island, the Gilmore Girls, Golden Girls - all the G series you can think of with intergeneration friendships at the centre. Maybe Letterkenny in an apartment, only for women, with a focus on trying to more complete human beings. Nope. Not Letterkenny after all.

4) How well do you think women are currently represented in popular web series?

In a young way. There are a few women over 45, but count 'em - and get back to me if you complete one hand.

5) What forum panel are you most excited about?

Women in comedy, The IPF. Really useful, interesting, galvanizing.

Katie Thomspon