Tag Archives: web series

Web series Ghost BFF puts the focus on mental health via two friends. And one of them is dead.

It’s important to talk about mental health. And while Bell does a great job stressing that one day a year in January, it’s something that should be done the other 364 days too.

Launching its first season of 11 episodes, Ghost BFF is available for streaming on Elizabeth Banks’ WhoHaHa’s website now. The brainchild of creator Vanessa Matsui (Lost Girl, Seed), Ghost BFF explores suicide and mental health through the eyes of Amy (Matsui). It’s been three years since Amy’s best friend, Tara (Tiio Horn, Letterkenny) died of a drug overdose. Amy has given up painting, is engaged to Mitchell (Dan Beirne, Space Riders: Division Earth) and battles with anxiety and a bad tummy. Suddenly, Tara appears—her ghost BFF, get it?—and throws Amy’s life into total disarray.

For Matsui, the idea for Ghost BFF came from a deeply personal place.

(l-r) Cristina Rosato and Vanessa Matsui

“It’s loosely inspired by a time when one of my best friends, following a period of depression, almost died by suicide,” Matsui says. “It was a very dark time. And, also, it was coupled with wanting to create my own work and being inspired by incredible female creators.” Ghost BFF is a project three years in the making, first as a short play Matsui performed in a friend’s basement before the possibility of being a short film was explored; ultimately Matsui pitched Ghost BFF as a web series to Katie Nolan (Hot Mom), who partnered to co-write and co-produce it.

The Centre for Mindfulness Studies features in several episodes as Amy strives to explore her own mental health, where she’s going in life and what her relationship with Tara was and still is. There are, of course, characters in Ghost BFF who advise Amy to “snap out” of what she’s going through mentally and stop taking her medication because they think she’s “fine.” It’s frustrating to know there are still people with that attitude towards mental health, and just drives home the need to educate and discuss.

(l-r) Jane Moffat, Dan Beirne, Rick Roberts

Yes, Ghost BFF concerns a serious topic, but it’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of laughs thanks to Matusi’s physical humour as Amy, Horn’s foul-mouthed Tara and the gloriously shallow Mitchell, and truly heartfelt moments too. Amy and Tara’s screaming match in a later instalment opens the door to honesty and regret.

“We definitely felt like we were walking a fine line [with the content],” Matsui says. “Obviously, I wanted to be respectful and sensitive to anyone who has suffered from depression or is suffering from depression. But, at the same time, my instinct was always to make this a comedy. Comedy can be cathartic. Sometimes through pain comedy emerges.”

Ghost BFF is available for streaming on WhoHaHa’s website.

Images courtesy of Babe Nation Creations.

 

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Link: New CBC series This Blows explores harnessing an unexpected power

From Bridget Liszewski of The TV Junkies:

Link: New CBC series This Blows explores harnessing an unexpected power
“Horror has always been something that’s been used to discuss fears. For us it was a fun, visceral way to empower Anna and illustrate that concept. Horror can be used in that way, though maybe it hasn’t been. We’ve got gore, but it’s comedic as well and more like Evil Dead horror and absurd, but we challenge the tropes for sure.” Continue reading.

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A group of friends trade their way through life in Fare Trade

I first met Shawn Ahmed and Scott Leaver of Crazy Shirt Productions through their Bell Fibe project Touring T.O. The pair managed to create an engaging series on a shoestring budget and a little luck.

Now the pair is back with a new series that pushes the envelope of where a series can be broadcast via key partnerships.

Fare Trade—a new comedy series written and directed by Ahmed and Leaver and co-created and executive-produced by Jonathan Hirsh of Floating Island Entertainment—focuses on a group of friends who trade their way through life. With that as the backdrop, Fare Trade not only shows its episodes on Bell Fibe TV but on Bunz, the online trading platform.

The first episode is a riot of confusion. Landlord Jordi (Anand Rajaram) bursts into an apartment to find his tenants, Janet (Ana Golja), Cleo (Erin Carter) and Vic (Darrell Faria), have been robbed. Unable to pay the rent, the quartet agrees to a deal: if his tenants can get his car fixed, Jordi will waive rent for the month. The next several scenes focus on getting the car running smoothly but the road to success is a bumpy one and includes a Grease ripoff, rabies and a mechanic with his own money troubles: scoring a performer for his son’s birthday party. Surprise! The roomies have a plan for that, and it involves trading. Bigger surprise? The mechanic’s son is an adult and expects a certain kind of entertainment at his birthday party.

With 800,000 possible viewers for via the Bunz website alone, Fare Trade is the next step in television creation via partnerships with companies looking to invest in production. Will Bunz, like Amazon, score the next Red Oaks in Fare Trade? We’ll see.

Fare Trade is available now on Bell Fibe TV, Channel 1 and Bunz.

Image courtesy of Fare Trade.

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