Our appetite for online TV is growing – fast. In Australia alone, the market for subscription video on-demand (SVOD) has increased by 31 per cent in just one year. And globally, online TV episode and movie revenues are estimated to reach over $300 billion by 2025.
From Netflix and Amazon Prime, to Disney+ and Tencent Video, we now have access to subscription TV services anytime, anywhere, on almost any device. A plethora of exciting new content awaits, available on-demand, for every taste and time-zone.
And guess who’s behind it? Talented La Trobe alumni, of course.
If you love true crime
What if you were sentenced to 23 years in prison for a murder you didn’t commit – despite there being no body, no witnesses and no weapon?
Alumna Eve Ash (Bachelor of Education – Counselling), filmmaker and psychologist, explores this story as executive producer of Undercurrent. The gripping true crime docu-series featuring Eve investigates the real-life disappearance of Australian man Bob Chappell, who was last seen on the yacht he co-owned with his partner, Sue Neill-Fraser.
Eve first began filming an exposé of the case in 2009, when Neill-Fraser was arrested for his murder – wrongfully, she believed. Eve initially produced her findings as an award-winning feature documentary, Shadow of Doubt, which was nominated for Best Feature Documentary in the 2014 AFI/AACTA Awards. However, her investigations continued and seeing the story’s potential for TV, she created a series for the Seven Network in 2019.
Eve has produced hundreds of short films, documentaries and TV episodes throughout her career. She’s also won over 170 personal and professional awards, including Telstra Businesswoman of the Year – Business Owner, which recognises her achievements as CEO of film production company Seven Dimensions.
Through the company, she produced more than 700 training videos on topics like leadership, workplace behaviours, people skills and bullying. In a graduation speech at La Trobe, Eve shares how she advanced her career in comedy business films by writing to her hero, English actor, comedian and screenwriter, John Cleese – and urges alumni to have the courage to approach leaders in their own fields.
Where to stream: Undercurrent is available on 7Plus.
If you’re young at heart
Imagine getting lost on campus, only to emerge in a parallel world…
Nowhere Boys is an internationally acclaimed fantasy action-adventure TV series that follows four teenage boys along a similar plot. The lads become lost in the forest and discover, when they return home, that they’re trapped in an alternate reality where family and friends don’t recognise them.
Nowhere Boys won an AACTA for Best Children’s Television Series, a Logie Award, a Prix Jeunesse International Award, an International Emmy Kids Award and was nominated for a Children’s BAFTA Award. The creative mind behind it? La Trobe alumnus Tony Ayres, who studied subjects in arts at La Trobe, and who has become one of Australia’s most prolific and highly-awarded showrunners, writers and directors.
Tony created and executive produced Nowhere Boys while working for a production company he co-founded, Matchbox Pictures. For Matchbox, Tony created, produced and executive produced a suite of TV shows, such as The Slap, Glitch, Barracuda, Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Family Law and Wanted. He also directed feature films Cut Snake and Walking on Water, and wrote and directed The Home Song Stories. The latter was based on his life and won 24 Australian and international awards, including eight AFI awards.
Now, Tony’s the executive producer at Tony Ayres Productions (TAP). Keep an eye out for his next production, Netflix thriller Clickbait, which is in production in Melbourne.
Where to stream: Nowhere Boys is available on Stan.
If you’re fascinated by facts
What’s it really like to live in Australia? Executive producer Tom Whitty (Bachelor of Media Studies) helped create TV program Australia Talks to answer just that.
The research-based show surveys 54,000 people across Australia and shares their attitudes, behaviours and experiences on a range of important topics. From racism and reconciliation, to aged care and how best to discipline children, Australia Talks invites you to see how your views compare with those of others in Australia.
Since graduating from La Trobe, Tom has made his mark as an award-winning producer, journalist, comedy writer and director who’s vocal about social issues. Between 2009 and 2018 he worked as a producer and managing editor of Australian news show The Project. His work there was recognised by multiple UN Day Media Awards, including for promoting the empowerment of children and young people, of indigenous peoples, and of health and wellbeing. Tom also received a UN Association of Australia Media Peace Award for promoting social inclusion (2016), a Quill Award for Best TV or Current Affairs/Feature under 10 Minutes (2015) and has been nominated for three Walkley Awards.
Not content to confine national conversations to one channel, Tom has made sure the messages in Australia Talks live on through an online tool. Stream the show online, then try the survey yourself.
Where to stream: Australia Talks is available on ABC iview.
If drama is your jam
Misogyny. Online exploitation. Sexualisation. These are some of the hard-hitting themes traversed in The Hunting, an Australian four-part drama miniseries created and produced by La Trobe alumna Sophie Hyde (Bachelor of Arts), who is also one of the series' directors.
The Hunting follows the lives of four teenagers, their high school teachers and families in the wake of an underaged nude photo scandal. It’s a powerful reminder that while sexting might feel like flirting, image-based abuse can have devastating consequences.
It’s just one example from Sophie’s suite of provocative, award-winning drama. Her first foray into episodic TV was the 2018 comedy drama miniseries, F*!#ing Adelaide. The series was set in suburban Adelaide, South Australia – also the setting for her previous feature drama 52 Tuesdays, which she produced, directed and co-wrote in 2014.True to its title, the film was shot once a week, each Tuesday, for the course of a year. It won the directing award for world cinema at Sundance Film Festival and the Crystal Bear for best film at Berlin Film Festival.
Sophie's second film, Animals, premiered at Sundance in 2019. Sophie directed and produced the film, the first ever to be released as an Australian-Irish co-production. Animals was nominated for the Munich Film Festival’s 2019 CineVision Award for Best Film by an Emerging Director, and the Screen Producers Australia Award for 2019 Best Feature Film Production.
Where to stream: The Hunting is available on SBS OnDemand.
If you dig documentaries
Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in? If so, you’ll likely empathise with online doco Trans in America: Texas Strong.
The moving 18-minute doco tells the story of Kai, a seven-year-old trans girl growing up in Texas. It also features her mum Kimberly, who becomes a surprise advocate for trans rights.
In 2019, the doco won contributing producer, La Trobe alumnus Christopher Klimovski (Bachelor of Medical Science), an Emmy for Short Documentary, along with a Webby Award and People’s Voice Award for longform documentary. Chris adds these accolades to his 2019 Telly Award and Webby Honoree, received as the director and supervising producer for popular web series Drag Me. The series invites drag queens to give guests a full drag makeover, while talking intimately about the importance of drag, gender politics and identity.
Chris’ talent for original web series has led him to oversee channels at Condé Nast like Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue and them, a next-gen platform for the LGBTQ community. He's currently residing in Brooklyn, New York where he's penning a number of upcoming linear television and feature film concepts.
Where to stream: Trans in America: Texas Strong is available on YouTube.
If you wonder what it's like to be a doctor
In health documentary UnMasked: We All Breathe, you'll meet doctors who are risking their lives to save lives. Directed by La Trobe alumna Emma Watts (Bachelor of Media Studies with Honours), the doco investigates the plight of three young South African doctors who contract drug-resistant tuberculosis while treating patients. It’s a harrowing, if timely, watch in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.
Emma has over a decade’s experience as a producer/director of factual TV. She’s created long- and short-form content for broadcasters like CNN.com, The New York Times and Discovery Science, as well as every for Australian TV network. She's recently returned to Melbourne after four years working in New York City, including as a senior producer on the forthcoming documentary series Hacking Humanity for Al Roker Entertainment.
Emma is perhaps best known for her highly awarded documentary series No Strings Attached, which she developed, directed and executive produced in 2015. The series is based on interviews with hundreds of people who describe their experiences on dating apps, and their responses are recreated using puppets. Having screened in Australia on ABC iview, No Strings Attached is now reaching international audiences through NBCUniversal's Comedy Bites channel.
Where to stream: UnMasked: We All Breathe is available on Amazon Prime.
If you’re hooked on historical horror
For some of us, fear and fun go hand-in-hand. If you enjoy TV that spooks you, The Terror is waiting to creep you out.
Each semihistorical season is inspired by a true event – the first season focuses on a Royal Navy crew’s tragic attempts to discover the Northwest Passage, only to become trapped in freezing arctic ice. The second season is set during World War II, with a haunting born of Japanese folklore.
The genre seems a perfect fit for alumna Jo Scott (Bachelor of Arts), who applies her majors in history and cinema studies as second assistant production coordinator on season two. Having relocated to Canada at age 29, Jo’s worked on a number of big budget US TV shows, including Supernatural, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, The Magicians, Man in the High Castle and, most recently, Apple TV’s See.
She’s now developing an induction seminar for others keen to break into Canada’s film and TV industry.
“I know that many Australia film students often consider moving over to North America to begin their careers and add to their international experience. I’d like to let them know that it’s a very real dream, since it came true for me,” she says.
Where to stream: The Terror is available on Hulu.