Web Series To Watch On The Big Screen (And Online)
What To Look Forward To From LA Film Festival’s Episodic Web Content
Besides the several dozen short films LA Film Festival offers, there will be 10 indie web series playing on big screens. As TV becomes more and more democratized in the same way the independent feature has, more festivals will be following Film Independent’s lead. We cover just a few of the web series playing in LA theaters this week. Find the full list here.
Flatbush Misdemeanors-Directed by Dan Perlman and Kevin Iso
The Flatbush, Brooklyn depicted here is often harsh and uncompromising. But it also gets humorously self-referential treatment in this three-episode series. Both co-creators/directors of the show star as two friends continually find ways to unintentionally get into dangerous situations while living in their new city environment.
Some of the best humor in the series come from its smart visual sense, an idea we’ve covered before when analyzing the laughs in Pink Grapefruit. Each episode is divided up into several parts, and each cutaway to a title card reveals a belly-laugh segue that is bound to translate well in a theatrical environment.
Running at about 15 minutes each, these episodes just zip by. The pacing is especially helped when the story cuts back and forth between the two friends’ days, seeing what kind of ridiculous trouble they can get into. Best of all, the often over-the-top situations are perfectly balanced out by equally deadpan attitudes from both Dan and Kevin. Their low-energy, phased-by-nothing performances are just the right pitch for what this series needed.
Psusy-Directed by Anna Duckworth
It’s been called New Zealand’s answer to Broad City, and for good reason. These bite-sized glimpses into the lives of two twenty-somethings just trying to figure their lives out rely on gross-out humor, an amazing repartee between the two leads and a general mood of irreverence to deliver comedy gold. However skilled creator Jaya Beach-Robertson and Season 2 director Anna Duckworth remain mindful to the cause at the root of every episode: celebrating women in all of their complexity.
Each episode truly brings out a scenario that represents women in a way just not allowed on cable television. We also love how from season to season Psusy is staying true to what made them work from the very beginning: awkward and inappropriate sexual and social situations. Many shows try to break out of their more controversial material once they gain more of a following, but the creative team here is sticking strong to the formula that gave them the spotlight they now enjoy.
Avant-Guardians-Directed by Clarence William IV
Alesia Etinoff is the star and creator of this highly-original web series that’s already been racking up awards while on the circuit. It’s easy to see why audiences fall in love with each 3–5 minute episode. Seemingly like the guardian angel in which she plays, Etinoff’s energy and enthusiasm shows through every frame. Whether it’s a moment of outright hilarity or of pathos (sometimes these change within the same episode), both Etinoff and Zainab Johnson — who plays the therapist angel with magisterial grace — have an undeniable chemistry that often make or break the success of a web series.
The premise is delightfully fanciful while being highly specific. It’s party talky in that old-fashioned classical Hollywood sense, part rally cry for social change in our increasingly divided world. This is also a series that benefits from its restrained setting (the entire season takes place in one beautifully-lit room). The limitless possibilities come from the costuming, the production design and the characters instead, things much easier to control when on a smaller budget.
This web series accomplishes everything it sets out to do, and with production values this high across the board, we can only hope its success in LA and beyond gives it several more seasons to come.
Also Check Out…
Tracy Buckles-Directed by Robin Nystrom
There’s only a trailer online for this one, but it’s absolutely zany world-building and singular command of tone have us dying to catch it in its entirety.
If you’re attending the LA Film Fest this week, don’t miss Tracy Buckles or any of the other web series playing. It may be the only chance to see these incredibly creative shows on a screen this big and with a crowd this size.