A dark, post-apocalyptic tale with talking pandas in action? We’re in! Producer Kirsty Stark talks to Any Camera Will Do about the making of this web-series from conception to finish.

A story about the plight of the last pandas fighting for survival in an unforgiving wasteland, ‘Wastelander Panda’ was conceived by Victoria Cocks and Marcus McKenzie during a university lecture. Cocks (director) was inspired by video games such as Fallout 3 and Borderlands 2 and she wanted to create a similar world on film.

Stark, who co-founded productions company Epic Films in 2010, had made two short films before ‘Wastelander Panda’ came to her which is how she started producing.

They initially made a 3 minute prologue to show to funding agencies, however when they placed it online, it proved to quite popular with friends and families who shared the video on social networks. Within 3 days the video had received 100,000 views, which they capitalized on by setting up a crowdfunding campaign and amassing $25,000 in pledges.

Check out the interview here:

Armed with the success of the prologue, they convinced the South Australian Film Corporation to provide additional funding to make another three short films. The audience generated from the prologue provided valuable feedback which they used to further develop the Wastelander Panda universe.

The series was launched at South by Southwest in Texas, where Madman, ABC and SBS expressed interest in the online production aspect of the series and its potential for bringing a younger audience to ABC through their digital platform iView.

Some of the challenges which the production faced were:

  • Once they secured Screen Australia funding they were obligated to pay everyone award rates as well as following all the various rules and regulations, such as accommodation arrangements and compensating cast and crew for lack of privacy. As a result they had to budget more carefully.
  • Getting the series to a point where all the various funding bodies were happy with it, whilst staying true to their original idea and delivering what their audience wanted.
  • Making decisions on online distribution; moving from the model of having the content available for free to having to make money from it.

Check out the prologue here:


Keen to check out ‘Wastelander Panda’? Watch it online here.
For Epic Film’s website, go here.
For Kirsty Stark’s IMDB filmography, go here.




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