'Carmilla' stars bring representation to new web series 'CLAIREvoyant' - InfoNews

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'Carmilla' stars bring representation to new web series 'CLAIREvoyant'

Representation was top of mind for Natasha Negovanlis and Annie Briggs as they created the new Canadian web series "CLAIREvoyant," about best friends who pose as online psychics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
May 15, 2018 - 2:23 PM

TORONTO - Representation was top of mind for Natasha Negovanlis and Annie Briggs as they created the new Canadian web series "CLAIREvoyant," about best friends who pose as online psychics.

After all, the other digital show they're known for, the wildly popular "Carmilla," has been heralded by fans and critics for its queer and female representation. Negovanlis plays a lesbian vampire alongside Elise Bauman as her dorm roommate in the series that's won them both audience/fans' choice trophies at the Canadian Screen Awards.

And "CLAIREvoyant," which debuts Wednesday on the YouTube channel KindaTV, was partially funded by fans through an Indiegogo campaign.

"So when we were writing we definitely had our fans in mind in the sense of wanting to create realistic women onscreen, wanting to create positive role models, wanting to continue to show positive queer representation onscreen," Negovanlis, who was born in Toronto, said in a recent interview.

"With that being said, we also created the type of show that we would want to watch and our friends would want to watch. We're in our later 20s, early 30s, and so is the cast.

"So we wanted to create something that was almost, in a way, a Canadian 'Broad City' but with a supernatural twist — an absurdist comedy that still had heart."

Negovanlis and Briggs play roommates who pretend to be online psychics to make rent money. Their plan takes an unexpected turn when Claire, played by Negovanlis, turns out to have real clairvoyant abilities.

The stars say Claire is openly queer and there is a queer love story in the series, which has 14 episodes, ranging from five to seven minutes in length. The episodes will be released on KindaTV in blocks of three.

"I'm really interested as an artist right now in seeing a greater form of representation on camera — whether it be racially, different body types, different looking people, telling stories of people from different backgrounds, sexuality, how they identify, you name it," said Briggs, who hails from Halifax.

"We're coming out of a phase of entertainment being pretty streamlined into focusing on just a particular group of people and I think audiences are bored.

"The great thing about working in the digital world is that there's a more immediate feedback loop in terms of the audiences. In relation to 'Carmilla,' they've made it pretty clear in terms of what they're interested in and what resonates with them. So we're just trying to speak to that."

The cast also includes Jsin Sasha as the Francophone boyfriend of Ruby (Briggs), Sabryn Rock as "Claire's dream girl," and Theresa Tova as a famous online fortune teller.

The seed for "CLAIREvoyant" was planted when Negovanlis went to a tarot card reader and saw the same woman months later getting a manicure in a nail salon.

"I thought, 'This is so interesting. Like, what do psychics do in their spare time? Do they have other jobs?'" she said.

"Because I have a background in comedy, there was a stock character, a call-in psychic, that I created for myself years ago. So we started spitballing and sharing ideas one night while hanging out and it just grew from there."

Shaftesbury, which produced "Carmilla" and is now developing it into a prime-time series, is also behind "CLAIREvoyant."

Shaftesbury also allowed them to use its "Frankie Drake Mysteries" Toronto set to shoot with two cameras, adding a high production value.

Negovanlis and Briggs said they're both fascinated with psychics, fortune tellers and the occult, and know how to read tarot cards.

They based the show off that as well as their friendships and experience of "being starving artists."

"It's very much inspired by Annie's time living in New York and my time living in Montreal when we were students and doing theatre," Negovanlis said.

"They say write what you know, and in many ways we did that — but we put it in an absurdist universe."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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