The Carmilla Movie is Almost Here!
By: MaryBeth McMahon
Just over a year ago, Creampuffs (the name of the Carmilla series fans) were preparing themselves for the end of the beloved “little web series that could,” known as Carmilla. As episodes of Carmilla’s third and final season were released on the KindaTV YouTube channel, happy hearts turned heavy with awareness that the end of this incredibly-positive and highly-representative LGBT web series was getting closer and closer. However, the unpredictable happened when stars Natasha Negovanlis and Elise Bauman, producer Steph Ouaknine and writer Jordan Hall attended the 2016 New York Comic Con with splendid news. To the surprise of fans worldwide and through an incredible teaser trailer full of motorcycles, creampuffs (of the pastry kind) and, yes, even those pesky multiple-choice note cards (minus that fabulously disgusting “brain fluid,” of course), it was revealed that we would not actually have to say goodbye to our favorite broody vampire (or in this case, ex-vampire) and cookie-eating human quite yet.
As the screams of excitement died down and ecstatic Creampuffs regained consciousness, the idea of that we would get another chapter in the world of Carmilla sank in. Since 2014 Carmilla, a web series based on the gothic vampire novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, has not only been a source of entertainment but it has also been a safe haven where many people found and continue to find solace in and support from one another. Many have been able to better identify who they are as individuals, make connections and friends with people all across the globe and interact with a predominantly queer and female cast and crew who not only provide the representation fans need from the media (now more than ever), but who also genuinely appreciate and communicate with fans on a frequent basis.
Flash forward a year later to the 2017 New York Comic Con and the official, full-length trailer for The Carmilla Movie has been released, making this dream into even more of a reality for the cast, crew and fans alike. The past year has been a busy one, as fans eagerly pre-ordered the movie and the subsequent bundles in an effort to contribute funds to the production while the cast and crew, including Carmilla newcomers Dominique Provost-Chalkley (Wynonna Earp, Murdoch Mysteries), Grace Lynn Kung (Mary Kills People, The Strain) and Cara Gee (The Expanse, Inhuman Condition), worked diligently to put together this gem in what seemed to be a record pace. As the time approaches for the premiere of the film, there is this anticipatory sense of forlorn excitement as fans across social media outlets are readying themselves both to witness what already appears to be an amazing movie and to potentially extend their final goodbyes to the our modern-day Scooby gang.
Carmilla is a web series (and now a feature-length film) that changed the way in which positive representation, meaningful storytelling and fan engagement can be achieved. This humble, scripted, digital series boasts well over seventy million views from 193 countries, in part, due to the easily accessible convenience of YouTube’s format. With recognition and awards from the Streamy Awards, the Webby Awards, the Shorty Awards and the Canadian Screen Awards (Negovanlis won the 2017 Fan’s Choice Award), it is further proof that you don’t need an extravagant budget or major network to put out purposeful content that garners a significantly large and loyal following. Carmilla shows that if you have a talented family of artists who genuinely want to improve the content put out by the media and believe so strongly in the story they are telling, anything is possible and there are no limits. As a result, The Carmilla Movie soon debuts for eagerly awaiting Creampuffs. One of the most exciting aspects of the new addition to Carmilla is the transformation from a single-camera, vlog-style web series to a film containing multiple, moving cameras and various filming locations.
The Carmilla Movie takes place five years after the tumultuous events that led to Carmilla becoming a mortal human and nearly losing Laura, both unintentional results of a successfu, last-chance effort to prevent the apocalypse. We get to see a “domestic Hollstein” (as Creampuffs like to put it) living in a posh apartment situated in downtown Toronto (a newfound hub for Creampuffs) where Laura has pursued a career in journalism and Carmilla continues to adjust to a life with a beating heart. Their pleasant situation and supposed happy ending gets complicated when Carmilla shows signs of re-vamping, full of bloody cravings and accidental biting. Meanwhile, Laura begins dealing with her own supernatural woes as she experiences strange, ghostly dreams. Carmilla and Laura team up with their old, trustworthy friends to “go back to the scene of the crime” where they attempt to save Carmilla’s humanity and confront a new, mystical threat.
On October 26, 2017, The Carmilla Movie will be released to those who pre-ordered a film bundle on VHX. With the help of Cineplex Events, the movie will also premiere in thirty cities across Canada for that night only, giving attendees the exclusive movie experience. As Christina Jennings (Chairman & CEO, Shaftesbury/executive producer, Carmilla) says, “Carmilla is a global phenomenon and we are so thrilled to bring our beloved characters and captivating story world to the big screen. The Cineplex Events screenings are an incredible opportunity for Carmilla fans across the country to enjoy the film with one another, to meet and exchange their own stories, as well as grow the fan base and attract new viewers who haven’t yet discovered the series.” Those attending the Cineplex Screenings of the film will be privy to additional content on the night of its premiere. However, if you are unable to attend a screening, don’t fret because on October 28th this footage will be available in the VHX movie bundles, along with additional takes from those very scenes! Additionally, on October 27th the film will also be available for streaming on Fullscreen. If you haven’t yet pre-ordered the film or purchased a ticket to a film screening, there is still time to do so.
As we approach the highly anticipated release of The Carmilla Movie, social media continues to buzz with excitement and endless theories as to what fans can expect to see during all ninety-four glorious minutes of the film. These moments of joy, full of appreciation for the revered cast and crew, are constant reminders why this series and movie are such wonderful additions to our lives, especially for those of us looking for representation that matters. The current climate for LGBT characters on television shows is bleak and unforgiving, offering viewers pitiful numbers of LGBT-identifying characters, as they meet unfortunate fates or are just simply not written into most shows at all. Carmilla, on the other hand, has vowed from the beginning to offer fans a viewing experience unlike what is currently being shown in film and television, bridging the gap between good content and inclusive representation for women and identifying members of the LGBT community.
Carmilla provides a place for Creampuffs to confidently be themselves, receive a much-needed pick-me-up when times may feel tough, and converse with like-minded individuals. For fans on Twitter like @immazinaman feel, “There was never a fandom that felt more like a family…Growing with the show and into the movie, I’ve never felt more proud to be a part of a movement that’s going to inspire the next generation.” The series helped many fans discover their individual identities and make further steps to coming out and accepting themselves. As @Tay1698 says, “I was really struggling with my sexuality and finding out who I was as a person…Carmilla allowed me to accept myself for who I am, and not be ashamed of that – I could just be me.” And for some fans like @Simgrmn, Carmilla is simply a “warm blanket on a rainy day” that “broke the tragic dead-lesbian trope and lets love shine through.”
The impact Carmilla made and continues to make on the LGBT community is extensive, reverberating throughout the world and social media platforms. Carmilla provides a safe community for individuals seeking connections, support and content that not only reflects their own experiences, but also respects its viewers’ need for strong and positive LGBT representation.
The Carmilla Movie premieres on VHX and in select Cineplex Events locations on October 26. Starting on October 27, the movie will also be available for streaming on Fullscreen. The movie “will be available to global audiences on both streaming platforms, without geoblocking.” The Carmilla web series is currently available to view on KindaTV and via purchase on VHX.