Two more seasons for ACON-sponsored online drama The Horizon

Patrick James costars as 'Wilma Bumhurt'

Patrick James co-stars as ‘Wilma Bumhurt’

A sponsor-funded online drama targeting gay men with a safe sex message has been commissioned for a further two seasons after gaining more than 6m views on YouTube .

Boaz Stark, who has written for TV shows such as Packed To The Rafters, Home and Away, Neighbours and Winners & Losers, created The Horizon three years ago via a commission from ACON, Aids Council of NSW.

The first season had a budget of just $3000, with the finale racking up more than 2m views to date. The second season’s 13th episode, which was uploaded earlier this year, is approaching 1m views for that episode alone.

ACON has committed further funding for two more seasons of eight episodes each. Stephan Elliot, who directed Priscilla Queen of the Desert, is mentoring Stark in seasons three and four.

The relationship drama tells the story of a group of gay men in Sydney.

Stark said: “TV commercials can be so fleeting. A campaign runs and then it’s over. With something like this, the brand stays online and people can watch it any time.”

Stark said he created the series after working on television dramas. “I was tired of writing other people’s stories, so I created this drama. I thought there was gap in the market that the series could fill. I gave the series to a friend and went overseas, not expecting it to actually get made, but when I got back it had been financed and was up and running.”

Stark is seeking further financing for the next two series. The previous episodes attracted support from General Pants Co, Glyde Health, Sydney Star Observer, Oxford Hotel, Team M8 and the House of Priscilla.

Stark said: “I was shocked when the series started to get hits in the millions. I wanted to write something that was different from what was on conservative TV. We’re looking at expanding, but at this point in time we’re still making the web series. I’m also looking to do more work on short form  branded dramas.”


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