Carmilla–which is seen on the YouTube channel KindaTV–is based on Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu’s (1814-1873) novella of the same title published as one of a collection of short stories, In a Glass Darkly, in 1872. It’s a vampire story that predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
And this is an interesting case of a cinematic product–an online series, at that–preceding its book development. The three-season series’ accolades have included the Streamy Awards, the Webby Awards, the Shorty Awards, and the Canadian Screen Awards, including a 2017 Fan’s Choice Award for Negovanlis.
The video interpretation produced by Smokebomb Entertainment, Shaftesbury’s digital studio, updates the tale to a modern Austrian college dorm room setting and is told as a narrative series of vlog episodes, just as a college student might be expected to deliver her story today. The series, which consists of very short episodes of some three to seven minutes’ duration, has made online celebrities of its stars Elise Bauman (Laura Hollis) and Natasha Negovanlis (Carmilla Karnstein).
Kids Can Press, which calls its YA imprint KCP Loft, reports that the series has been seen in 193 countries and translated by fans into more than 20 languages, drawing more than 69 million views since it was introduced in 2014.
A feature film is anticipated for a fall release this year from director Paul Wiffen.
In a prepared statement, Shaftesbury chair and CEO Christina Jennings is quoted, saying that the partnership with Kids Can Press will “expand the world of Carmilla and offer fans of the series and the soon-to-be-released feature film another opportunity to engage with characters who mean so much to them.
“Over the past three years, we have seen the audience of Carmilla grow at an exponential rate and become an international phenomenon…We are very excited to continue to branch out and build up this brand.”
And speaking for Kids Can Press and it’s KCP Loft imprint, Johnston calls the move “a notable acquisition for KCP Loft.
“We introduced the YA imprint with the intention of seeking out content from both traditional publishing marketplaces as well as from innovative, emerging platforms.
“We are proud to partner with Shaftesbury to transform Carmilla into a hotly anticipated bestselling novel for the legions of fans around the world that this original web series has attracted.”