Local filmmaker Melanie Oates launched her much-anticipated webseries, The Manor, and you can check out the first episode, “Georgia’s Boudoir,” right here, and episode 2, “the Kitchen,” below:
Oates has written and directed five short films; “Get Out”, “Distance”, “Bait”, “There You Are” and, “Ida Here & There.” She was recently selected to be one of eight women from all across Canada to participate in the highly esteemed Women In The Director’s Chair (WIDC) mentorship program. She used the opportunity to workshop the script for her first feature film, a coming-of-age story called, Scattered and Small.
Oates is known for her dark humour and pitch-perfect dialogue; she sculpts scenes that drip with tension out of a few subtle lines. Her protagonists are often “outsider” characters with self-destructive tendencies, struggling to make real connections with the people around them. Her films depict sexuality with ruthless honesty, she refuses to shy away from the fact that sex is sometimes ugly and desperate and still sexy.
The Manor is more light-hearted than some of her other work, but it’s chalk-full of Oates’ unique brand of comedy. The series follows three roommates in their mid-twenties as they loaf around a big house in downtown St. John’s, pursuing “…manic love, internet fame, and dream of having it all by doing nothing.”
They are the slothful, self-absorbed millennials that give the rest of us a bad name, but you find yourself loving them in spite of it.
Oates was the costume designer for two breakout feature films from Newfoundland, Cast No Shadow and Closet Monster. The Manor is worth watching for the outfits alone. The characters parade around in silky kimonos, ripped t-shirts, and candy coloured wigs. Evelyn (Renee Dumaresque), Simon (Shawn Parsons), and Georgia (Heather Power) are all drama queens of the highest order and it’s reflected in their theatrical ensembles.
These characters are almost uncomfortably close for roommates; they are constantly dissecting each other’s love lives and wardrobe, squabbling one moment and snuggling the next. Like any good show about a group of friends (think a much saucier That ‘70s Show) the intimacy of their on screen banter draws you in and makes you feel like part of the crew.
New episodes of The Manor will be released every Monday and Thursday until all six episodes are online. You can catch the new episodes on The Manor’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Channel.