TEN YEARS AND 57 MILLION VIEWS LATER, LORD OF THE RINGS FAN FILMMAKER SPEARHEADS NEW PROJECT

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Kate Madison, the independent filmmaker behind the YouTube hit Born of Hope, is hard at work on a new season of her original fantasy series, Ren: The Girl with the Mark.

Madison garnered national press attention at the end of 2009 when she released Born of Hope, the tale of Aragorn’s father, Arathorn. “Every frame of this film was made with love,” wrote The Times, “and it shows.”

Since then, the unofficial epic has racked up well over 50 million views. Meanwhile, Ren: The Girl with the Mark, Madison’s original short-form fantasy series, has received a healthy eight million episode views since its 2016 release. The series is also remarkable for introducing Sophie Skelton – latterly Outlander’s Brianna Randall – to the world.

As Born of Hope’s tenth anniversary rolled around, Madison was hard at work writing the new season of Ren. “I feel incredibly lucky to have connected with so many people through my productions,” she says. “Making independent films isn’t easy, and finding an audience can also be difficult with so much content out there.”

When asked what her secret is, Madison’s reply is simple. “I just want to make every aspect the best that it can be. I may not have much money – hopefully one day! – but that’s no reason not to shoot for the stars. I’ve been very lucky to find people who feel the same, and when creative dreamers get together it’s amazing what they can achieve.”

Despite looking like a well-funded Netflix show, Ren was in fact made on a tiny Kickstarter budget by an army of dedicated volunteers. For Season Two, Madison is planning to crowdfund this February, and aims to raise a much higher sum now that the series is established. “I’m looking forward to exploring more of Ren’s world,” the director enthuses. “So far we’ve hardly been outside of her little village, but in future seasons we’re really expanding the scope and taking her to lots of new places.”

Ren: The Girl with the Mark tells the story of a young woman who becomes an outcast after being “marked” by an ancient spirit. International festival juries bestowed 14 awards and over 60 nominations on the first season. Accolades won include the Grand Jury Award at Melbourne International Web Fest in Australia, and Best Series awards at Gen Con and FilmQuest in the US and at Bilbao Web Fest in Spain.

You can find out more about Ren: The Girl with the Mark and support the show by visiting www.rentheseries.com or following @RentheSeries on Twitter or @Mythica_entertainment on Instagram.

All episodes of Ren Season One can be viewed on YouTube here. Check it out!