The team behind Ren: The Girl with the Mark, the ambitious short-form fantasy series about a young woman marked by an ancient spirit, is asking fans to support a second season.
Starring Sophie Skelton – best known these days as Brianna Randall in the Starz series Outlander – the first season of the independent series has connected with audiences and festival juries alike. The premiere episode has had over two million YouTube views to date, while the season as a whole has received over 40 award nominations from festivals around the world, and a dozen actual award wins.
Gongs collected include the Grand Jury Award at Melbourne International WebFest in Australia, and Best Series awards at GenCon and FilmQuest in the US and at Bilbao WebFest in Spain. Skelton’s performance was honoured at Hyperdrive Sci-Fi & Fantasy Festival in the UK, while director and co-creator Kate Madison took home a Best Director award from South Korea’s Seoul WebFest.
Ren: The Girl with the Mark’s first season – available in full on YouTube – told the story of an ordinary young woman who became a pariah when she was marked by an ancient spirit, imbuing her with strange and unpredictable powers. The season finale saw Ren fleeing her home village under a hail of flaming arrows, in the company of the mysterious rogue Hunter (Duran Fulton Brown).
Many story threads were left unanswered. Is the spirit good or evil? Why was Hunter trying to steal it? What does Ren’s mentor Karn (Christopher Dane) know about all this? And who is the sinister masked man who tried to extract the spirit at the point of a dagger?
So fans will be delighted to hear that a second season is in the works. “I’ve just finished writing the last episode,” Madison reveals. “I won’t give you any spoilers, but you can expect a much bigger scope and scale to this season, as Ren and Hunter journey across Alathia to try to find the answers to some of Ren’s many questions.”
The first season was crewed by an army of volunteers – some from as far afield as Germany, the Netherlands and even the US – who descended on the small English village of Caxton, Cambridgeshire to help build the set, make the costumes and appear as extras. Madison notes that “it was their talent and enthusiasm that allowed us to make an independent series of such a high quality that many viewers thought they were watching something from a major TV studio.”
The community ethos is something she is keen to continue. Before launching a crowdfunding campaign, Madison and her team have challenged themselves to get 5,000 fans signed up to their new mailing list. “Social media is great,” says Madison, “but with the wealth of information out there things can be missed, and nothing beats getting something straight into your inbox.”
Madison stresses that she cannot currently say which cast members will or won’t be returning, but that they all have first refusal to resume their roles, and she would love to see them all back.
You can show your support for further adventures of Ren: The Girl with the Mark by heading to rentheseries.com/renew and signing up to the mailing list.