(Thank God For Series!)
I am writing this while working from home, taking all the necessary precautions during the COVID-19 outbreak. It seems crazy to think that just a couple of weeks ago we spent several days at the Buenos Aires Series festival (previously known as BAWEBFEST), meeting tons of local creators and people from all around the world.
One way or another I keep going back to the same thought: Thank God for series!
They provided us with an amazing final bang of interactions at the festival before locking ourselves at home, they left us with a lot of exciting work ahead of us and at last but not least, they help us get distracted at least for a few minutes once the day is coming to and end.
This was our third year as part of this festival (you can read about our past experiences here) and we couldn’t be happier about this partnership: this event was not only our first step into the world of short form series, which gave us the last ingredient we needed to shape our model, but it is also something that, just like Flixxo, has grown with each passing year.
As we intend to make 2020 the year Flixxo goes mainstream, the festival has also aimed for that kind of exposure by taking into account long form series for the first time. This decision brought a lot of media exposure and an increase in the number of attendees. Having popular long form series such as El Marginal or Monzon and independent short form series in the same festival, was a great way to bring attention to the latter and close the outdated gap between these two formats.
We started the hard work the very first day of the festival, with a discussion panel about how digital platforms are influencing content at all its production stages. Our very own CEO Adrián Garelik along with Nicolás Amelio-Ortiz (creator of ZEPFilms, the biggest Youtube channel about movies in LATAM, and producer of one of the first Flixxo Originals, upcoming series ALT ESC) discussed this in front of a packed room. It was also an opportunity for us to show a trailer for another Flixxo Original that’s coming soon: Cinema in Real Life. Both ALT ESC and Cinema in Real Life have already been nominated to several festivals around the world, so expect to hear a lot about them pretty soon!
The second day was particularly intense, with business meetings for several hours with local creators and producers, where we were able to consider ideas for new projects and to talk about what we are doing with Flixxo to some key players (these meetings had people from Telefonica, Movistar, Turner, Caracol Televisión, etc). Without a break we then had the screening of the first episodes of ALT ESC, followed with a discussion with its creators and immediately after that we hosted our favorite activity: the Flixxo Pitching Contest.
Five young creators were chosen to do a short pitch in front of an audience and a jury, which consisted of Cristian Ponce, creator of the Netflix series The Kirlian Frequency, Joanna Lombardi from Movistar, Marcos Melo from the Argentinian Film Institute, and myself. We were stunned by the quality of the ideas and how fresh the presentations were, so after some serious debate a winner was chosen: Ranier Bisarini, a Venezuelan filmmaker living in Argentina. His project: Putos Rotos, an interesting and strong story waiting to be told. Flixxo will grant him 50,000 ARS to kickstart the production of the series while also keeping our doors open to help with anything else we can.
Finally, and as a grand finale for our involvement in BASERIES, on Friday we moved the activities to the amazing Centro Cultural Recoleta where we put together a very special treat: a screening of a new episode of Alejo & Valentina, a cult animated show with a huge fanbase that is returning after several years exclusively to Flixxo.
A huge crowd arrived and waited in line to get into the cinema, some of them even had Alejo & Valentina tattoos! Once the capacity was filled (lot of people had to stay outside) we started a screening filled with laugh out loud moments and a great discussion panel and Q&A with the creators of the show and the famous youtuber Marito Baracus, one of the special guests of the new season. While the chat covered a lot of stuff, a topic everyone kept going back to was censorship. Alejandro Szykula, Adrián Peralta and Pablo Zimmermann shared the difficulties of working with a huge distribution channel like MTV, the previous broadcaster of the show, and how Flixxo was more in synch with the spirit of the series.
All in all it was an amazing week and, between the projects we met and the existing talks with several contacts from the industry we were able to resume, it will give us a lot to work with during this particular and unexpected period. Wherever you are, take care of yourself and the ones around you and, if possible, enjoy some episodes of your favorite shows to get a well deserved rest. Series keep evolving and innovating, giving us entertainment while also leaving us with a message. The will to tell stories and find new means to bring them to the audience remains strong and healthy!