• In this edition there’s a total of eight productions from Holland, Spain, Canada, Australia and Argentina
• The people behind the most listened to podcast in Spain, ‘Estirando el chicle’, will visit Valencia to present their series ‘Válidas’
• The program is completed with two round tables that will count with international professionals
Cinema Jove supports web series one more edition with an official competition section that highlights the capacity of the format to reinvent itself. The Valencia International Film Festival, organized by the Institut Valencià de Cultura, has selected eight productions from the Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Australia and Argentina that have been able to stay afloat despite the extra costs that the anti-protocol has entailed. COVID in the filming.
“Unlike the last edition, held in December, where we viewed content that reflected the pandemic in its theme, this year, the selected web series cast a glance towards the future, in a desire to return to normality”, highlights, María Albiñana, in charge of the section.
The program, concentrated on June 19 and 20 at Sala 7 of the Rialto Building, includes an assortment of varied topics for all ages, from an animated series for children about the life of a refugee girl to a romantic youth drama about video game tournaments, through a post-apocalyptic action movie after a heat wave, and a comedy about seniors dressing up in the opposite gender’s clothing.
The Dutch ‘Hitte‘ was filmed in Amsterdam during the pandemic and poses an apocalyptic world as a result of a heat wave. In this harrowing thriller about climate change, the viewer follows various characters in a residential neighborhood of a city ravaged by extreme temperatures. Throughout its 12 episodes, the protagonists fight for their lives, while rediscovering the value of humanity in times of hopelessness. Created, written and directed by Martijn Winkler, “who makes the most of the choose-your-own-adventure dynamic to the liking of the audience,” says Albiñana.
On the other hand, Canadian production ‘Dounia’ is deeply rooted in our present. This animated series about a refugee girl captures the daily life of exiled minors through their integration into a new culture. Syrian-born creator Marya Zarif addresses uprooting, resilience and coexistence in a series that has become a graphic novel. Dounia comes from afar and brings a whole world with her.
The comedy ‘The Communist’s Daughter‘ also comes from Canada. In the midst of the 1980s, under the influence of the Reagan Doctrine, the daughter of two happily married communists is torn between fitting into high school and defending the outdated beliefs of her family. The series is produced by the Canadian public broadcaster, CBC and is loosely inspired by the childhood of its creator, Leah Cameron.
The Australian ‘Love, Guns & Level Ups’ is also starring teenagers, but at the crossroads between the real world and the ‘online’ universe. This action comedy about virtual-dating and video games stars an international cosplayer and an introverted video game developer who goes online and discovers the challenges of a face-to-face relationship.
Also intended for young people, ‘1 de esos días‘ (Argentina) humorously symbolizes the search for identity, the absurdity of everyday life and perseverance despite everything by going through the odyssey of a day in the life of a girl who has to face all kinds of obstacles on her way to a party. Starting with the untimely beginning of her menstrual period, the character lives a fury day as she moves forward the city of Buenos Aires in her white dress. Produced remotely from New York, the series stands out for its vertical format production.
“Verticality is a concept that the viewer is not very used to and that, if it is not executed properly, causes rapid disinterest. However, this proposal stands out for having achieved great versatility and dynamism ”, values the head of the section.
Argentina contributes a second production to contest at Cinema Jove, ‘Cross’, about a group of older men who practice ‘crossdressing’, that is, who like to dress as women. Its protagonist leads a group of men who gather to explore their feminine side in hiding.
“The web series genre maintains its affinity for fresh and unusual subjects that we would never ever see on mainstream platforms. Those are stories that always come with a very personal touch from the creator, not restricted by commercial formulas ”, highlights María Albiñana.
Meetings with the public and round tables
The program is completed with two Spanish series, ‘Válidas’ and ‘Backstage’. The first is starring the creators of the most listened to podcast in Spain, ‘Estirando el chicle’. Carolina Iglesias and Victoria Martín (Barnacles and Grelos) and their creator, Nacho P. Pardo will visit Valencia to participate in a meeting with the public in which they will dive into the plot of their production, which humorously explores the difficulties of being a comedian in our country.
The director of ‘Backstage’, the Uruguayan Gastón Armagno, and his team will also participate in a debate with the audience after the screening of this mockumentary about the failed filming of a B movie, set in a universe reminiscent of the detailed, pastel-toned art direction by Wes Anderson.
The sessions include two round tables for professionals and the public. The founder of the specialized demand production company NEWBE, Jeroen Koopman, will detail his transition from the web series scene to serial productions of longer duration, as well as the experience as a producer, which works mainly for the international market of video-on-demand platforms (SVOD) such as Netflix and HBO, in international co-productions such as the ‘reboot’ of the Australian series ‘Heartbreak High’.
Finally, the director of the Berlinale series section, Julia Fidel, will get down to relevant issues for the profession, such as the importance of a good communication strategy to launch a series on the market, the influence of streamers, the lack of diversity in the sector, the most popular genres or the search for less global and more localized content.