The award ceremony will be once again in the amazing Guggenheim Museum (which you should visit!) and it will award series from the Official Selection and from the Amets Section, which both include web series from all over the world, someone already well known and some others to discover during these four days.
We took the chance to ask a few questions to Oliver Mend, CO-Founder and Content Director of Bilbao Seriesland:
1) From Bilbao Web Fest to Bilbao Seriesland: why this name change?
There are several factors. In one hand the problem of using the word “web series”, which is a pejorative term and it is considered a “non-professional” product. On the other hand, the search for a larger audience. When the general audience heard about the festival, they thought we are showing websites, but we are in no case pretending to put distance between our festival partners, quite the contrary. We wanted to imply that what we all are doing, what we present in our festivals are series. And that they can hook us up and make us vibrate episode by episode in the same way as the ones on TV.. or even more! And that was the beginning of Seriesland; we want to make Bilbao during these days the land of the series.
2) Beside the name, which are the novelties of this new edition?
This year we bring several new features. Taking a look at the program we can see that the most striking things are the Keynotes; 15 minute panels on very specific topics. In addition, the series will be projected in some real movie theaters (in fact, in the oldest that remain in Bilbao and those that feature the most independent content). The market will be the epicenter of everything that happens during these days and will take place at the headquarters of Basque Public Television (EiTB). These supports show out that what we have tried to do since we created the festival, it’s working. Television companies are beginning to realize that something is changing in the way we watch the TV: they see that fresh and independent new content must be part of their schedule. We need to realize that together we can take the digital series to a whole new level. And of course there are things that stay the same, we listen to the creators that visit us every year and everyone can enjoy our night Parties, our Boat Trip and the Bar Crawl.
3) Last year was a huge success of audience; will be this year even more participated?
The truth is that last year the visitor flow was overwhelming on the part of the creators, and that, made us proud It’s difficult to say, right now there are more than 125 people signed up as attendees and we expect the number to increase before Sunday. But we know that we just can’t stay there. That’s why we are bringing the ”Replay SSessio” in theaters this year. This is a special session, between 20:00 and 22:00 o’clock, in which the Official Selection series will be repeated and will be shown to the general audience, since we estimate that it is a perfect time for a wide sector of the public. This idea is just a pilot and only at the end of this year’s festival, we will be able to see if it has had the desired success and we can extend these projections to other sections.
4) Is it more difficult or easier to organize your festival, year after year? And why?
We would love to say that every year is easier, but we have established a festival growth dynamic that makes each year harder. It would be very easy for us to repeat an annual festival, in which we simply
do screenings and give awards, but this festival tries to contribute giving something more to the creators and tries to make our industry grow. It is a hard yearly work, but it’s worth it when, during these four days, we see the face of joy and the learning process of the creators and our partners. That’s the moment we feel, a small piece of Bilbao is in the hearts of our attendees (some are even thinking about moving to Bilbao). And a piece of every creator and every series stays here, in SERIESLAND!
5) Most important: will be there tons of pintxos?
One of the essence of the Basque Country is its gastronomy and the pintxos are one of the main points of Basque culture, so, by answering your question… You can bet your… Well, you know what you can bet to yes! There will be Pintxos!
World Wide Webserie
reviewed by Chiara Bressa