IUZZOLINO:THE KING OF THE TV SERIES
Walter Iuzzolino, born in Genoa, has invented a career choosing world fiction for the English
Television series have become one of the most interesting phenomena of recent years. Today, even more than films (but not yet as much as sports), it is the variety of dramatic or comedic series that provide the economic basis for pay TV and the strong point for the many on-demand services that are appearing online. “House of Cards”, “Game of Thrones”, and “Breaking Bad” have achieved cult status in a short matter of time, earning millions of fans throughout the world. While these are all rigorously American productions, a careful observer will notice that the rest of the world has also achieved extremely high qualitative standards.
And the work of Walter Iuzzolino is based on precisely this observation.
“I propose foreign serials with subtitles because tastes have changed”
Genoese, born in 1968, and based for over twenty years in England, his wager has not been the easiest: in fact, he aims to bring to the British public the best of global production in the original language with subtitles. Checking out as much material as possible, he has unearthed the best of series programming that the non-english-speaking world has to offer. His highly personal playlist is continuously available on Channel 4’s All4.com platform in the format “Walter Presents,” and he personally presents every single program. Launched in January, the service has quickly gathered millions of users.
The first series, the German production “Deutschland 83,” has reached three million viewers in its first month online, making it the
most-seen series in the history of fiction in England. And his revolution is not only in finding dramas in the least expected countries, but in conquering the British public, who is by no means used to foreign fiction or subtitles, naturally. This wager at the base of Walter’s work— which he seems to have won—draws upon a formation he began as a young child. After having spent much of his childhood at the movies, nourishing himself on Fellini and Bergman, he decided to attend the London International Film School, where he was astonished at the quality of the BBC and especially Channel 4, the most alternative of the English channels. Quite soon, putting aside the idea of cinema, he began to work as a producer of reality shows for the most important companies in the sector, such as Endemol and Zodiac. He then got a job at Channel 4 with the responsibility of commissioning new formats between the documentary and reality show, creating programs of which some have even arrived in Italy: “Embarrassing Illnesses,” “The F Word” with Gordon Ramsey, “Sex Education Show,” and others. Illumination followed soon afterward. Yielding to the fascination for American fiction, which seems to give new life to the spirit of Chechkov and Dickens with the return of serialized fiction on new platforms, he posed himself a question: is it possible that there might be similar series in the rest of the world? Thus began a long period of research, viewing over 4000 hours of television, from Anatolia to New Zealand, to unearth series that were already a success in their home countries, with critical acclaim and prizes to their name. At the beginning of 2015, he came up with a list of titles from the most disparate countries, ranging from Scandinavia, Germany, and Poland to Mexico.
His choices ranged from the international intrigues of “Deutschland 83,” set during the height of the Cold War, to the French detective thriller “Match Day,” to the mysterious atmosphere of the Swedish “Thicker than Water” and the political thriller “Blue Eyes:” in this list, contradicting the common opinion of a Latin America that only produces soap operas, there are also interesting titles from South America such as “Pure Evil,” an Argentine psychological thriller, or “Magnifica 70,” a sort of Brazilian Mad Men.
All of this is available for online streaming—and this is the other wager, dealing with a public whose viewing times and places are ever more differentiated, satisfying all of those users who ask to be freed from the slavery of scheduled programming to which traditional television has habituated them, and then above all understanding how to earn their loyalty by finding an alternative to the already road-tested Netflix, which requires a subscription. His web channel, entirely free, makes money the old-fashioned way, by selling ads. Thanks to these simple but effective intuitions, the work of Walter Iuzzolino has succeeded in thrilling millions of television viewers.
Deutschland83 Deutschland83 Kabul Kitchen Kabul Kitchen