IUZZOLINO:THE KING OF THE TV SE­RIES

All About Italy (USA) - - Editorial - Oreste Sacco

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.

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