Vimeo Orders Marina Abramovic Doc, Loyiso Gola Comedy Special in New Originals Slate

The Hollywood Reporter
Vimeo Orders Marina Abramovic Doc, Loyiso Gola Comedy Special in New Originals Slate

Vimeo is focusing on female-driven stories with its newest slate of original projects.

The IAC-owned streaming service has given the green light to three new originals that are part of its Share the Screen initiative, which was established to bridge the gender gap in Hollywood.

Among the projects that Vimeo has funded is a feature-length documentary about Marina Abramovic. The Space in Between: Marina Abramovic and Brazil will follow the performance artist as she goes in search of personal healing and artistic inspiration. Directed by Marco Del Fiol, the film hails from Elo Company and is produced by Jasmin Pinho and Minom Pinho. It will be released in October.

Vimeo's other two projects are comedy focused. Stand-up special Loyiso Gola: Live in New York will debut in November to showcase the comedian's frank and outspoken comedy. Gola executive produces alongside Trina DasGupta, who also directed the special. Single Palm Tree Productions is producing.

Miniseries 555, which will be released in January, is a comedy about the cinematic underbelly of Hollywood. Comedians Kate Berlant and John Early star in the project, which is directed by Andrew DeYoung. All three are executive producing with Abso Lutely Productions.

This is Vimeo's third slate of originals. It made waves when it brought cult favorite High Maintenance back for two new seasons in 2014, but the series was quickly scooped up by HBO for a new season that premiered Sept. 16. Its second batch of originals included a short film from Saturday Night Live's Aidy Bryant and a standup special with RuPaul's Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio.

"This round is focused on a more international audience, with projects hailing from talent in South Africa and Brazil," says Sam Toles, head of global content acquisition and distribution. "Vimeo's audience is 70 percent outside of the United States, and with our recent decision to provide a global transactional VOD destination for hit series from Lionsgate and others, it made sense to expand our investment towards international filmmakers and creators."

In June, Vimeo announced that CEO Kerry Trainor would be leaving. IAC CEO Joey Levin has stepped in as interim CEO until Trainor's replacement is named. The turnover comes as Vimeo is exploring how to compete in the Netflix-dominated streaming-video space while also continuing to offer the filmmaker tools for which it is known.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference on Thursday, Levin acknowledged that Vimeo doesn't yet have an answer to that question. "The way Vimeo works right now, it's very hard to define the consumer experience," he said. "It's not one consumer experience. The reality is that it's tens of thousands of consumer experiences that can be very different."

He added that while Vimeo is focused on its creator tools, it does have an audience of more than 250 million that it needs to address. "We are now in the process of figuring out the answer to the question, which we haven't really answered yet, of how to make content on Vimeo more discoverable, which it's not right now."