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Vimeo is expanding its original programming efforts with a slate of projects from comedy talent including Aidy Bryant and Bianca Del Rio of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame.
The ad-free online streamer, which is popular among indie filmmakers, began its original programming efforts last year with High Maintenance, a series about a Brooklyn weed dealer from Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair. The short-form series ran for several seasons on Vimeo as a self-funded project from its creators until last year, when Vimeo offered to fund six new episodes. HBO subsequently picked up six new episodes of the critically adored comedy.
“We were so excited about High Maintenance because the creators came from the platform and were doing something of higher quality and weren’t interested in pursuing an ad-supported path,” explains Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor. “Through that experience, we deepened our commitment to this world of creators. These new investments are all about going deeper into that vision.”
This year, Vimeo is funding several new projects. They include gay dramedy The Outs, short film Darby Forever and a comedy special from Del Rio.
The Outs, from Adam Goldman and Sasha Winters, was a web series that streamed on Vimeo in 2012 that gained traction with audiences. It ended in 2013 with a 45-minute episode titled “Chanukah Special.” Vimeo is bringing it back with all the same characters — Jack (Hunter Canning), Oona (Winters) and Mitchell (Goldman) — just three years older. The series, which will premiere in winter 2016, is being executive produced by Goldman and Vaughn Schoonmaker.
Darby Forever comes from Saturday Night Life castmember Bryant, who writes and stars in the short film about a shop girl who works at a fabric store in a generic small town. Luka Jones co-stars as possible love interest deliveryman Nick. Retta and Natasha Lyonne also star. Darby Forever, which will be released in winter 2016, is executive produced by Bryant and Jason Carden. Oz Rodriguez is directing.
Bianca Del Rio’s Rolodex of Hate Comedy Special: Live from Austin, features the season six winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race in her first stand-up special. It is executive produced by Roy Haylock, who performs as Bianca Del Rio, David Charpentier and Jacob Slane for Producer Entertainment.
Vimeo is funding these series and has struck deals that will allow it to create additional episodes or seasons in the future. Each project will stream exclusively on Vimeo through the company’s transactional Vimeo on Demand platform.
While this slate leans toward comedy, Trainor says he expects each project to feel different than other online comedy projects available. “They’re coming from an intelligent and sophisticated brand of comedy,” he says. “It’s not slapstick or sketch comedy programming. That was important to us.”
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