Buyer’s Profile: Neil Friedman, co-founder, ChaiFlicks

Neil Friedman (Source: ChaiFlicks)

In this ongoing series, TBI speaks to key buyers about the shows they want and the models being used to pay for them.

Here, Neil Friedman, co-founder of Jewish content streamer ChaiFlicks, which bills itself as “the world’s leading streaming platform for Jewish storytelling,” shares his content demands, discusses the recent move into original programming and his acquisitions “quest”.

Fire Dance (Source: ChaiFlicks)

What kind of shows are you currently looking to commission?

At ChaiFlicks, we literally scour the entire world looking for the best available Jewish content – whether that’s a film, documentary or TV series. We look at both comedies and dramas, scripted and unscripted series from the leading producers, writers and talent across the globe.

And we’re very proud of our track record and the success we have had with the content that we’ve acquired across our first three-plus years. We’ve had the good fortune of finding some really remarkable series, many of them hidden gems, that hadn’t previously been seen by our subscribers.

Are you open to pitches & at what stage would you want to join a project?

We do take pitches and talk to producers globally throughout the year, but we primarily license our programming from third-party producers, sales companies and distributors. We recently launched our first original series, Schmoozing & Cruising, which is a fun unscripted program that explores the best of kosher restaurants from across the US. Again, our focus primarily is on licensing great content, but we are absolutely open to doing more original content in the future as we continue to grow and expand our offerings at ChaiFlicks.

What upcoming shows are you most looking forward to? What is it about those projects that makes them a good fit for your channel/platform?

We recently launched Fire Dance, Israeli filmmaker Rama Burshtein-Shai’s critically acclaimed TV series that is a coming-of-age story of a young, troubled woman in a tight knit ultra-orthodox religious sect. It’s from the producers of Fauda and Shtisel and it’s quickly become one of ChaiFlicks’ most popular series. We are still in the process of launching all of the episodes of Fire Dance and it is clearly resonating with our viewers. On top of Fire Dance, we have some exciting new acquisitions that we can’t wait to announce in the coming weeks and months.

What is on your acquisitions wishlist at the moment?

We are a Jewish content streaming service with the primary focus on sharing diverse storytelling from all parts of the world. So, believe it or not, we do not have a wishlist per se. What is unique about the programming task for our streaming service is that there is always new programming for us to view and we love what we do and therefore make it our business to view it all. We do not want to leave any stone unturned in our quest for programming for our channel.

The Lesson (Source: ChaiFlicks)

How do you approach balancing acquisitions vs original commissions?

Our focus right now is mainly on acquisitions, but we are open to doing more original series that make sense for us on a number of levels.

Which rights would you be looking to acquire? How flexible can you be?

The ChaiFlicks channel is currently available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. We are primarily looking for exclusive SVOD rights in each of these territories.

Which shows are performing well for you currently?

Fire Dance has really been a breakout success for us this year. In addition to Fire Dance, our most popular series include The Lesson, The New Black and Wartime Girls and our recent documentary series launches of Pollard and Birth Of Conflict have also done well for us.

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