BuzzFeed’s rise to internet phenomenon examined in documentary

BuzzFeed, the Internet news site that popularized the list and disseminated important political and entertainment news, is the subject of an upcoming documentary by former staffer and director Kelsey Darragh.

The film, which is currently in production, is backed by producer and financier Bright West Entertainment, who previously made “Subject” and “Sirens.” The company collaborated on the project with the Emmy Award-winning production team at Campfire Studios, creators of Hulu’s “WeWork” and HBO Max’s “Low Country.”

The director says he wants to track BuzzFeed’s “rapid rise and dominance in the early days of viral video,” but it’s not just clicks and traffic surging. The film will also examine “the chaotic and oft-criticized work environment” to BuzzFeed. The company went public in 2021 and its shares have plunged more than 80% since then.

The film has a personal connection. Darragh, the creator of an upcoming documentary “Rehumanize,” is also a former development partner and producer at BuzzFeed.

“I’m excited to connect with my former colleagues and delve into BuzzFeed’s glory days, including what happened when the buzz faded,” Darragh said. “Our time was a big part of internet history and who better to tell the story than those who experienced all the ‘LOL’ and ‘WTF’ moments? I look forward to sharing perspectives both behind and in front of the camera and working with Campfire and Bright West to bring the truth to life.”

The documentary will feature interviews with “born-on-BuzzFeed” Internet favorites Curly Velasquez, Essence Gant and Jazzmyne Robbins, former BuzzFeed News editor-in-chief Ben Smith, former head of social media and publishing Maycie Timpone , former editor-in-chief Sam Stryker and former video chief Ella Meilniczenko, among other insiders.

Campfire CEO Ross Dinerstein and Bright West president Alex Lieberman, who is funding the project, are the producers; Rebecca Evans, Ross Girard and Campfire’s Mark McCune serve as executive producers.

“Most start-ups are launched with the best of intentions, and as a fellow entrepreneur, I often find myself looking at what worked and what didn’t, and wondering ‘why?’ said Dinerstein. “Plus, any opportunity to explore the intersection of business and pop culture immediately piques my interest.”

Lieberman added, “Like everyone else, I was fascinated by BuzzFeed and what it must have been like to work there during the height of their influence. I look forward to Buzzfeed’s eventual roundup of the “16 Most Iconic Moments” from the new documentary.

UTA and Cinetic Media jointly represent the film.

Pictured: Alex Lieberman, Ross Dinerstein, Kelsey Darragh.

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