What does a young, Chilean industrial engineer who moves to New York City to become a filmmaker make a web series about? A young (tall, dark and handsome) Chilean who comes to New York City to make it in the land of the gringos, of course.
The outstanding bilingual mockumentary web series Gringolandia is the brainchild of Chilean writer-director-producer Cristóbal Ross and producer-editor Nicolás Balbontin. It follows the adventures of Peter, played by gorgeously goofy Chilean YouTube star Koke Santa Ana (Ross flew him out for two weeks to shoot the series) and his gringo girlfriend, Stacey (Nicole Schneider). Together they scheme to become as successful as the Nuts4Nuts guy, selling Chilean-style street hot dogs.
The supporting cast is composed of priceless New York personalities. Abby Feldman is a riotous stand-out as flighty, vintage-clad, constantly crafting neighbor Mary.
The straight-to-camera interviews (à la The Office and Modern Family) are far more hilarious than their network-TV counterparts, in part because they're bilingual. While Stacey babbles in bad Spanish, Peter beams, “Poor thing. She speaks like crap, but it doesn't matter.” Peter's English isn't much better. “I speak kind of like a baby with a boob in his mouth,” he admits.
Ross' directorial debut hints at a bright future. He catches all the chemistry and heart of his ensemble amongst the broad humor of their eccentricities and cultural misconceptions. In addition to the bounty of laughs, the bright palette and energy of the photography douse the audience in the joy of Peter and Stacey's love of each other and their Gringolandia of endless possibilities.
The Tangled Web We Watch is our column on what's worth watching online. Watch Gringolandia at bit.ly/gringolandia. Read Stephanie Carrie's full interview with Cristóbal Ross on her blog, tangledwebwewatch.com.