Julia Grob and Yamin Segal knew something was missing in the world of Latino entertainment. They set out on a quest into new territory – creating a web series about real Latinos in an authentic Latino neighborhood. They named it “East Willy B,” and funded their first season through their “50k in 50 days” campaign on Kickstarter.
Now they are filming the first of 12, six to nine minute episodes, in Brooklyn, New York, which they hope to launch online by October.
“Both Julia and I had eureka moments at the same time,” says Segal, the director about the conception of the series. “I was looking at new technologies that existed to tell a story about Latinos by Latinos. New media really set up a world of renaissance TV. People are finding their niches out there.”
Grob adds they really wanted to tell the story of a real Latino neighborhood going through gentrification. She says they picked a neighborhood that was once mainly Puerto Rican, and now has a mix of Mexicans and hipsters as well.
“It’s a culture clash and how people navigate it,” says Grob. “I grew up in the Upper West Side [Manhattan], and I can’t afford to live there anymore. Gentrification is real personal to me…”
She says although “East Willy B” is a local story, they are really telling an all-American story.
“It rings true to folks in Chicago, Texas…gentrification is happening in a lot of Latino communities,” says the Ivy-league educated actress. She now lives with her husband in Brooklyn.
She says a little more than 600 people contributed to their Kickstarter initiative, and a lot of them still remain an active part of the project.
“We use some of them for extra work,” says Grob about the supporters who were inspired by the story and now want to help promote it. “All of our crew is Latino…the vibe on set is a different energy – one of family and community.”