ChaiFlicks’ Neil Friedman

Positioned as the world’s largest streaming platform dedicated to Jewish content, ChaiFlicks features thousands of hours of movies, scripted series and documentaries. The streamer is primarily stocked with acquired content, including the brand-new launch Kafka. ChaiFlicks co-founder Neil Friedman tells World Screen about the buying remit for the platform and expansion plans.

WS: What was the drive behind setting up ChaiFlicks?
FRIEDMAN: We fulfilled a need in the marketplace to have a streaming platform exclusively dedicated to presenting the best in Jewish storytelling from the world over. We had previously been focused on distributing Jewish films to theaters and film festivals and opted to grow that business by prioritizing scripted and documentary series and making the very best of Jewish content available directly into homes.

WS: Tell us about the programming mix on the streamer.
FRIEDMAN: Our primary business model is focused on acquiring the best content we discover from leading Jewish storytellers around the world. We literally scour the globe looking for the best available Jewish content—whether that is a film, documentary or TV series. In November, we launched our first original series, Schmoozing & Cruising: Tripping on Kosher Americana, an unscripted series that spotlights the best kosher food establishments in the U.S. Again, ChaiFlicks is primarily focused on acquisitions, but we will continue to look for potential original series that we believe are right for our audience on our platform.

WS: In terms of acquisitions, what are you currently on the lookout for?
FRIEDMAN: We look at both comedies and dramas, scripted and unscripted series from the leading producers, writers and talent that are available worldwide. In our first three years, we have been very fortunate to have identified some truly great series like The LessonThe New BlackUnchainedLabyrinth of PeaceWartime Girls and Fire Dance that have truly resonated with our viewers. On June 6, we launched a beautiful new series from Austria, Kafka. The series, which is focused on the life of Franz Kafka, one of the leading literary figures of the 20th century, is set to launch timed to the 100th anniversary of his death. We believe Kafka is the ideal series for ChaiFlicks viewers.

WS: How much are you buying for the platform in a given year, and how is this looking for the remainder of 2024 and into 2025?
FRIEDMAN: We do not have a set number of series or films that we look to acquire each year, rather we identify the best content we discover from around the world and then look to make it available to our audience. That said, we have ramped up the volume of new offerings that we launch on the platform each year, and ChaiFlicks is now home to more than 3,500 hours of Jewish-focused content. And we expect that number to grow exponentially in the coming months and years.

WS: What have you learned about the types of programming resonating with ChaiFlicks viewers?
FRIEDMAN: The ChaiFlicks viewer has an insatiable appetite for watching Jewish stories emanating from across the globe. The defining predicate for the ChaiFlicks viewer is stories that are unique and previously unfamiliar to our viewers. We are curators of the best content in the Jewish space. This applies to all formats of programming on the platform, whether series, narrative films, documentary films or short films. There truly exists unlimited content in the Jewish space for our viewers to enjoy.

WS: Where is the service available at present, and what are the expansion plans for the year ahead? What’s the strategy for partnerships as well to further the global rollout?
FRIEDMAN: ChaiFlicks is currently available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and we launched this past year in the U.K. We are focused on continuing to grow our subscriber base in these five territories in the near future, but we are also exploring potential growth for ChaiFlicks in additional European and possibly Latin American nations. We do have very strong partners in Australia and New Zealand, and we are 100 percent open to furthering similar relationships in additional territories as well.