The goal was to develop a program with an audience-first approach that fosters a deeper and more direct connection with the ambicultural community and bridges the divide between the virtual and the visceral. We introduced HBO Max Pa’lante! x NYLFF (New York Latino Film Festival), an initiative to reimagine Latinx storytelling and engage audiences in dynamic experiences and events. The platform launched with the premiere of the HBO Max concert special Juan Luis Guerra 4.40 Entre Mar Y Palmeras.
Recreating a tropical getaway on a rooftop overlooking the best views of Miami, this unforgettable event safely brought together the leading cultural figures of the city to celebrate the iconic Dominican musician, Juan Luis Guerra. NYLFF produced an innovative event complete with authentic flavors, impressive visuals, and unmistakable rhythms, attended by press and influencers.
The project came to fruition by first developing a mission for the program. This became our guide in not only our execution but our intention for the audience experience and how they are equal participants in elevating content and culture. We accomplished this in various ways:
● Simultaneous trailer launch across HBO Max (in-app), HBO Max Pa’lante, NYLFF Social Platforms, Talent and artist rep
● NYLFF based contest for an opportunity to attend
● Live social feed from the event on NYLFF social feed
The objective was to bring to life the environment of the tropics, the culture of the Caribbean and the intimacy of an acoustic concert. To accomplish this, we installed physical set pieces (palm trees, clean white furniture with tropical accents around them, custom-designed environmental film installations, Latin instrumental set-ups). The event featured a conversation with the artist, director, and journalist. The film presentation concluded with a tribute music set with Yasser Tejeda.
The biggest challenge was producing the event in the heat of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was the first physical event authorized by WarnerMedia and the first public appearance for Juan Luis Guerra as the Dominican Republic was still under lockdown. The concerns over his personal health and leaving the country was a priority for all involved. If he did not feel safe, then we would have had to re-evaluate how we were going to launch the special.
This meant developing a comprehensive Covid safety plan from the ground up. The execution of the plan underwent extensive walk-throughs on security protocols, along with meetings with the local health department. It had to have buy-in from all parties involved.
As the country was slowly opening to public gatherings, we went from being a solely drive-in experience to being a hybrid experience, allowing a certain number of attendees to enjoy without a vehicle. We had to keep our eye on Covid movements in the city and be able to pivot at any given moment, which was critical before the event was even considered. Another issue was that the event was produced in Miami, with a Latino community that was the hardest affected, based in a city that had its own socio-political opinions on safety. We had to have a hard stance on who we let participate and the adherence of the rules.
We produced the event on the top deck of an expansive, open-air parking lot in the heart of South Beach, which gave us the opportunity to take advantage of Miami’s natural tropical views, vibes, and climate. More importantly the venue gave us the space for social distance safety, as well as being a blank slate that lent itself to being transformed into a Caribbean oasis. The parking lot was crucial in creating a bespoke drive-in experience where attendees could stay with their groups, watch, and listen from an FM station.
The event generated 13 million social impressions from guests and talent in attendance.
We defied expectations with an event that had no incident with regard to a Covid outbreak. The legend himself, Juan Luis Guerra, mentioned the evening as his top memory for 2021.
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