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Documenting Docs: Netflix’s 'Fyre' vs. Hulu’s 'Fyre Fraud'

by Emily Reuben The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte’s editorial board. Documentaries are nearly limitless; they can cover tons of subjects. History, public figures, politics, entertainment, true crime, education…literally any topic can be used as the subject for a documentary film. Because of this, documentaries will always exist in some form. The content is endless, and even if something has been covered previously, a director can give a topic new life by showcasing new information and new perspectives, or even by using technology in inventive ways, such as motion graphics and unique editing. As a result, a topic is likely to have multiple documentaries made about it with varying levels of quality. And the differences in quality are everything. When you cover a topic and are competing with others who want to make a similar film about that subject, you have to make sure your film is the best. Such is the case when comparing Netflix’s Fyre and Hulu’s Fyre Fraud.

Image from Polygon
Both films cover the now infamous Fyre Festival. For those out of the loop, Fyre Festival exploded onto social media in late 2016, being advertised as a new music festival taking place on a private Caribbean island. Big names like Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Hadid, and others were all promoting the festival and planning to attend. Ticket packages climbed well into the tens of thousands of dollars range, adding to the exclusivity of the festival. However, when guests arrived at the island, they were met with FEMA tents, no running water, and only liquor in the way of sustenance (aside from a social media famous cheese sandwich). In short, the world laughed when it appeared a bunch of rich kids got scammed. However this scam was actually a huge deal. Festival goers weren’t refunded, nasty lawsuits ensued, and the festival’s co-founder Billy McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison for fraud.

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened swooped in Fyre Fraud Fyre Fraud Fyre Fraud
Fyre Fyre
Image from Netflix
GoFundMe campaign Fyre “take one for the team” Fyre Fyre
Image from Billboard
Fyre Fraud paid Billy McFarland
Image from Hulu
an interview with The Ringer,
”He [Billy McFarland] told us that they were offering $250,000 for an interview. He asked us if we would pay him $125,000. And after spending time with so many people who had such a negative impact on their lives from their experience on Fyre, it felt particularly wrong to us for him to be benefiting. It was a difficult decision but we had to walk away for that reason. So then he came back and asked if we would do it for $100,000 in cash. And we still said this wasn’t something that was going to work for us.”
Fyre Fraud Fyre Fraud
We began preproducing this in July 2017 with the intent to go far beyond the headlines, to acquire all the footage we could get our hands on, and to tell the deepest, most impactful story.”
Image from Netflix
bikini clad women on a seemingly luxurious island Page Six
“We were happy to work with Jerry Media and a number of others on the film. At no time did they, or any others we worked with, request favorable coverage in our film, which would be against our ethics. We stand behind our film, believe it is an unbiased and illuminating look at what happened, and look forward to sharing it with audiences around the world.”
Fyre Fyre Fyre Fraud  Fyre Fraud 
Image from Netflix
Fyre Fyre Fraud Fyre Fyre Fraud Fyre
Sources: NPR Huffington Post The Wrap GoFundMe The Ringer Page Six The Sun Images: Netflix, Hulu,  Billboard, Featured Image: