The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

Hulu and Netflix documentaries dive into the secrets of a fraudulant festival

Two of the online entertainment giants, Netflix and Hulu, recently released their own separate documentaries of the infamous Fyre Festival. 

While, both Netflix and Hulu made films about the same festival failure they take vastly different approaches. 

Billy McFarland was the mastermind behind the festival with his celebrity hypeman Ja Rule. The festival was meant to be a cross between Coachella and Burning Man, on a beautiful island in the Bahamas, but was ultimately a failure. 

Hulu’s “Fyre Fraud” and Netflix’s “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” are both about an hour and thirty five minutes in length. 

Hulu’s “Fyre Fraud” is directed and written by Julia Willoughby Nason and Jenner Furst. The synopsis is as follows, “Fyre Fraud is a true-crime comedy exploring a failed music festival turned internet meme at the nexus of social media influence, late-stage capitalism, and morality in the post-truth era.” 

This is a true representation of what to expect from this documentary as it not only looks at the Fyre Festival but also the implications of influencers on social media. 

“Fyre Fraud” takes a step back to look at the larger problem at hand with Millennials, FOMO (fear of missing out), and the need to have extravagant experiences for no other reason than just to flaunt on social media.     

Netflix’s Fyre documentary is directed and written by Chris Smith. The synopsis on Netflix is “He promised supermodels and yachts, but delivered tents and cheese sandwiches. How one man engineered a music festival disaster.” 

Even though Netflix gives a short and sweet rundown of what to expect from their documentary it is exactly what the film is about. “Fyre” definitely focuses its attention on the build up and then epic failure of Fyre Festival. Netflix focuses far more on just the festival and does not really look into and critique Millennials and social media as a whole. 

The biggest difference between “Fyre” and “Fyre Fraud” is that Hulu’s version has an exclusive interview with Billy McFarland. 

According to Los Angeles Times, “Fyre”’s director Chris Smith could have also had an interview at a price of $125,000, apparently much less than Hulu paid but he could not ethically agree to it. 

Los Angeles Times wrote, “Furst and Nason acknowledged that they did pay McFarland to license footage and indemnify the production from his potential claims of defamation. They denied that the amount was $250,000 but would not say how much McFarland was paid.” 

McFarland does not confess to anything in “Fyre Fraud” but he does give us a look into his childhood and just his mere presence gives Hulu’s version a different perspective.

Furst told Los Angeles Times, “I find it a little curious that we’re being asked if we have an ethical problem when the Netflix project was produced by Jerry Media, one of the companies that ran social media for Fyre and deleted negative comments on the festival’s Instagram page.” 

“Fyre” having Jerry Media involved is slightly off putting just because viewers cannot be 100 percent sure that they did not taint the outcome but they did not give any slack to the event or the people involved. 

Both documentaries have people involved that could be seen as problematic but both documentaries expose the fraudulent festival. 

Hulu’s “Fyre Fraud” and Netflix’s “Fyre” are both interesting documentaries with their own theatrical approaches. Depending on what viewers are looking for will decide which documentary to watch. 

“Fyre Fraud” studies what led this festival to come about and has an interview with Billy McFarland. 

“Fyre” has more actual footage from when Fyre Festival was being put together and interviews with Fyre employees and the island workers.

Both documentaries are worth the watch. Even though they have some overlap, they each bring something different to the whole story.

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