Lido Pimienta’s New Variety Show Tackles Tough Topics Through Music, Sketches Interviews & Art

Tomato, Tomáto and Lido Pimienta on the set of LIDO TV. Image by Ada Navarro.

Making its world premiere at this year’s TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) on September 11, to then be broadcast on Canada’s CBC network September 23, is the brilliant, confronting, colorful and artistic series called ‘LIDO TV’, a variety show with a mission: to help people cope in a world that feels like it’s falling apart.

Created and hosted by Grammy Award-nominated Colombian-Canadian artist and musician Lido Pimienta, the series tackles themes ranging from feminism and colonialism to privilege and success, with unhinged sketches, inspiring interviews, immersive documentaries, original songs, and surreal puppets.

Shot between Canada and Colombia, LIDO TV is a fresh and fabulous take on the variety show format, combining playful puppetry, sketch comedy, intimate documentaries, candid interviews, and soulful performances, with special appearances by celebrity guests including Nelly Furtado, Bear Witness, and Shad.

Lido is a Black-Indigenous Latinx woman, whose mother’s family is Wayuu, Indigenous to land that comprises Northern Colombia and Venezuela. Having her perspective lead the way on the aforementioned topics is both necessary and timely, given recent events in Canada calling into question its colonial history and its impact on Indigenous people.

The series is directed by Maya Annik Bedward, a Jamaican-French Canadian director whose work has screened at Hot Docs, TIFF, Black Star and the New Orleans Film Festival. She has also directed episodes for ‘Farm Crime’ (CBC Gem), ‘BLK: An Origin Story’ (History Channel, Global TV) and more.

Dedicated to fostering a more equitable and inclusive industry, Maya is a founding member of the Black Screen Office and a mentor for the Telus StoryHive Black Creators Edition. She is currently in production on her first feature documentary, ‘Black Zombie’.

We had the chance to chat with Maya ahead of LIDO TV’s TIFF premiere to learn more about her own career, and what it means to have a variety of perspectives shaping narratives in film and TV.

‘LIDO TV’ director Maya Annik Bedward

Can you tell us where your directing career began, and what made you want to pursue film and TV? 

I have wanted to direct movies ever since I can remember.  I was a shy kid, but at the age of 8 I signed up for acting classes so I could learn how to direct actors!  When I got older, I wasn’t sure if I could pursue my passion. I didn’t see people like myself in the industry and wasn’t sure if it was a feasible dream. Then I moved to Brazil for a year and met so many amazing artists, who really inspired me! When I returned to Canada, I took the leap and eventually made my first film.

You are passionate about representation and diverse storytelling on screen. Why is this important to you?

I think diverse storytelling is exciting. It brings new and innovative perspectives to the screen. If you have the same people telling the same stories, it gets boring! That’s why I think audiences are looking for more diverse stories. We can see it in their current demand for international content. Just look at the success of shows like ‘Squid Game’! It’s also important that these diverse stories are authentic. Otherwise, they could perpetuate old stereotypes and problematic tropes. That’s why I strongly believe that diversity in front and behind the camera is important. Who tells these stories matters.

Tell us about your new LIDO TV series, premiering at TIFF. How did this show come about, and how did you get involved initially? 

I have known Lido for many years. She was in a music video I produced nine years ago for a really talented filmmaker named Blake McFarlane who is unfortunately no longer with us today. After this production, Lido and I would get together and chat about the different creative projects she had in development. Lido is a powerhouse when it comes to developing cool new ideas. She is very inspired by the world around her and can transform even the most difficult subject matter into meaningful acts of creative expression. When Lido TV was greenlit, she and her producing partner VISITOR MEDIA approached me to work on the project.  Of course I said YES!

We love that the episodes combine a fun, playful and child-like aesthetic, with topics such as colonialism and beauty. How closely did you work with Lido to create each of the episodes, themes and style? 

LIDO TV is definitely from the mind of Lido Pimienta. She is a multidisciplinary artist and has brought together all her talents to inform the creative direction of this show. She worked closely with the other executive producer, Sean O’Neill and the other writers to develop the initial scripts. Once they were ready, I worked with the production team, including the other director (Alicia K. Harris), the director of photography (Ann Tipper), and the production designers (Claudia Dall’Orso and Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea) to establish the visual language for the show. Since it was the inaugural season, we had to develop everything from scratch, which was a lot of fun! It was like playing in a very colorful sandbox!

What impact do you hope this series will have on audiences, especially in Canada where it will air, where there is a history of colonialism? 

This show is first and foremost a comedy so I hope it makes audiences laugh! After that, I hope it encourages people to engage in conversations that they usually find too difficult or disorienting. Our country has a dark past and the effects of this are long lasting. There are a lot of important things happening today that warrant a discussion and I hope LIDO TV provides a starting point.

‘LIDO TV’ will be airing on CBC Gem in Canada starting September 23, 2022. You can see more of Maya Annik Bedward’s work via her production company website Third Culture Media.

Sunnyflower, Lido Pimienta, Tomato and Tomáto on the set of IDO TV. Image by Ada Navarro

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