Series production in Europe at the heart of the fourth season of Série Séries
by Aurore Engelen
- The fourth season of Série Series will unspool from 1-3 July 2015 in Fontainebleau, and will give pride of place to the myriad facets of European series production
Founded in 2012, the Série Séries Festival, which is open to European audiovisual professionals as well as the general public, aims to place European series and their creators at the heart of its activities and reflections, paving the way for the clearly visible enthusiasm exhibited by the public over the last few years. It thus responds to a passion for creating locally produced series – a desire felt by audiences as well as by institutions and professionals. Having been brought up on US “arthouse” series that have come out over the last 15 years, European auteurs and producers have now developed a real savoir-faire that is at once both local and global, and which has constituted a golden age for the European networks. And while the formats are being reinvented, literally every single genre is represented, ranging from sitcoms (a real inspiration in the UK with The Office and The IT Crowd) to political drama (Borgen), via the fantastic genre (The Returned) and the science-fiction thriller (Cordon in Flanders).
The programme of Série Séries offers an extremely eclectic selection of works, many of which have not been seen before, which will attempt to pre-empt the trends and give audiences the chance to discover premieres of the TV series that could well end up on their screens in the near future. At previous editions, audiences were able to discover Downtown Abbey (Great Britain), Real Humans (Sweden) and Rita (Denmark). Once again this year, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom are helping themselves to the lion’s share, which reflects their exceptional level of productivity, but with a hallmark of quality that has not waned in the slightest as the years have gone by. Northern Mishaps (Finland), an Arctic buddy movie, follows the saga of two actor friends who are looking to reinvent themselves as they near their forties by heading off to take on the North Pole. Torpederna (Sweden) offers a variation on the gangster figure: it follows Sonny’s thwarted attempt to rehabilitate himself, as he wishes he were able to continue the love affair he began in prison, but as a free man. However, one is rarely safe from one’s old demons. Meanwhile, the UK has two genre series, The Enfield Haunting (which tells the story of the Hodgson family and their haunted house) and Humans, the Channel Four adaptation of the Swedish series Real Humans. Another real find is the Spanish series co-produced with the BBC, The Refugees, a sci-fi thriller. In the future, humanity is threatened by a terrible catastrophe and is forced to take refuge en masse in our present in order to survive. However, the time travellers must comply with two rules: they must not speak about the future, and they must not try to make contact with their families.
But Série Séries also provides a raft of unmissable events for professionals, including a study by Eurodata TV on the most dynamic markets, consumer trends and the digital revolution that is currently under way, multi-screen audiences and catch-up TV, and even themed sessions where attendees can ponder spy or comedy series. There will also be a new rendezvous by the name of the European Series Summit, a summit for creators dedicated to enabling meetings in more personalised formats that are conducive to building up a solid network of European series professionals, developing and realising projects, exchanging best practice, and fostering pan-European co-productions and collaborations. There will also be small-group meetings, called Industry Meetings, where discussions will be held around real-life series case studies, presented by their creators. The topics set to be addressed this year will be: "the hero"; "sequels"; "do you speak European?"; and "the series, a reflection of our societies". On Thursday 2 July, Série Séries will also host the 12th TV Creation Day, an initiative led by the Audiovisual Promotion Association.
(Translated from French)