Séries Mania: Episode 8 of a turbulent season
by Fabien Lemercier
- In a burgeoning festival landscape, the eighth edition of the Parisian event boasts 31 world or international premieres and 600 professionals in attendance
The knives are out among TV-series professionals in France. The recent decision by the Ministry of Culture of the city of Lille to organise a large-scale international festival in France dedicated to series (with the first edition of the winning proposal drawn up by the team behind Série Séries to be held from 1-10 June 2018) has prompted a vigorous counterattack from the city of Cannes, which has also announced the creation of an event of a similar type (in April 2018, at the same time as the MIP TV market, with partners such as Reed Midem and Canal+, and headed up by former Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin). But we have certainly not seen the last of the other unsuccessful candidate for the ministry’s call to tender, the excellent and increasingly popular Séries Mania (founded by Laurence Herszberg and headed up by Frédéric Lavigne), the eighth edition of which kicks off in Paris tomorrow at the Forum des Images (as well as at six other venues). Indeed, the capital’s mayor has assured the event of her unwavering support, and the "brand" is booming on the international stage, as Séries Mania Melbourne is due to kick off in July and the upcoming Odessa Film Festival will offer a carte blanche to Séries Mania, just like the Montreal Film Festival has done for the last two years. The 2018 season of French festivals dedicated to series therefore looks set to be both hair-raising and “cutthroat”.
Nevertheless, let’s focus on the small screen for the time being and take a look at the tantalising programme for the eighth Séries Mania: of the 59 series on the menu from 13-23 April, 31 will be having their world or international premieres. The official competition will pit ten titles against each other, which will be assessed by a jury chaired by US producer and screenwriter Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers), flanked by such names as Polish director Agnieszka Holland and Israeli filmmaker Eytan Fox. Among the series battling it out, European output is represented by Ride Upon the Storm (Denmark), Monster (Norway), 4 Blocks (Germany), Kim Kong (France) and the British titles Broken and Born to Kill. They will be locking horns with two US, one Australian and one Israeli series.
The International Panorama section boasts 19 titles, including 13 Commandments and Team Chocolate for Belgium, The Teach (Poland), Sé quien eres (Spain), Wasteland (Czech Republic), Before We Die (Sweden), Below the Surface (Denmark), Tempel (Germany), The Swell (Netherlands), and the British series Apple Tree Yard, Clique and Fleabag.
Among the other sections of the very well-stocked menu, we should highlight Brand-new Seasons, with season two of Call My Agent (France), Occupied (Norway/France/Sweden) and The Missing (UK), among others, as well as season three of Le Bureau des légendes (France); a French Series section, with five unseen series (Aurore, Transfer, Family Business, Missions and The Forest); the pilots of new Amazon series; a comedy marathon; Web & Digital Series programmes; and the Séries Mania Cult Shows, not to mention a slew of panels and round-tables.
Sixteen European projects in development will be pitched to more than 600 accredited professionals at the Coproduction Forum (18-21 April), where nine projects selected and incubated by Séries Mania and the Torino Film Lab (with backing from Creative Europe Media) will also be presented as part of the SeriesLab. We should also point out the Coming Next from... line-up, which will introduce international buyers to new French, Finnish and Norwegian series currently being shot or in post-production. Lastly, standing out among the other meetings, panels and case studies (most notably those devoted to market trends in the UK, Scandinavia, Italy and Germany) are a session to introduce a selection of literary works whose rights for series adaptations are still up for grabs (in association with Best-seller to Box-office) and the European Conference on TV Series Financing, organised in conjunction with the CNC and set to take place on 19 April.
As for the festival itself, the guests of honour at this year’s edition of Séries Mania are US actress Julianna Margulies (ER, The Good Wife), Danish screenwriter Adam Price (the creator of Borgen and Ride Upon the Storm) and US actor Justin Theroux. Other key figures who will be in attendance to meet the public include British screenwriter Jimmy McGovern and Argentinian filmmaker Daniel Burman.
(Translated from French)