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SERIES MANIA 2024

Line-up revealed for the 14th edition of Series Mania

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- Star-studded juries and a rich selection of series confirm the festival’s growing global scope and weight in the industry

Line-up revealed for the 14th edition of Series Mania
The BBC3 series Boarders by Daniel Lawrence Taylor

The stars have aligned for the 14th edition of Series Mania (15-22 March), which has attracted big industry names for its juries, line-up and special guests. But times are hard, and it shows in the selection’s themes, from the fear of AI to rigged elections, while recent strikes in the US industry and international crises have also had an effect.

Nevertheless, Series Mania is still going strong. With an audience of 85,000 people attending last year’s edition, and the growing erosion of cinema’s financial and critical ascendance over small screens, the Lille-based event confidently announced its line-up for its 14th edition on Wednesday morning. A total of 52 exciting new shows will be screened, among which are 26 world premieres, across six different sections (International Competition, French Competition, International Panorama Competition, Short Forms Competition, Comedy Competition and Out of Competition).

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A few US-based series such as the Annette Bening- and Sam Neill-led Apples Never Fall (Peacock) will be shown, but much fewer than usual, as a result of last summer’s US strikes. The impact of international crises on production will be keenly felt as well. As a matter of fact, this is the first edition of Series Mania without an Israeli show on its line-up. On the bright side, South Africa, Latvia and New Zealand will be present for the very first time.

Looking at the European contenders, Boarders (BBC3), the new show from Timewasters showrunner Daniel Lawrence Taylor, will be one to watch in the International Competition. The story of five underprivileged black students leaving their urban environment behind for an elite boarding school, this six-episode mini-series promises both drama and comedy. Dans l’ombre (France 2) should make some noise, too, with its depiction of a rigged presidential election and its starry French cast (Melvil Poupaud, Karin Viard and Swann Arlaud). Perhaps the most intriguing title in this section, the Franco-Hungarian production Rematch (Arte, Disney+, HBO Europe) is inspired by the true story of chess champion Garry Kasparov and his 1997 battle against IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue. The “based on a true story” banner will also appear during the screening of So Long, Marianne (NRK, Crave), a co-production involving Norway, Canada and Greece inspired by the relationship between Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen.

In the Panorama section, Dates in Real Life (NRK) could make a big impression with its portrayal of an introverted young woman deciding to cross the bridge between virtual dating and “IRL” love. La Mesías [+see also:
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(Movistar Plus+) should pique a lot of attention, too, given its high profile in its native Spain and the popularity of its creators, duo Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo, known for hits such as Veneno [+see also:
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and Paquita Salas, as well as their stint as judges on the reality series Drag Race España.

The now-traditional purple carpet of the festival will be agleam with big names walking all over it. The announcement of French-US director and screenwriter Zal Batmanglij as president of the International Competition comes as exciting news, given the cult status of his show The OA and the recent success of A Murder at the End of the World. He’ll be joined, among others, by French-Argentinian actress Bérénice Béjo, who has yet to dive into the series format as a performer. As for the Panorama section, it will be led by US writer Douglas Kennedy (The Big Picture), in the company of rising French talents such as actress Suzy Bemba (L’Opéra, Poor Things [+see also:
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) and screenwriter Clémence Madeleine-Perdrillat (Irresistible, En thérapie). Both presidents of the juries will give special master classes, as will special guests Kelly Rutherford (Melrose Place, Gossip Girl) and Laurent Lafitte, who has just made a splash in France with the hit show Class Act.

The festival includes an industry-focused branch called Series Mania Forum, which runs from 19-21 March. As usual, access to screenings will be free of charge, although Series Mania passes will be sold starting on 14 February for the price of €30, and will allow holders to skip queues and access special events.

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