SeriesFest in Denver moves online with streamed panels, premieres


Denver-based SeriesFest is moving online, with its panels, premieres and competition strand to be made available digitally.

The annual six-day drama festival will take place as planned 18-24 June and include virtual writers rooms, ‘creator hangouts’, network watch parties and online ‘Pitch-a-thons’ as part of organisers’ plans to work around the Covid-19 pandemic.

Online screenings + Q&A

The virtual event will also include online screenings from 15 April followed by extended Q&As with talent and creators of TV shows. One Tree Hill’s James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti, New Amsterdam’s Ryan Eggold and those behind Disjointed are all set to feature.

A series of virtual roundtable conversations about episodic drama from indies will also launch from 16 April, while Emil Pinnock and Ian Robertson (Up North) will host a session titled ‘The Art of the Pitch’. A series of virtual writers room series will launch in May, described as “a professional development opportunity for emerging writers in independent episodic television.”

Netflix’s Sarandos goes online

Select writers will be invited to participate in a three-day workshop and month-long follow-up with the goal of producing pitch-ready scripted episodic content, while the planned SXSW Episodic Pitch-a-thon will also be available online.

The festival’s signature competitions, including ‘independent pilot’ and ‘digital short series’ awards, will also be online, as will the pilot selections. The ‘innovation talks’ strand will be streamed offering access to industry executives including Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and All3Media’s Jane Turton. Panels will also be streamed, with more info here.

Randi Kleiner and Kaily Smith Westbrook, co-founders of SeriesFest, said: “We are facing unprecedented times as the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it. Those impacted by the virus have been on our minds and in our hearts as we determined how to navigate this challenging time.

“As an organisation, we are collectively embracing the mandate to stay at home to ensure the health and well-being of our families, employees, industry and audiences. While many things have changed in these last few weeks, the one thing that remains the same is the need for our passionate community to stay connected through empathy and storytelling.

“By pivoting to a virtual experience, we are confident we will remain a trusted destination for meaningful conversations and provide a much needed forum for creatives to share, engage and celebrate their experiences and innovative stories.”

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