Series Mania 2021 reveals details for upcoming festival

Details about the upcoming 2021 Series Mania Festival and Series Mania Forum have been announced, with plans for eight days of pitches, panel sessions and networking opportunities in Lille, France, beginning next month.

The postponed event, taking place from 26 August to 2 September, the festival will see more than 50 series from over 40 territories showcased at the physical event, with the opening series to be the international premiere of UK drama Vigil, a World Production for BBC One, in association with ITV Studios and ARTE.

Further new season premieres taking place at the festival will meanwhile include Money Heist, Criminal Games – The 70s, Mytho and Les Engagés: XAOC.

Following press conferences held by Rodolphe Belmer, president of Series Mania, and Laurence Herszberg, founder and general director of Series Mania, it has also been revealed that the international competition jury is to be chaired by screenwriter, director and producer Hagai Levi (BeTipul), who will award the grand prize for best series, as well as the prizes for best actress and best actor.

Guests of honour will include Fanny Herrero, Delphine Horvilleur, Vince Gilligan and Damon Lindelof.

Laurence Herszberg

Packed schedule of events

The Series Mania Forum will be held between 30 August and 1 September and will include the launch of the creative bazaar, an incubator for unique residencies, workshops and training programmes for writers and producers from all over the world.

Taking place on 31 August, the Lille Dialogues will bring together European lawmakers and international TV industry leaders for a day-long international trade summit to encourage joint reflection on the challenges facing the TV industry and to promote international cooperation.

Three round tables will examine topics including; include: ‘Europe in an era of streaming’, ‘The future of TV’ and ‘A European strategy for public service broadcasting’.

This year will, of course, also see the return of physical encounters, debates, and a presentation of panels and conferences, with a focus will be on creativity and writing, but also on paradigm shifts in the industry, new economic models, and the challenges of ecological transition.

Exclusive sessions are confirmed with panelists and speakers including Simone Emmelius, SVP of co-production and acquisition at ZDF in Germany; Christian Vesper, president of global drama at Fremantle, and David Michel, president of Cottonwood Media/Federation Entertainment in France.

Some of the themes that will be addressed during the Series Mania Forum conferences and panels include: ‘Can you still sell an original idea?’ and ‘Is European TV ready for diversity?’

This will all be in addition to the regular co-pro pitching sessions, with an international jury of industry professionals picking the best of 15 projects that will receive a €50,000 prize to help develop the winning show.

Rodolphe Belmer

Online element

The physical event will also be supported by the online aspect Series Mania Digital, which will give accredited members access to live and catch-up content, events and conferences.

Furthermore, starting from 19 August, members will be able to access a space listing all the projects in development presented during the various Séries Mania programs and residencies, as well as a premium directory of “talents to watch” selected and highlighted by the Forum.

During the festival itself, access will be made available for the “Meeting Area” (sponsored sessions, virtual stands, private tables, and online meeting areas); the “Screening Room” (screenings from the Festival and sponsored screenings); and the “Lille Dialogues” where each of the conferences of this day will be broadcast live and then in replay within this section.

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