Russian period drama Red Rainbow has been voted the winner of this year’s Best Project Award at Series Mania Forum’s annual co-pro pitching competition.
The show is based on a true story set in 1979 and follows three young gay activists from West Berlin who are invited to Moscow for an official visit. While they are thrilled to see the country of their socialist dreams, they do not realise that being gay is a crime there.
Alexander Rodnyansky of France’s AR Content/Non-Stop Production and writer Matt Jones picked up the €50,000 ($60,000) prize for the 8 x 50-minute project, which was one of 15 shows in competition, from Series Mania founder Ms. Laurence Herszberg and professional jury president, Polly Williams, MD of Federation UK.
“We were incredibly impressed with all of the pitches, yet it was the strong story and LGBTQIA+ elements of Red Rainbow that helped us to reach a unanimous decision,” said Williams, who joined Federation from eOne last week.
“The pitch was very original and at the heart of the story was a warmth. This is a narrative that is still very relevant today and a story that definitely needs to be told.”
Herszberg added: “With its LGBTQIA+ theme, it is stories like this that will help build awareness. I have no doubt this series will soon find the perfect partners, and this once again confirms that Series Mania is the place where series begin.”
More than 100 projects have been presented as part of the Co-Pro Pitching Sessions since its creation in 2013, including Mediapro and Hulu drama The Head, No Man’s Land from Arte, and and Sky drama Devils.
In related news, the festival’s training offshoot – the Series Mania Institute – has struck deals with three new partners as it looks to expand the offering.
Series Mania Institute is backed by Lille European Metropolis (MEL), the Hauts-de-France Region and the CNC, with TF1-backed Newen now also joining as a founding partner.
It will assist with the training progammes that are offered, while pubcaster France Télévisions and regional body Entreprises et Cités have also been named as partners on the Institute.
“Our mission with the Series Mania Institute is to reinforce the training of European professionals in the field of series and audiovisual content, including scriptwriters, directors, producers, and broadcasters, to have them develop a cohesive working culture,” said Herszberg. “Newen, France Télévisions and Entreprises et Cités are the perfect partners for us, and we could not be prouder than to be making this announcement today.”