PARIS, FRANCE  -- March 23, 2016 – For its seventh season, the Series Mania Festival is taking things up to the next level in the light of the growing popularity of TV series and the growth of this professional sector on an international scale. At a Paris-based press conference today, Ms. Laurence Herszberg, general director of Forum des Images and founder of Series Mania, announced that this year’s event, to be held April 15-24, will be bigger than ever, in both in terms of its programming and the number of participants it expects to welcome. Last year, 22,000 members of the public and 980 professionals attended the event. This 2016 edition will focus on originality and innovation, offering all participants a unique showcase of international small-screen creativity magnified onto the big screen.  

Series Mania will be taking over two theaters in the UGC Ciné Cité Les Halles movie complex in addition to its screening rooms in the Forum des images for the 50+ series screened during this new edition. The Festival will be hosting its Rock ’n’ Roll opening night event in the legendary Grand Rex cinema in Paris, with a screening of the pilot of Vinyl, the new series from Martin Scorsese.

More than 30 guests are expected at this year’s event to talk to audiences after screenings or within the framework of special sessions. Among the highpoints of this year’s Series Mania is the public interview and career tribute to celebrated showrunner of The Sopranos, David Chase. Cuba Gooding Jr. will be exploring the character of O.J. Simpson that he plays in one of the America’s current hit shows (American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson). Showrunner Clyde Phillips (Dexter) will be there for the world premier screening of his latest creation, Feed the Beast.

Internationally celebrated author Harlan Coben (The Five) will be at Series Mania to discuss how he adapts his work for the small screen. Frank Spotnitz (The Man in The High Castle) and Stephen Poliakoff (Close to The Enemy) will also be joining the ranks of the talented creators attending the Festival.  In addition, several key women in the industry will be attending the Festival. In particular, Leila Bekhti, star of the Nordic thriller Midnight Sun, and Argentinian director Lucía Puenzo, co-creator of eco-thriller Cromo.

For festival-goers, it’s all about watching, listening, and sharing some great experiences and Series Mania will be providing plenty of special screenings like the complete series screening of Capital, a marathon of offbeat comedies, and a “work-in-progress” session with Marseille,

The International Competition and Jury

This year for the first time, Series Mania is organizing an international competition of world premieres, to be judged by a jury headed by David Chase, along with four other renowned names involved in series, cinema, and culture.

It will include eight ambitious projects that will enjoy exclusive screenings either before or just after they have been shown in their home territory. Entries hail from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, France, Israel, Norway, Sweden, and the UK, demonstrating the confidence the industry has in the international scope of Series Mania.

The competition also offers a snapshot of what’s hot in the industry right now, from taking a fresh look at an old genre such as thriller with The Five; creating new forms, with Beau séjour and The Kettering Incident; raising questions about modern society, with Mama’s Angel or Nobel; offering a realistic interpretation of unknown worlds with El Marginal and Cannabis; and from an industry perspective, revealing the dynamism of European co-productions with Midnight Sun.

Additional Competitions and Juries

In addition to this unique competition, Series Mania is also confirming its programming strategy of four other competitions, including American, French, International Productions (known as Panorama) and Web series.  Each section will be judged by its own individual jury.  New this year, the American selection will be judged by the Association des Critiques de Séries. The Press Jury will judge the French series, the Bloggers’ Jury will evaluate the Panorama programming, and the online audience gets to vote for best Web series. These prizes, along with those from the International Competition and the Audience Award, will be presented during the closing ceremony.

50 premieres of TV Series from Around the World

Thanks to the combined programming from all four of the competitions listed above, this year Series Mania will be offering more than 50 premieres of TV series from around the world.

Female creators and directors will be very much in evidence, particularly in terms of comedy, but in other genres, too. They include Swedish writer Cilla Börjlind (Spring Tide), American actress, writer, producer, and director Amy Seimetz, along with Lodge Kerrigan (Girlfriend Experience), and Brit writer Marnie Dickens (Thirteen).  American productions will bear witness to the growing presence of web distribution platforms such as Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix. Belgian series, in particular from French-speaking Belgium, will be returning with brio (Ennemi publicLa Trève), along with the highly anticipated Au-delà des murs from France. Latin America has made a remarkable breakthrough with Cromo; northern Europe is maintaining its expertise in terms of the thriller genre (Bordertown); and Australia continues its penchant for social critique (Cleverman). The UK also brings several very successful adaptations of works by authors including John Le Carré (The Night Manager) and Tolstoy (War and Peace).

The 16 shows in the Web series selection demonstrate unrivalled creativity. They include output from France (Le Ball Trap), Canada (L’Écrivain public), Germany (Transatlantics), but also Asian production, notably from India (Bang Baaja Baaraat) and South Korea (Lily Fever).

The European TV Series Co-Production Forum

The European TV Series Co-Production Forum, the industry arm of the Series Mania Festival, has now become a key date in the annual calendar for TV series professionals from around the world. It runs from April 19-21 and has this year widened out its selection to include 16 TV series projects in development which will be announced shortly.