REPORT: Series Mania Digital Forum 2020
- From 25 March-7 April, industry professionals will have online access to 16 projects participating in the Co-Pro Pitching Sessions, as well as several world premieres in the Buyers Showcase
Forced to cancel as a result of the current health crisis, the Series Mania Festival (originally scheduled to unspool in Lille between 20 - 28 March) rapidly bounced back to create the Series Mania Digital Forum, a digital platform which will allow professionals to continue work on their future productions. Anticipating future content is even more crucial than usual at present, given the contrast between the trend of accelerated growth in worldwide broadcasters’ demand for series, and the gap left by the current postponement of all filming activities which is heightening this demand and playing havoc with schedules.
The online platform seriesmaniadigital.com will be open from 25 March to 7 April (current badgeholders will receive their access codes today, whilst others can subscribe directly via the website at a cost of €90). First and foremost on the agenda are the 16 projects selected for the Co-Pro Pitching Sessions, which will obviously be pitched via video. Standing tall amongst them are A Marriage, steered by Italian firm Indigo Film, the French-Belgian series Good People, which was created and written by Stephane Bergmans, Benjamin d’Aoust and Matthieu Donck (authors of the series The Break), the British-Polish project Life and Fate, an adaptation of the famous novel of the same name by Russia’s Vassili Grossman), the historical spy thriller from Spain Juegos de espejos which plunges the viewer into the 17th century, and the dramatic French-Israeli alternate history My First Family.
Also of note is the Belgrade-based gangster war set in 1991 which unfolds in the Serbian project Turbo, the serial killer on the run in Doppelgänger (a project involving Spain and Argentina), the life of Magda Goebbels in L’Oiseau noir (which brings together Belgium, Germany and France), the sci-fi thriller that is the Norwegian project Underground, the West Berlin-based criminal investigation set in the punk, party and squatter scene of 1978 which graces the German-British project The Island, the misadventures of young Moroccan women in Casa Girls (a French series created by Leïla Marrakchi) and those of the young East Germans travelling to the Soviet Union in 1985 in the German series Transitniki (selected by Series Mania in partnership with the Berlinale Co-Production Market’s CoPro Series Projects).
The Series Mania Digital Forum will also provide access to a whole range of series from the Buyers Showcase, including world premieres of works such as Cry Wolf, directed by Denmark’s Pernille Fischer Christensen, the British dramedy Adult Material, Cheyenne and Lola by France’s Virginie Brac (starring Belgian actress Veerle Baetens and Charlotte Le Bon), Dutch war thriller Commandos, French thriller Dérapages (adapted from Pierre Lemaître’s eponymous novel), directed by Ziad Doueiri, Ils étaient dix (an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None) directed by Pascal Laugier, and the French-Belgian-German comedy Parlement.
Also on the Forum agenda are the Coming Next From sessions, notably showcasing the French-German project Alger Confidential, written by Abdel Raouf Dafri and set to be directed by Frédéric Jardin, as well as Les aventures du jeune Voltaire, which will be helmed by Alain Tasma.
Here is the list of Co-Pro Pitching Sessions projects:
A Marriage – Indigo Film (Italy)
Anna and Enrico really loved each other. Then they really hated each other. We go back and forth over 12 years between the beginning of their love story and the war to gain sole custody of their only child. What caused love to turn into hate?
Casa Girls – The Film TV, Federation Entertainment (France)
How can you have a blooming sex life in Casablanca when you are a woman? This is the delicate equation that Kenza, Asmâa, Monia and Nawal will try to resolve, at the risk of jeopardising their wedding planning company or defying the prohibitions of Moroccan society…
Doppelgänger - Avi Films (Spain/Argentina)
A serial killer on the run bumps into a wealthy businessman who looks exactly like him. After murdering him and taking his place, he will discover that, far from being safe, his doppelgänger had dangerous enemies that he will now have to deal with.
Good People – Hélicotronc, Unité de Production (Belgium/France)
This is the story of a couple who plan to commit insurance fraud, a cop who dies before getting a chance to arrest them, and an insurance broker who is the only person who sees things clearly. This is the story of good people who never wanted to hurt anyone.
Life and Fate - Cosmopolitan Pictures, Clerkenwell Films, Apple Film (UK/Poland)
An intimate family saga set during the Siege of Stalingrad, the turning point in World War II. A timely and redemptive celebration of the victory of human individuality and free will over the repressive tyranny of big ideas. The 20th century’s War and Peace.
My First Family - Haut et Court TV, Quiddity (France/Israel)
In an alternative France, people who want to have children need to obtain a licence. Claire, an evaluator working in a centre where parenthood tests are conducted, becomes pregnant and starts fearing she might not pass the tests she helped put in place.
Play of Mirrors (Velázquez in Rome) - Vertice 360 (Spain)
Velázquez travels to Rome to paint a portrait of Pope Innocent X while on an undercover mission for the Spanish Kingdom, at war with France. He will be the main suspect in a string of murders, facing the most powerful woman in Rome, Olimpia Pamphili, the Pope’s sister-in-law and the head of the secret society The Black Order.
The Black Lady - AT-Prod, Zeitsprung Pictures (Belgium/Germany/France)
A six-episode series dedicated to the story of Magda Goebbels, a key figure of Nazism with a confusing life. She was never predestined to join the dark side of history and to become the murderer of her own children.
The Island – Producers At Work, All3Media (Germany/UK)
Berlin, 1978: A British citizen has been found stabbed to death in a gay club near Bahnhof Zoo, West Berlin. This murder marks the dark beginning of a journey into the Western part of Berlin, home to the punk, party and squatter scene. A journey into a unique social biotope, where, under burning glass, social processes and personal fates are dissected.
Transitniki - Rohfilm Factory (Germany)
In the summer of 1985, a handful of young East Germans, feeling restricted by the authoritarian GDR regime, travel illegally to the far reaches of the Soviet Union, to experience true adventure without the comfort of a safety net.
Turbo - Sense Production (Serbia)
Belgrade, 1991. As Yugoslavia crumbles and inches towards war, ageing mobster Dragan is forced to defend his throne from teenage hot-shots on the rise – not realising his own son is becoming the very face of this emerging "turbo generation".
Underground - Anagram Norway (Norway)
Environmental changes made the Earth uninhabitable. There was only one way to go. In mankind's biggest joint effort, underground cities were built. Now, 18 years later, life has never been better. But is it too good to be true?
Frozen Land - Non-Stop Production (Russia)
In the remote republic of Khakassia, the police have systematically been ignoring cases of rape. Only when the rapist becomes a serial killer do the police start to act. Frozen Land is the story of a woman who loved the serial killer and never believed that he was guilty.
Submarine - The Mediapro Studio, Estúdios Globo (Brazil/USA)
Brazil’s first nuclear submarine is hijacked and taken over by a criminal organisation that intends to use it as the most efficient, fastest and most undetectable way of transporting drugs across the Atlantic Ocean. Everything has been thought through by the mastermind of the operation, the corrupt commander of the navy, Admiral Enrique Almeida. Everything except the exceptional courage of a bunch of sailors led by his very own son, the second-highest-ranking officer on the submarine.
Tahrir - Artza Productions (Israel)
Set during the dramatic events of the Arab Spring in Tahrir Square, and culminating in the violent takeover of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, six members of staff are trapped inside the building, while two Arab brothers are caught in the crossfire.
The Abduction of Yossele Schmacher - Eran Riklis Productions (Israel)
In 1961, the abduction of an eight-year-old Jewish boy by his ultra-Orthodox grandfather leads three women to clash over his fate and faith, kick-starting a fierce global war between the Israeli Mossad and the impenetrable web of the Orthodox community.
(Translated from French)
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