Source: ©Lucia Luoroio / 2024 Netflix. Inc


Cost-cutting is believed to be behind the end of Berlinale Series this year and the festival has pivoted to inserting high-end TV shows across its programme. Yet top industry executives say endorsement from events such as Berlin and Cannes can have a “halo effect” for premium shows.

The Berlinale Series Market (February 19-21), now in its 10th year, remains in situ and EFM director Dennis Ruh calls it “an integral part” of the EFM with shows taking their place in most sales agents’ rosters.

At a time when many platforms are backing more mainstream drama series and network-style shows, Fremantle CEO of global drama Christian Vesper believes festivals can help the best projects stand out in a crowded sector.

Festivals, says Vesper, are quite clear about what kinds of projects will fit into their line-ups. “They’re usually looking for director driven projects or writers,” he notes, ”always with a cinematic connection.”

Fremantle-backed The Apartment has produced the Italin series Supersex – a biopic of porn star Rocco Siffredi – in partnership with Groenlandia, which is part of the Banijay group.

Supersex is with Netflix and the show, like detective drama Dostoevsky from Sky, plays in Berlinale Special. German crime series Zeit Verbrechen is in Panorama.

The Berlinale was the first A-list film festival to launch a dedicated high-end TV in 2015. The Berlinale’s TV offering is down this year from eight in 2023’s Berlinale Series.