Greek Salad

Source: (c) Jérôme Plon

‘Greek Salad’

Series Mania will kick off its 2023 event with Cédric Klapisch’s Amazon French Original series Greek Salad before serving up 32 world premieres, an industry Forum, and closing with Anna Winger’s Netflix series Transatlantic.

The International Competition of the annual television festival and industry event includes Franco-Belgian Arte series Grace of Heaven, Apple TV+, France Televisions and Hulu Japan’s Drops of God, Paramount+’s Spanish Fleeting Lies, Reshet 13’s Israeli series Red Skies, Viaplay’s Norwegian The Fortress and Prime Video’s US series The Power. Among the titles from countries represented for the first time are Mega TV’s Greek series Milky Way and Namanva’s Iranian series The Actor.

Series Mania’s opener Greek Salad is Klapisch’s Athens-set series sequel to his popular features L’Auberge Espagnole, Russian Dolls and Chinese Puzzle which follows the characters years later along with their children, a new generation grappling with issues facing today’s youth.

Set in Marseilles, Unorthodox creator Winger’s closing series Transatlantic is based on a true story and follows an international group who helped thousands of refugees in France escape Nazi Germany in the 1940s and stars Gillian Jacobs, Corey Stoll, Gregory Montel and Lucas Englander.

Competition titles

All of the competition titles will vie for prizes chosen from a jury presided over by Emmy-nominated writer, director and executive producer Lisa Joy (“Westworld,” “Pushing Daisies”). Joy will be joined by French actress Emmanuelle Béart, British showrunner-screenwriter Chris Chibnall, Franco-British singer-songwriter and actress Lou Doillon, Indian director Anurag Kashyap and Israeli actor Yehuda Levi. The jury will award a Grand Prize for Best Series and prizes for Best Script, Best Actress and best Actor during a closing ceremony on Friday, March 24.

Drops of God, created by Parallèles’ Quoc Dang Tran is set between Tokyo and the French vineyards and stars Japanese actor-singer Tomohisa Yamashita of Alice in Borderland and The Head.

Red Skies is a unique take on the Middle East conflict, the first series written by an Israeli-Palestinian co-writing duo who are behind Shtisel and No Man’s Land.

Haven of Grace stars Olivier Gourmet in a Le Havre-set story about drug trafficking, while Milky Way is a poetic coming-of-age teen series set in the Greek mountains and The Actor, the first-ever competition entry from Iran, is about about two unemployed actors who get hired to play unique roles in real life,

Fantasy series The Power from Sister, the producers of Chernobyl and The Baby, stars Toni Collette and follows teenage girls who develop mysterious powers.

Fleeting Lies is the first series produced by the Almodóvar brothers and features a star-studded Spanish cast in a comedy about the obsession of beauty and success. The Fortress is a futuristic series that questions migrant policies and stars Years and Years’ Russell Tovey.

Public panels and conferences will cover topics such as “Do series have style?,” “Is the representation of war possible in series” and “What can series do for ecology?”

Global series

Series Mania managing director Laurence Herszberg and artistic director Frédéric Lavigne said that in 2023, organisers are “paying particular attention to series originating from territories outside of the more established Anglo-Saxon and European countries.” They added: “Some come from territories we don’t hear from very often.”

The selection features series from 24 countries including for the first time ever Greece, Uruguay, India, Pakistan, Benin and Senegal. Lavigne and Herszberg added that “This year’s selection is also marked by feminine power, with emancipated, often radical characters who at times flirt with revenge.”

Jury President Joy will also give a masterclass as will Succession star Brian Cox, Emily in Paris star Philippine Leroy Beaulieu, plus Greek Salad director Cédric Klapisch and series star Cécile de France.

A parallel French competition will see local language series vie for top prizes chosen by an international jury presided over by Hervé Le Tellier alongside American screenwriter and producer Lila Byock, US director of the Sundance Episodic Lab Jandiz Cardoso, Danish producer Lone Korslund, French actress Assa Sylla and French artist Hugo Bardin aka “Paloma.” A student jury will also award its prize for Best Series. Among the titles in competition are Bardot (France Televisions), Six Women (TF1), Polar Park (Arte), Under Control (Arte), Aspergirl (OCS) and Split ( slash).

A parallel International Panorama section will also screen a dozen world and international premieres including UK series Funny Woman based on Nick Hornby’s best-selling novel starring Gemma Arterton, Yaron Shani’s docufiction blending six intertwining stories Innermost, Keshet TV’s Israeli series A Body That Works about the bond between an infertile couple and their surrogate mother that stars Jury member Yehuda Levi, plus Offworld, five stories directed by prestigious Spanish filmmakers including Rodrigo Sorogoyen about the collapse of civilisation.

Series Mania Forum

Head of Series Mania Forum Francesco Capurro and Herszberg said that the industry-focused Series Mania Forum is “getting more and more global” and that the event’s networking business lounge and delegates hall is already “sold out” with “a record number of delegates, executives, commissioners, producers, writers, and public institutions.”

New this year is a Series Mania Creative Campaign Award given to reward a standout innovative marketing campaign that attracted audience attention in the current sea of series.

The Co-Pro pitching Sessions, “the founding premise and most anticipated event of the Series Mania Forum” according to organisers, will highlight 15 series seeking international funding. The best project will be awarded a €50,000 prize to help develop the series, selected by a professional jury of leading industry executives who will be announced later this month.

Other highlights include industry-oriented events focusing on advertising and windowing, series and gaming, engaging with young adult audiences and showcases from Netflix, Disney+ and Sky Studios.

Netflix VP of series, France Damien Couvreur, Federation Studios’ co-founder and managing director Lionel Uzan, Fremantle International CEO Jens Richter, ZDF VP Drama Robert Franke and EVP Sky Studios Germany and Italy Nils Hartmann are among the bevy of industry execs set to participate. All3Media, Banijay, BBC, EOne, Mediawan, NHK, Studiocanal, Sony Pictures, ITV Studios, Fremantle, Gaumont and Beta are among the participating companies.

In 2021, organisers launched the Series Mania Institute, a training program for students and industry professionals, and just this week announced a partnership with French state film organisation the CNC on a “Going European” programme that pairs French and European screenwriters together for global co-writing projects.

The 2023 edition of the Lille Dialogues will focus on “Shaping the Future with the Audiovisual Sector - a sustainable and Imaginative industryand organisers have named Cyril Dion, the director of Animal and Tomorrow and co-founder of sustainable, socially-charged production company Newtopia, as the event’s ambassador. The day-long series-focused summit brings together European lawmakers and key industry leaders for a joint reflection on the key issues and challenges facing the global TV industry organised in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, the CNC, and the European Commission.

Based in Paris for nearly a decade before moving to Lille in 2018, Series Mania continues to expand and has become a key event for the TV series industry.

The event’s upcoming edition is set for March 17 – 24 for the fifth time in Lille with the festival’s industry-focused Series Mania Forum held March 21 – 23 and the Lille Dialogues on March 23.