Italy’s Torino Film Lab, France’s Series Mania Festival Launch SeriesLab

Projects at Torino TV drama writing program showcased at Series Mania TV Festival

Beau Séjour
Courtesy of Demensen

Paris-set Series Mania Festival, one of the highest-profile TV events in Europe, is teaming with the Torino Film Lab to tackle the central challenge of Europe’s fiction TV industry: Screenplays.

SeriesLab, the new joint mentoring program for TV series writers, will see the writers and creators of nine new series at early development stage and which are at least six-episodes long  attending a fee-paying training scheme run by the Torino Film Lab from January through April at residencies in Spain, Italy and France, where they will receive personalised mentorship from experienced writers and tutors, Series Mania announced Wednesday. The nine projects will then be presented at Series Mania’s 2017 Co-production Forum. Selected projects do not require a producer to be attached.

Adding further industry heft to the Series Mania Festival, the Co-Production Forum will be extended from three to four days, for its 2017 edition, running April 18-21. The 8th Series Mania Festival will take place over April 13-23.

A French drive to create a TV drama festival that can sit side-by-side with the Cannes Festival, which takes place just one month later, this year’s SeriesMania was graced by David Chase, Cuba Gooding Jr. Harlan Coben, Stephen Poliakoff, Frank Spotnitz and “Dexter” show-runner Clyde Phillips.

Featuring a U.S. Series major sidebar, showcasing the latest seasons from shows such as “Billions” and “Mr Robot,” as well as “The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” promoted in Paris by Cuba Gooding Jr., Series Mania have extraordinary access to high-profile international TV series, both completed episodes and at project stage, which are shaping artistic trends in global TV and the business agendas of some of the biggest TV players in Europe. From France alone, Studiocanal showcased “Midnight Sun,” from “The Bridge” co-screenwriters Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein, as well as “Section Zero,” produced by Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp TV, while Wild Bunch TV unveiled one of the first two series on its sales slate, “Four Seasons In Havana,” a pioneering example of Caribbean Noir. Lagardere unveiled “Cannabis,” Federation Entertainment the Finnish procedural “Bordertown.” Event also marked for many the discovery of Belgian noir with two series, “The Break” and “Public Enemy” playing the French-language section to acclaim, and a third “Beau Sejour,” also sold by Lagardere, sharing Series Mania’s Audience Award with “Midnight Sun.”

426 TV executives were selected to attend the Co-Production Forum at the 2016 April event; Series Mania as a whole attracted 1,300 industry attendees, which puts industry participation just below that of the Venice or San Sebastian Festivals. SeriesLab project pitches will be open to all professional at Series Mania.