‘Midnight Sun,’ ‘Feed the Beast,’ ‘The Kettering Incident’ World Premiere at 7th Paris Series Mania

David Chase, Cuba Gooding Jr., Harlan Coben to attend burgeoning Paris TV Festival

Midnight Sun - Leila Bekhti, Ralf
Copyright: Jerome Bonnet, Canal Plus

PARIS – Graced by David Chase, Cuba Gooding Jr. Harlan Coben, Stephen Poliakoff, Frank Spotnitz, and “Dexter” showrunner Clyde Phillips, the Paris’ 7th Series Mania, a drive to create a TV event that can sit side by side with Cannes Festival, will open April 15 with HBO’s sex-and-drugs laced 1970s’ music-scene drama “Vinyl,” whose creators include Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese.

Closing April 24 with Hulu’s Stephen King adaptation “11.22.63,” the premiere French TV festival will also boast a new eight-series international competition as it steps up in scale, ambition, venues and government backing. Industry participation may well also grow from last year’s 980 execs.

Fest will also feature four other competitions, focusing on American, French, worldwide and Web series, the global titles framed in a Panorama, plus as industry highlights, a European TV Series Co-Production Forum running April 19-21, featuring 16 TV projects, and a work-in-progress sneak-peak of “Marseille,” Netflix’s first French original series, produced by Federation Ent.

The international jury prexy, David Chase will be interviewed before an audience and receive a career tribute. Cuba Gooding Jr. will explain his creation of the character of O.J. Simpson in “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson”; Phillips will attend the world premiere of AMC crime series “Feed the Beast,” with David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess.

“It’s a source of great pride to have in the same edition David Chase, Clyde Phillips and Cuba Gooding Jr. They are unique figures in the TV world,” said Series Mania founder Laurence Herszberg, also Paris Forum des Images general director. She pointed out that for the first time, series will play at a screen in Paris’ UGC Ciné Cité Les Halles, while Series Mania will bow with a Rock ‘n Roll night at Paris’ legendary Grand Rex picture palace. “This shows we are now big enough to open in such a symbolic place,” Herszberg added.

In other star creator turns, Coben presents a screening of “The Five,” which bowa on Sky April 15 produced by Studiocanal’s U.K. production company RED Production Company, where he will explain how he approached adapting his own novel for the small screen.

Spotnitz, “The X-Files” writer, will be on hand in Paris to present “The Man in the High Castle,” inspired by a Philip K. Dick novel, about an imaginary North America, in a world where Hitler won World War II. He will talk about working with Amazon Studios.

Puenzo, one of Latin America’s most-distinguished distaff directors, co-directs “Cromo,” a three-hander noirish eco-thriller demonstrating her taste for smart genre with substance, co-helmed with brother Nicolas Puenzo, the cinematographer-director, and Pablo Fendrik (“Ardor”).

Series Mania has grown in synch with the world’s fast-ramping drama series production sector, powered by a U.S. feeding frenzy for high-end drama, powerful new OTT entrants, and a content-creation reaction among incumbent TV operators and new SVOD players around the world.

Unspooling less than two weeks after Mip TV’s own inaugural MipTV Drama Screenings, the 7th Series Mania will highlight some potentially breakout international series, and the industry and creative trends they exemplify, via world premieres of at least 11 new series.

Of the six world preems in Series Mania’s newly launching International Competition, one of the most awaited in international terms looks like Arctic Circle procedural-thriller “Midnight Sun,” starring Leïla Bekhti (“The Prophet”) who attends Series Mania, and Swedish actor Gustaf Hammersten, and made by Sweden’s SVT and France’s Canal Plus, as the giant Gallic pay-TV operator taps into creative talent outside France. Studiocanal announced this month that it is handling world sales.

Also making the International Competition cut, among world premieres: Belgium’s Arte-aired “Beau Sejour,” a contempo whodunit with a twist; Moroccan drug trade-themed “Cannabis,” from Lucie Borleteau (“Fidelio, Alice’s Journey”); from Israel, “Mama’s Angel,” from creator-writer Karen Weissman; Norwegian broadcaster NRK’s “Nobel,” a war-drama/political thriller, by creator-director Per-Olav Sorensen; and “The Kettering Incident,” aired by Australia’s Foxtel, a Tasmania shot mystery drama, with otherworldly overtones.

Also world premiering at Series Mania, in Panorama, are BBC Two’s Starz co-produced “Close to the Enemy,” a post-World War II thriller, with writer-creator-director Poliakoff on hand in Paris, as well as two Finnish skeins: the YLE-aired and Federation Ent.-co-produced “Bordertown,” a Nordic noir procedural/family drama; and ·”Lola Upside Down,” a 1994 Finnish small town drama.

As the world’s eyes turn on Cuba, Panorama will also world preem Spaniard Felix Viscarret’s awaited TVE-broadcast Caribbean noir “Four Seasons in Havana,” written by Cuba’s Leonardo Padura from his own novel series, one of the first two series to be acquired for worldwide distribution by Wild Bunch TV as producer Tornasol also ramps up TV production.

“With the International Competition, we wanted to suggest the diversity of shows, ideas and players in our industry today,” said Herszberg.

That said, Series Mania also illustrates the big trends in current drama production, she added: “More and more shows are tapping into literature; you still have a very big trend in thrillers; there are also shows set in very strange universes.”

AMC, ABC, Sony Pictures, NBC Universal, BBC Worldwide and ITV Studios are among companies that have confirmed their attendance at Series Mania’s Co-Production Forum, where attendance will be limited to about 300 execs. Fest will also feature a European TV Series Conference on April 20, a Coming Next France showcase of six dramas, a works-in-progress session for Finnish drama “Tabula Rasa” and diverse round tables, one asking: “Is the Future for Series Already Behind Them?” It turns on U.S. remakes of modern classics.

Starting with a new morning session, series will now screen twice, another 2016 innovation. “We’d like to attract a new audience, which attends morning screenings,” Herszberg said of an event which is now coming of age.

Emilo Mayorga contributed to this report

7th SERIES MANIA, April 15-24, 2016


“Vinyl,” (creators & writers: Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter, Rich Cohen, U.S.) HBO


“11.22.63,” (creator and writer: Bridget Carpenter, U.S.) Hulu


“Beau séjour,” (creators: Nathalie Basteyns, Kaat Beels, Sanne Nuyens, Bert Van Dael, Belgium) HBO

“Cannabis,” (creators and writers: Hamid Hlioua, Clara Bourreau, Virginie Brac, France) ARTE

“El marginal,” (creator: Sebastian Ortega, Argentina) TV Pública

“Mama’s Angel,” (creator and writer: Keren Weissman, Israel)

“Midnight Sun” (Creators: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein, Sweden, France)

SVT, Canal+

“Nobel,” (creator: Per-Olav Sørensen, Norway) NRK

“The Five,” (creator: Harlan Coben, U.K.) Sky 1

“The Kettering Incident,” (creators: Victoria Madden, Vincent Sheehan, Australia) Foxtel


“American Crime,”  (creator: John Ridley) ABC

“Billions,” (creators and writers: Brian Koppelman, Andrew Ross Sorkin, David Levien) Showtime

“Casual,” (creator and writer: Zander Lehmann) Hulu

“Colony,” (creators and writers: Ryan Condal, Carlton Cuse) USA Network

“Hap And Leonard,” (creators and writers: Nick Damici, Jim Mickl) SundanceTV

“Master Of None,” (creators and writers: Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang) Netflix

“Mr. Robot,” (creator and writer: Sam Esmail) USA Network

“Show Me A Hero,” (creators: David Simon, Paul Haggis) HBO

“The Catch,” (creator and writer: Jennifer Schuur) ABC

“The Girlfriend Experience,” (creators, writers and directors: Lodge Kerrigan, Amy Seimetz) Starz

“The Man In The High Castle,” (creator and writer: Frank Spotnitz) Amazon

“The Path,” (creator: Jessica Goldberg) Hulu

“The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” (creators and writers: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski) FX


“Ennemi public,” (Creators: Antoine Bours, Gilles de Voghel, Matthieu Frances, Christopher Yates, Belgium) RTBF (La Une), Proximus TV

“La Trève,” (creators and writers: Benja’ d’Aoust, Matthieu Donck, Stéphane Bergmans, Belgium) RTBF, Proximus TV

“Marche a l’ombre,” (creators and writers: Ian Lauzon, Ludovic Huot, Canada) Super Écran

“Au-delà des murs,” (creators: Hervé Hadmar, Marc Herpoux, France) ARTE

“Irresponsable,” (creator and writer: Frédéric Rosset, France) OCS

“SAM,” (creator and writer: Claire LeMaréchal, Stéphanie Tchou-Cotta, France) T1



“Cromo,” (creators: Lucía Puenzo, Nicolás Puenzo, Pablo Fendrik) European premiere) TV Pública


“Cleverman,” (creator: Ryan Griffen, Australia, New Zealand) ABC TV Australia


“Norskov,” (creator and writer: Dunja Gry Jensen) TV2


“Bordertown,” (creator: Miikko Oikkonen) YLE

“Lola Upside Down,” (writers: Ulrika Bengts, Annina Enckell) YLE Fem


“Nsu German History X,” (creator and writer: Thomas Wendrich) ARD


“Rebellion,” (creator and writer: Colin Teevan) RTE One


“The Writer,” (Creator and writer: Sayed Kashua) Channel 1


“The Pact,” (writers: Przemyslaw Nowakowski, Joanna Pawluśkiewicz, Andrzej Golda) HBO Polska


“Four Seasons In Havana,” (creators and writers: Leonardo Padura, Lucía López Coll, Spain, Germany) TVE


“Spring Tide,” (creators and writers: Cilla Börjlind, Rolf Börjlind) SVT


“Capital,” (creator and writer: Peter Bowker) BBC One

“Close To The Enemy,”  (creator, writer: Stephen Poliakoff) BBC Two

“London Spy,” (creator and writer: Tom Rob Smith) BBC Two

“The Night Manager,” (writer: David Farr, U.K., U.S.) BBC One,

“Thirteen,” (creator and writer: Marnie Dickens) BBC Three

“War And Peace,” (creator and writer: Andrew Davies, U.K., U.S.) BBC One