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Cannes Mayor Plans to Launch International Series Festival in 2018

PARIS – The mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, said Tuesday that his office was planning to launch a new international festival in the city dedicated to TV series in 2018, even though Cannes is already home to France’s biggest film and television events: the Cannes Film Festival and MipTV and Mipcom.

The French government, which has declared its ambition to create a TV drama festival as prestigious as the Cannes Film Festival, is currently examining several locations across the country, including Bordeaux, Lille, Nice, Paris and Cannes, to host the fest. Laurence Herszberg, who runs Series Mania, a rising Paris-set festival focusing on drama, has been tapped by the government to find a home for the initiative.

Lisnard, however, told French journalists that his city had been planning such a festival for several years and would launch it in 2018 even without the support of the government. The mayor’s office confirmed those plans to Variety.

Lisnard said the series festival would include a competition section and an industry sidebar, modeled on the Cannes Film Festival and its Marché du Film.

If it comes to fruition, the new Cannes-set drama festival would compete with Reed Midem’s popular MipTV and Mipcom gatherings, and presumably with the new government-sponsored television fest, should officials pick a host city other than Cannes.

Both MipTV and Mipcom, international TV showcases set in April and October, respectively, have placed increasing emphasis on drama, with the recent launch of the International Drama Screenings and World Premiere TV Screenings. The two confabs draw more than 14,000 participants from over 100 countries, including high-profile talent, influential industry figures from U.S. studios, and independent companies.

Meanwhile, Monaco, another French Rivera hot spot, hosts the annual Monte Carlo International TV Festival, which takes place in June and boasts a competition section for drama series, as well as numerous red-carpet events.

Lisnard, who was not available to comment, did not give any details on the time of year he’d like the TV drama festival to run. The Palais des Festivals, Cannes’ main venue, is already booked most of the year with such events as Midem, MipTV, Mipcom, Cannes Lions and the film festival, among others.

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