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MipTV: Cannes Drama Festival Unveils Details of Its Inaugural Edition

CANNES, France — Cannes Mayor David Lisnard took to the stage Monday at MipTV to outline in broad strokes the inaugural edition of the city’s international drama series festival to be held next year.

Named Cannes Series, the eight-day festival will run alongside MipTV, the global television showcase organized by Reed Midem, with a budget of 4 million euros. MipTV – the current edition of which is now underway – will mostly maintain its format as well as its six-day length, while the new festival will open a couple of days before MipTV.

Meanwhile, the future of MipDrama Screenings, the competitive section of drama series premieres that wrapped its second edition Sunday, is being discussed, according to a source at Reed Midem, which besides organizing MipTV is also a partner of the new Cannes Series.

Lisnard appeared at a news conference with Fleur Pellerin, the co-founder and president of Cannes Series, who is France’s former culture minister; Benoit Louvet, the festival’s managing director and a former top executive at TF1; Maxime Saada, managing director of Canal Plus Group; and Paul Zilk, president of Reed Midem.

The new fest will include an official selection and a competitive section of 10 unreleased live-action series. Web series and short-format will also be considered. It’s unclear if these will have to be international or world premieres to be eligible for the competition, as it is the case with major film festivals, such as Cannes. The jury will be composed of at least five people.

Unlike MipTV, which is a B2B event, Cannes Series will be open to the public: Theaters across town will play the shows throughout the day and on evenings, while TV viewers and web users will be able to vote for their favorite series. In total, Cannes Series will host more than 200 free screenings, including an all-night event, called the Night of the Serivores.

Cannes Series — at least its opening and closing ceremonies — will also be broadcast on Canal Plus, which will be a partner of the festival.

Saada said that Canal Plus would exclusively back Cannes Series, and won’t be a partner of other drama series festivals in France. That means Canal Plus will not be backing the new Lille TV series festival, which will also launch in 2018 with the financial and moral support of the French government, or the increasingly high-profile Series Mania gathering in Paris

Beyond screenings, Cannes Series will host masterclasses, debates, and retrospectives, as well as a year-round program, including a writers’ residency and training in digital series creation, launched in partnership with UCLA for 20 students.

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