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Series Mania, Conecta Fiction Link Up on Industry Panels (EXCLUSIVE)

As international TV fiction sees seismic change, its key forums link to analyze business opportunities

Series Mania, Conecta Fiction Link on
Courtesy of Geraldine Gonard and Laurence Herszberg

MADRID – Paris-based Series Mania, the fast-expanding TV festival and industry forum, and Spain’s Conecta Fiction, a new TV co-production and networking initiative, have forged a collaboration that will see them exchange conference panel events at their 2017 editions.

Now entering its 8th edition, Series Mania’s festival runs April 13-23; its Co-Production Forum, which expanded to four days, runs April 18-21. As part of the Forum, Conecta Fiction, which seeks to forge production partner links between Europe, Latin American and the U.S. Hispanic markets, will host a panel, possibly on format sales between those regions.

In exchange, Series Mania will orchestrate a conference event at Conecta Fiction’s inaugural conference June 20-23 in Galicia, in northwest Spain, which has a strong tradition in fiction production.

The hookup between Series Mania and Conecta Fiction seems natural. Conference events may seem secondary at TV events, where many of the key players in international are presenting exclusive first-look presentations of new dramas; Series Mania features sneak peaks and first-look project presentations from major players in European and world TV.

But the production of and markets for high-end fiction are transforming at a remarkable rate in Latin America, as major players diversify from traditional telenovelas into shorter-format series, and Spanish companies are looking abroad to forge international co-productions and format sales to the rest of Europe. These changes require explanations.

Conversely, Series Mania’s presence at Conecta Fiction will bring to Spain a fixture on Europe’s emerging new TV scene to take part in a new event which is positioning itself as a bridge not just between Latin America and Spain but Latin America and wider Europe.

“We are asked by a lot of new TV initiatives for a form of collaboration but Conecta Fiction and Spain and Latin America are very interesting. There are direct links in cinema, but TV is less explored,” said Series Mania director Laurence Herszberg.

Added Geraldine Gonard, Conecta Fiction director: “Conecta Fiction is thrilled to collaborate with Series Mania for exchanging panel discussions about expanding  and strengthening partnerships between both continents for TV content as well as also setting up an international network to enable TV projects to travel.”

The Conecta Fiction panel in Paris looks set to explore the challenges, with some case studies, of the adaptation of fiction formats between Spain, Latin America and Europe, she added.

The panel exchange represents the latest collaboration for Series Mania, which already has a partnership with the Berlin Film Festival to select one project presented at the Berlinale’s Drama Series Days for further pitching to industry professionals at the Co-Production Forum. The project chosen this year was “Freud.”

“Freud is a very well-known international brand. The series has a very original concept: a young Freud, already very interested in psychology, becoming part of a crime-solving team in a vivid, elegant, period Vienna,” Herszberg said.

In return, the Berlinale will choose one of the 15 TV fiction series unveiled at Paris Series Mania for presentation at Drama Series Days the following year.

Series Mania is also in discussions to broaden its collaboration with Latin America’s biggest film market, Ventana Sur, said Herszberg. The Paris festival made a presentation last December at Ventana Sur’s inaugural TV event, Fiction Factory.

The Conecta Fiction-Series Mania linkup announcement comes as Conecta calls for applications for the 10 projects to be selected for its international c0-production pitching session.

The selection committee is made up of Alexander Keil at Berlin’s Producers at Work (“A State Affair,” “The Girl on the Ocean Floor”); Carolina Gonzalez, head of development at Argentina’s Underground Productions (“El Marginal”); and Albert Sagales, who heads up the coproduction department at Barcelona’s Diagonal TV (“The Cathedral of the Sea”), part of Endemol Shine Iberia.

Also on the committee is Anais Schaaff, a Spanish producer-writer on TVE’s “The Department of Time”; Charline de Lepine, who heads up France’s Macon Productions (“Spin”); and Francisco Cordero, a producer at BTF Media, whose Disney-backed Juan Gabriel bio-series “Before I Met You” has proved a huge success in Mexico and the U.S. Hispanic market.