×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘We Got This!’ Wins Series Mania Co-Pro Pitching Sessions

From the field of 16 European projects, an American writer walked away the day’s big winner

LILLE France —  Bigger and better. That was the goal for this year’s edition of the Series Mania Co-Pro Pitching Sessions, the first since the festival moved from Paris to Lille. A prize of $50,000 ($61,500) was on the line for the winning series, awarded to the American-created, Swedish-made dramedy “We Got This!” the last project to pitch on the day.

“I decided to build a story about a misunderstood creature,” American series creator Schiaffino Musarra said during his pitch, one of the lightest of the day: “An ignorant and impulsive American. He is heavy, bearded and quite handsome.”

It’s worth pointing out that Musarra plays the lead character in the series.

“Interestingly, I had been pitching this as an idea on a piece of paper for about five years. Nobody wanted to do it,” he explained of the series inauspicious beginnings.

“Comedy is notoriously difficult to prove on a piece of paper,” he went on. “So I wrote a short script, called in favors to some of the most talented actors in Sweden, hired a rock-star crew, borrowed the best gear I could get my hands on, and I shot a trailer that made it look like the series was already done.

He added: “Suddenly, it went from a project that nobody wanted to do, to one that nearly everyone wanted to do.”

Musarra said that decision was the main reason that he found himself on stage in Lille, pitching to a room of industry executives and competing for the cash prize.

In it, an American immigrant living in Sweden finds himself in trouble with the Swedish tax authority. At his low point, the wayward protagonist learns of a half a million Swedish crown reward for anyone who can solve the 30-year-old mystery of the assassination of Olof Palme, the country’s former prime minister.

As to the day-long event, if bigger and better was the goal, it’s safe to say that the Series Mania team hit their mark. The Auditorium Europtop inside the Lille Grand Palais was crowded with professionals checking out this year’s crop of 16 potential projects, selected from 370 initial submissions.

Narrowing that field down was described by Series Mania general director Laurence Herszberg as, “a hell of a lot of work. It was really difficult. A lot of projects were interesting, and we wanted to keep a balance between region in the world, topics etc.”

She pointed out four major trends that the selection committee recognized in the body of submissions: Period dramas, science fiction, crime-spy thrillers, and what she described as “a tremendous use of drones,” before begging the assembled creatives to curtail their use of the technology.

Gaumont deputy CEO Christophe Riandée acted as this year’s jury president. He briefly addressed the audience before the pitches kicked off, introducing his fellow jurors: Apple Tree Productions CEO Piv Bernth, Netflix executive Damien Couvreur, Atresmedia director of content Nacho Manubens, and Sky head of drama Anne Mensah.

More TV

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Blake Jenner What If TV Show

    'What/If' Star Blake Jenner on Creating Chemistry With Jane Levy, Renee Zellweger

    Blake Jenner first rose to fame in 2012 when he won “The Glee Project” and therefore earned a role on “Glee” proper. In the years since, though, he graduated from teen heartthrob status to meatier, edgier roles in films such as “American Animals” and now the Netflix limited series “What/If,” in which he stars opposite [...]

  • Mario Lopez Candy Crush

    Mario Lopez, Seth Kurland Set Latinx Family Comedy Series at Netflix

    Mario Lopez and Seth Kurland are teaming up for a new comedy series at Netflix. Variety has learned that the streamer has given a 16 episode order to the multi-cam comedy “The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia” co-created by Lopez and Kurland. In the series, when Ashley Garcia — the world’s only 15-and-a-half-year-old robotics engineer [...]

  • HBO logo

    TV News Roundup: HBO Announces Recipients of 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship

    In today’s roundup, Fox Nation announces a fresh slate of programming for the summer and HBO announces the recipients of its HBOAccess Writing Fellowship. DEVELOPMENT: HBO has announced the recipients of its 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship. The eight writers selected out of the 3,000 submissions will participate in an 8-month program of master classes and [...]

  • Big Bang Theory

    'Big Bang Theory,' 'Manifest' Among Top Live+7 Gainers of 2018-2019 Season

    With 2018-2019 broadcast season wrapping up, certain shows stand head and shoulders above their competition in the Nielsen Live+7 rankings. Live+7 data is currently available only through May 5, but the top dogs will likely see little change once the final numbers are in for the traditional September-May season. The top gainer in adults 18-49 [...]

  • Anna Kendrick Paul Feig

    Anna Kendrick, Paul Feig Team for Comedy Anthology Series at WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Anna Kendrick and Paul Feig are coming to the WarnerMedia streaming service Variety has learned that the upcoming streamer has ordered the romantic comedy anthology series “Love Life,” the first season of which will star Kendrick with Feig executive producing. WarnerMedia has ordered a 10-episode first season of the half-hour series. Lionsgate Television and FeigCo [...]

  • Jon Feltheimer

    Lionsgate Posts Loss, Underperforms Wall Street Expectations

    Lionsgate has posted a quarterly loss and its revenues and operating income have come in under Wall Street projections, despite growth from its premium cable channel, Starz. The studio reported a net loss of $24 million, or 11 cents a share, with adjusted operating income of $103 million for its fourth fiscal quarter ended March [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content