The Cannes Intl. Series Festival has unveiled its inaugural competition lineup, showcasing a wide range of 10 ambitious and anticipated new series, including Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s “Killing Eve,” Omri Givon’s “When Heroes Fly,” and “Here on Earth,” co-created by Gael García Bernal.
“Killing Eve,” based on Luke Jennings’ Villanelle novellas, stars Sandra Oh as a security operative hunting for an assassin (Jodie Comer). The series was made for BBC America and is being sold by Sid Gentle Films and Endeavor Content.
“When Heroes Fly” is a 10-part thriller following four Israeli special forces veterans on a mission to track down a missing girl in Colombia. Keshet International handles sales. Givon’s credits include the hit Israeli series “Hostages.”
“Here on Earth” (“Aquì en la tierra”), created by García Bernal, Kyzza Terrazas and Jorge Dorante, explores the brutal crimes, corruption and impunity of one of Mexico’s most influential families. The series was produced for Fox Networks Group Latin America and is being distributed by Fox Networks Group Content Distribution.
Other shows slated to compete at Canneseries include “The Hunter” (“Il Cacciatore”) created by Marcello Izzo, Silvia Ebreul, Stefano Lodovichi, Fabio Paladini and Marzio Paoltroni; “Miguel,” from fashion designer Tom Salama and screenwriter Daphna Levin; “State of Happiness” (“Lykkeland”), written by Mette M. Bølstad; “Undercover,” created by Nico Moolenaar; “The Typist” (“Die Protokollantin”), from Nina Grosse; “Mother,” created by actress-turned-filmmaker Park Jee-young; and “Félix,” created by Cesc Gay.
“The Hunter,” based on the book by anti-mafia prosecutor Alfonso Sabella, centers on Italy’s real Mafia wars of the 1990s and the battle between the Cosa Nostra and the Italian state. The series was produced by Cross Productions for RAI 2. It is is sold by Beta Film.
Shot in Guatemala, ”Miguel” tells the story of a gay man determined to fulfill his dream of adopting a child. David Mandil’s Movie Plus Productions produces.
“State of Happiness,” based on an idea by Synnøve Hørsdal and a concept by Siv Rajendram Eliassen, is set against the backdrop of Norway’s oil boom of the 1970s. The series was written by Mette M. Bølstad, whose credits include “Nobel.” Produced by Maipo Film, the series tells the true story of Philips Petroleum, which found a huge sub-sea oil basin that turned Norway into one of the world’s most prosperous countries. Starring a young ensemble cast, the series was ordered by Norwegian pubcaster channel NRK1 and is being distributed by DR Sales.
“Undercover” is inspired by real events, tracking two undercover agents on a mission to bring down one of the largest Ecstasy producers in the world, who lives in a secluded, luxurious villa on the Dutch-Belgian border. Federation Entertainment is selling the series.
Produced by Moovie GmbH and distributed internationally by Beta Film, ”The Typist” turns on a Berlin police officer investigating her own daughter’s disappearance. Grosse’s credits include “Weekend.”
“Mother,” a remake of the award-winning 2010 Japanese TV series of the same title, stars Lee Bo-young as a part-time teacher who discovers that one of the little girls in her class is beaten and sets off to adopt her. The series, which also stars Ko Sung-hee (“While You Were Sleeping”) and Son Seok-koo (“Black Stone”), was commissioned by TvN and is being distributed by Studio Dragon Corporation.
Telefonica-Movistar+’s big spring Original Series, “Félix” stars popular Argentine actor Leonardo Sbaraglia as a failed novelist who falls in love with a mysterious Asian woman. It is set against the spectacular backdrop of Andorra’s Pyrenees mountains. Gay is a critically-acclaimed Spanish filmmaker whose latest film, ”Truman,” was a considerable box office hit. ”Felix” is sold by ITV Global Entertainment.
Selected by Canneseries’ artistic director, Albin Lewi, the 10 shows competing will mostly have their world premieres at the festival. Canneseries’ official selection was announced in Paris on Tuesday at a press conference hosted by Cannes Mayor David Lisnard and Canneseries President Fleur Pellerin, France’s minister of culture from 2014 to 2016. Both sought to draw parallels between Canneseries and the Cannes Film Festival.
Pellerin said the event would appeal to “all generations” but would also be “glamorous” and highlight the competition series’ talent.
Prizes will be given for music, script, best performance, a Special Jury Prize, best series and best digital series, said Benoit Louvet, Canneseries managing director.
Three high-profile series are slated for out of competition, including the third season of “Versailles,” Simon Mirren and David Wolstencroft’s hit period drama, which will open the festival. Starring George Blagden as French King Louis XIV and Alexander Vlahos as his brother, “Versailles” was commissioned by Canal Plus and is being sold by Newen.
The other two series set to play out of competition are Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair” and Harlan Coben’s “Safe” (pictured) with Michael C. Hall, which is set to close the festival.
Based on Joël Dicker’s bestselling novel, “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair” stars Patrick Dempsey (“Bridget Jones’ Baby”) as a literary icon who suddenly finds himself indicted in the cold-case murder of a girl who has been missing for many years. It was produced by MGM Television, Eagle Pictures and Barbary Films. “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair” was ordered by TF1 in France and Epix in the U.S. MGM Television represents the show in international markets.
“Safe,” produced by Studiocanal’s RED Production Company (“Happy Valley”), stars Hall as a widower with two children living inside a pristine gated community. When his oldest daughter disappears under mysterious circumstances, dark secrets surface about the people closest to him. Studiocanal is selling the series. The series will premiere on C8 in France and will roll out on Netflix in the rest of the world.
Along with its selection of high-end drama, Canneseries will also boast a competition lineup of 10 innovative digital series, notably “Bonding,” created and produced by Rightor Doyle and blackpills which has worldwide rights; “Camionero,” created and directed by Jacques Toulemonde (co-writer of Ciro Guerra’s Oscar-nominated “Embrace of the Serpent”) and starring Andrès Crespo (“Pescador”); and Lee Young-Sook’s “Memento Mori.”
Canneseries runs April 4-11. From April 9, it runs alongside MipTV, the international industry showcase.
The jury will be presided over by Coben and will comprise actress Paula Beer, screenwriter-director Audrey Fouché, actress Melisa Sözen, composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer and actor Michael Kenneth Williams.
Initiated by Lisnard, Canneseries will be open to the public and will showcase a two-day industry event over April 8-9 called In Development, which is co-organized by Reed Midem and will be dedicated to fast-tracking new drama productions at an international level.
2018 CANNESERIES OFFICIAL COMPETITION
“The Hunter” (Marcello Izzo, Silvia Ebreul, Stefano Lodovichi, Fabio Paladini and Marzio Paoltroni, Italy)
“Félix” (Cesc Gay, Spain)
“Here on Earth” (Gael García Bernal, Kyzza Terrazas, Jorge Dorante, Mexico)
“Killing Eve” (Phoebe Waller-Bridge, U.S.)
“Miguel” (Tom Salama, Daphna Levin, Israel)
“Mother” (Park Jee-young, South Korea)
“State of Happiness” (Mette M. Bølstad, Norway)
“The Typist” (Nina Grosse, Germany)
“Undercover” (Nico Moolenar, Belgium)
“When Heroes Fly” (Omri Givon, Israel)
OUT OF COMPETITION
“Versailles,” Season 3 (Simon Mirren, David Wolstencroft, France, Canada) festival opening series
“The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair” (Jean-Jacques Annaud, U.S., France) competition opening series
“Safe” (Harlan Coben, U.K.), closing night series
CANNESERIES DIGITAL COMPETITION
“The Arena” (Marjorie Armstrong, Canada)
“Atropa” (Eli Sasich, U.S., France)
“Bite Size Horror” (Tony Sella, David Worthen Brooks, U.S.)
“Bonding” ( Rightor Doyle, U.S.)
“Cabeza Madre” (Édouard Salier, Cuba)
“Camionero” (Jacques Toulemonde, Colombia)
“Dominos” (Zoé Pelchat, Canada)
“If I Were You” (Annaïs Schaaff, Javier Olivares, Javier Pascual, Spain)
“Immature” (Sameer Saxena, India)
“Memento Mori” (Lee Young-Sook, South Korea)