MADRID — André and Maria Jacquemetton, the Emmy and WGA Award-winning writer-producers of AMC’s “Mad Men” and consulting producers on Amazon Studios’ “The Romanoffs,” will serve as Guests of Honor at Series Mania’s UGC Writers Campus, a workshop whose participants include Denmark’s Christina Miller-Harris and Israel’s Noy Carmel.
The Jacquemettons will deliver a masterclass and help steer workshops. Lorraine Sullivan, the former director of the Berlin Film School’s Serial Eyes, serves as head of studies, Nicola Lusuardi, a story editor and creative producer for Sky Italy, and Christian Rank, head of drama at Denmark’s DR, serve as tutors. Trainers are Donna Sharpe, a screenwriter on ZDF/SVT’s ambitious English-Language espionage thriller “West of Liberty,” which received a Berlin Drama Series Days Market Screening, and Michaela Sabo.
Made by France’s Series Mania and UGC Series, the TV production arm of the UGC Group, the announcement of the Jacquemetton’s presence is one of the first for France’s Series Mania Intl. Festival as it warms up to its 2019 edition and second in Lille, northern France.
It promises to be its biggest ever edition as Europe’s drama series production builds in scale, artistic ambition and volume, driven ever more by streaming services, led by Netflix and Amazon, with no peak TV fall-out in sight.
A workshop, the UGC Writers Campus takes place March 20-27, broadly parallel to this year’s Series Mania, which kicks off March 22,, running through March 30.
The 20 screenwriters will attend masterclasses, workshops. Series Mania screenings and conferences – its co-production Forum takes place on March 25 – at a course which also acts as an incubator for projects brought by the participants. They will introduce them at a public presentation on the afternoon of March 26.
“I am very proud of this partnership between UGC and Series Mania – the most important international series festival in Europe,” said Brigitte Maccioni, UGC managing director.
“As a major festival, it is Series Mania’s responsibility to provide the emerging generation of European creators the chance to foster original stories that will both resonate with audiences and the industry,” added Laurence Herzberg, general director of Series Mania.
The emergence of a new generation is ever more vital as the demand for writing outstrips the availability of established professionals in Europe. Some of the UGC Writers Campus’ talent has pretty well emerged. One case in point: Israel’s Camul is a screenwriter on Season 3 of romantic comedy “Baker and the Beauty,” sold by Keshet Intl. to Amazon Prime Video and one of Israel’s highest-rated scripted series ever. Miller Harris wrote the Oscar winning short “Helium,” story-lined six episodes and wrote three of “Follow the Money,” one of Denmark’s highest-profile recent series, as well as two episodes of Netflix’s “Ragnarok,” created by “Borgen’s” Adam Price. Ireland’s Audrey O’Reilly co-wrote “Teenage Cics,” aired in 2006 and voted one of TG4’s top three dramas ever.
All the screenwriters are drawn from Europe or Israel. Their C.V.s say much about the current state of play of drama series production in Europe.
The young screenwriters’ work to date spans a vast range. France’s Julia Anna Grignon forms part of the writers room on TF1 medium procedural hit “Balthazar”; Italy’s Fabrizio Muscia is writing a drama series about women in Cosa Nostra, compatriot Francesco Nicola Renda a miniseries on the Italian royal family, “The King’s Heir”. the U.K.’s Kaamil Shah penned comedy monologues “Moheez Means Business,” produced by the BBC Asian Network and BBC Writersroom.
That said, the Campus’ past employment suggests two passions, which are building in Europe’s drama series industry at large. One is sci-fi, or at least fantasy series. Having worked on broader audience RAI series, Italy’s Francesca de Lisi and Dario Bonamin are currently engaged on deep space-set “The Vault,” in development for Indigo and Sky Italia. France’s Magali Rossito is currently writing two sci-fi TV shows, with Frenchkiss Pictures and Itinéraire Productions. “Ragnarok” was described by Netflix, when announced last November, as a “modern day coming of age drama rooted in Norse mythology, set in a high school arena.”
The other is animation. The U.K.’s Abdul Casal broke through via largely animation shorts, the latest “The Toll Booth.” Étienne Chédeville is a writer on TF1’s pre-school animation series “Alice & Lewis,” produced by Blue Spirit Productions. French-Danish writer Emma Tybirk Le Marc was an episode writer on Zentropa’s “Vitello” animated series.
One huge challenge for Europe’s drama series industry is to reach younger audiences. The UGC Writers Campus suggests one solution: By simply bringing on younger writing talent.
The UGC Writers’ Campus is developed with support from France’s Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers (SACD) and Paris College of Art. Partner schools are Paris’ La Fémis and Le Conservatoire Européen d’Ecritures Audiovisuelles (CEEA), Berlin’s Serial Eyes, the London Film School, Jerusalem’s Sam Spiegel Film School, Prague’s Midpoint, Turin’s Scuola Holden and Brussels’ Insas.
THE 2019 UGC WRITERS CAMPUS, SERIES MANIA, LILLE, MARCH 20-27:
Noy Carmel, “The Beat,” Israel (Sam Spiegel Film School)
Abdul Casal, “Fail-Safe,” U.K.
Etienne Chédeville, “Hippocampus,” France (INSAS)
Francesca De Lisi, “The Demon Within,” Italy
Dario Bonamin, “The Demon Within,” Italy
Julie Anna Grignon, “Woman,” France (La Fémis)
Ivan Knezevic, “Starman,” Serbia (Serial Eyes)
Rashel Konstantinchenko, “Dabushka,” Israel (Sam Spiegel Film School)
Andreas Kyriacou, “Artful,” Cyprus (Midpoint)
Christian Miller-Harris, “The Fix,” Denmark
Fabrizio Muscia, “Miserere,” Italy
Audrey O’Reilly, “Embrace The Base,” Ireland
Małgorzata Piłacinska, “Smokey Eyes,” Poland
Francesco Nicola Renda, “Left Behind,” Italy (Scuola Holden)
Magali Rossito, “Taking Flight,” France (CEEA)
Hagit Saad, “To The Moon And Back,” Israel
Lilach Barnea, “To The Moon And Back.” Israel
Kaamil Shah, “Dubai on Thames,” U.K. (London Film School)
Isaac Tomiczec, “Afters,” U.K.
Emma Tyrbik Le Marc, “The Twelve Labours Of Helga,” Denmark