LILLE, France — At an awards ceremony on Monday night, French drama series “Purple” was announced as the winner of the Series Mania Co-Pro Pitching Sessions, scoring a cash prize of €50,000 ($56,500), the TV festival’s main industry award.
The ceremony was hosted by Series Mania founder and general director Laurence Herszberg and jury president Meghan Lyvers, senior vice president of co-production and development at CBS Studios Intl.
“Purple” comes from Paris-based Mother Productions, currently in development on Season 4 of their hit show ‘Call My Agent!’ who are teaming with Silex Films (“French Touch”) and writers Judith Havas, Noémie de Lapparent.
An eight-part, 40 minute-episode series, “Purple” weaves the stories of five women who open a women-only club, Purple, in late ‘90s Paris. A high-concept women’s drama, the series offers the international appeal of love, if often troubled, in the City of Lights.
The fictional series is inspired by the true story of Pulp, a famous lesbian club which was highly influential on the dance and electronic music scene. According to the shows representatives, it will break from social conventions while hitting on themes of empowerment, romance and disillusionment.
“While all of the pitches were of very high quality this year, we were impressed with ‘Purple’s’ key themes of empowerment and optimism,” said Lyvers. “The characters felt dynamic and original, while the story emphasized opportunity and positivity.”
She went on: “We believe there is much more of this unique story to be told and it is our hope the €50,000 prize will help the creative team move forward with this ever-relevant series and engage audiences in a larger cultural conversation.”
Herszberg added, “Now in its seventh year, the Forum has become known as the ‘springboard for the series of tomorrow’ and is the place in Europe to connect the creative international community with TV series executives.”
This year Herszberg said, the Forum received 399 projects from 41 countries and was “extremely impressed” with the quality of projects from around the world. “We all know how difficult it is to finance the beginning of a project and this is why Series Mania created this prize to help the creators finance and develop their ideas.”
The jury for the event included Lyvers, Nathalie Biancolli, director of acquisitions and international fiction at France Télévisions; Anne Croneman, head of program film and TV drama at Swedish public broadcaster SVT; Caroline Torrance, head of scripted for Banijay Rights; and Christian Vesper, EVP and creative director for global drama at Fremantle.
While “Purple” took home the cash, other projects are sure to benefit from Monday’s exposure.
Norwegian production company Maipo, riding high on the success of Berlin player “State of Happiness,” pitched a dystopian thriller about a future Norway, cut off from the rest of the world and suffering from a deadly virus. “The Fortress,” was still being talked about by attendees long into the night.
Crime dramas, often exposing social realities, still play strong in the pitching sessions. “Faraya” from Lebanon and “Capital Punishment” from Israel follow fictional murder cases in those countries, taking a critical look at the social structures which contribute to the heinous crimes being investigated. In Switzerland’s “Off Season,” the investigation of a murder hits closer to home.