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Series Mania: ‘Influence,’ ‘Gymnasts,’ ‘The Fortress’ Set for Co-Pro Pitching Sessions

New drama series projects from the U.K.’s Studio Lambert, Italy’s Indigo Film and Norway’s Maipo Film will be pitched at Series Mania’s Co-Pro Pitching Sessions to an industry audience and jury. The latter is presided over by Meghan Lyvers, SVP co-production & development, CBS Studios International.

Taking place on March 25, the Sessions are the biggest industry draw at the three-day Series Mania Forum, which runs March 25-27.

All3Media’s unscripted specialist Studio Lambert – whose first scripted show, “Three Girls,” won five Bafta Awards in 2018 – will unveil “Influence.” Italy’s Indigo Film, producer of Paolo Sorrentino’s foreign-language Oscar-winning “The Great Beauty,” introduces “Gymnasts.”

Maipo Film, whose “State of Happiness” proved one of the most admired of Nordic TV series last year, will talk up “The Fortress.”

Beyond the titles, the content and creators of the projects, chosen from almost 400 applications from 41 countries, have not been revealed. Half the titles are drawn from France, Israel/ Middle East and Scandinavia – hardly surprising since they rate as bastions of international production. Projects’ countries of origin range otherwise across Europe.

The companies behind many of the projects are on the radar. Pitching “Purple,” France’s Mother Productions, for instance, produced struggling talent agency comedy “Call My Agent!” a France 2/Netflix series, which has seen to date three seasons.

‘The Kollective’ is produced by Dutch company Submarine, which presented “The Faction” at Series Mania two years ago.

“Capital Punishment” is from Israel’s Black Sheep Productions, a prestigious movie production house behind “Fig Tree,” which won Toronto’s 2018 Audentia Award for its best film directed by a woman (Aalam-Warqe Davidian). “Faraya” is produced by Beirut’s Deja Vu, one of the Middle East’s top commercials houses.

The “Co-Pro Pitching Sessions remain the most highly-anticipated event at Series Mania Forum,” said Laurence Herszberg, founder and general director of Series Mania.

“To date, more than a dozen previously pitched shows have been brought to the screen thanks to co­-production deals or agreements finalized at Series Mania,” she added, saying this year’s selection is “very diverse.”

Illustrating the Co-Pro Pitching Sessions’ strike rate, three prior Co-Pro Pitching Sessions projects – “Eden,” “Twin” and “Hierro” – have been selected for the Series Mania festival lineup this year, pointed out Francesco Capurro, Series Mania Forum director.

Headed by Lyvers, the Pitching Sessions international jury takes in Nathalie Biancolli, director of acquisitions & international fiction, France Télévisions; Anne Croneman, head of program, film & TV drama, SVT (Sweden); Caroline Torrance, head of scripted, Banijay Rights (U.K.); and Christian Vesper, EVP and creative director for global drama, Fremantle (U.K.).

Selected from the line-up of the Berlinale Drama Series Days earlier this month, Austrian gangster drama “Big Bones” will  be pitched out of competition in Lille. Directed by David Shalko (“M”), the series was acquired by Beta Film for international distribution on the eve of the Drama Series Days.

“We have chosen ‘Big Bones’ for its new take on period drama,” Herszberg announced at the Drama Series Days.

“This project introduces very strong characters and action in the incredible and rarely-seen setting of Vienna after World War II,” she added.

The best project among the 15 contending titles will be awarded a grand prize of €50,000 ($56,700) for series development.

CO-PRO PITCHING SESSIONS – OFFICIAL SELECTION

“Capital Punishment,” Black Sheep Film Productions, Israel

“Extravagance,” Les Films du Trèfle in co-production with AT-Production, Zeitsprung Pictures, France/Belgium/Germany

“Faraya,” Déjà Vu Beirut Sarl, Lebanon

“Femen,”Wild Horses, France

“Gymnasts,” Indigo Film, Italy

“Influence,” Studio Lambert, U.K.

“Low Season,”Akka Films, Switzerland

“Purple,” Mother Production, in co-production with Silex Films, France

“Reset,” Brutal Media, Spain

“Ride Out,” Funfar Films Oy, Finland

“The Attack,”Network Movie Film, Germany & France

“The Kollective,” Submarine, Netherlands, U.S,

“The Dreamers,” Deux Beaux Garçons Films, Israel

“The Fortress,” Maipo Film, Norway

“The Rise & Fall of the Somali Pirates,” De Mensen, in co-production with Reel One Entertainment; Belgium, U.K.

OUT OF COMPETITION:

“Big Bones,” Satel Film, in co-production with Superfilm; Austria

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