Dominated by the charisma of Swedish-Lebanese lead Fares Fares, a “Westworld” co-star, “Partisan,” a Warner Bros.- production for Scandinavia’s Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) walked off Wednesday evening with best series at the 3rd Canneseries TV festival.

Due to play on NENT’s SVOD service Viaplay, the slow burning and unsettling Nordic Noir sees Fares Fares’ character, Johnny, accept a job at an closed gate organic food farm which is some kind of front for far more sinister activities.

Co-created by Amir Chandin and Fares and sold by Federation Entertainment, “Partisan” was part of a 10-title Canneseries competition which painted this year a fairly disturbing portrait of contemporary world.

“Although all the shows at Canneseries were made before COVID-19, they are still often very dark and often treat weighty social issues,” Albin Levi, Canneseries artistic director, told Variety.

Cannes’ special interpretation prize and student award went to the ensemble cast of “Red Light,” a thriller set in Antwerp’s dowdy red light district created by actors-turned producers Halina Reijn and Carice van Houten, best known as Melisandre in “Game of Thrones.”

With van Houten playing a brothel madame, and Reijn an opera singer whose husband disappears in the red light district, the show is Dutch Noir. But the cop investigation is used to say something larger about the world, here how prostitution is just part of a larger curse of human trafficking, quickly shown in its stark brutality in the show.

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Red Light Courtesy of Maarten De Bouw

“The emphasis must be put on the word ‘Noir,’” Albin Lewi, Canneseries artistic director, told Variety before the prize announcement. “Although all the shows at Canneseries were made before COVID-19, they still paint a dark portrait of contemporary society, and many take on weighty issues,” he added.

A best screenplay winner for Arnaud Malherbe and Marion Festraëts, “Moloch,” from Arte France, caught that distress in its story of an ambitious female journalist in Bordeaux investigating cases of inexplicable and mortal spontaneous conflagration. One victim is the small son of a local hospital psychologist, so confident in his opinions, but unable to explain his own tragedy.

The theme of personal loss threaded multiple Canneseries titles this year including “Partisan,” and “Man in Room 301,” another Warner Bros. local production, the time in Finland.

“Red Light” was just one of six series at Canneseries this year with female protagonists. One, Russia’s Polina Maksimova won best performance for her turn in the Beta Film-sold “257 Reasons to Live,” where she plays a cancer ward inmate who unexpectedly receives the all-clear and sets out to accomplish her 257 wish-list, written when ill.

“I’m very proud of having so many shows which had not only female leads but female creators, and which allow audiences, including men to penetrate women’s minds,” Lewi said.

“We didn’t go out of our way to find such shows, just chose the best we could,” he added.

Jon Ekstrand’s gently propulsive electronic score won best music for crime thriller “Top Dog,” one of the competition frontrunners for many, from “Bron” producers Filmlance, owned by Endemol Shine.

Combining considerable cinematic ambition – a two minute sequence shot, for example – and a base realism, Argentina’s

A rites-of-passage tale set on the locations of Argentina’s hip-hop scene, and mixing cinematic ambition, pro actors (“The Black Forest’s” Ailín Salas) and hip hop stars, “Broder,” won Canneseries best short series.

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Moloch Sofie Silbermann


 Best series 

“Partisan,” (Amir Chamdin, Sweden)

Best Short Form Series 

“Broder,” (Mauro Pérez Quinteros, Argentina)

Best Performance 

Polina Maksimova (“257 Reasons to Live”)

Special Interpretation Prize 

The cast of “Red Light”

Best Screenplay 

Arnaud Malherbe, Marion Festraëts (“Moloch”)

Best Music 

Jon Ekstrand (“Top Dog”)

Audience Prize Le Parisien 

“Valide,” (Franck Gastambide)

Short Form Prize Télécâble Sat Hebdo 

“Claire and the Elderly,” (Charles Grenier, Canada)

 Student Prize 

“Red Light” (Wouter Bouvijn, Anke Blondé, Belgium, The Netherlands)