Prestigious French TV event Series Mania will stage its first-ever festival outside of Europe in Melbourne in July.
The free 4 day festival, to be held at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, will feature World Premiere screenings and Q&A events with stars, writers, producers & directors.
Series Mania showcases Dramas and Comedies hand-picked from around the world. It’s 8th festival in Paris in April has 16 series in competition from over 300 submissions, including Seven Types of Ambiguity. International talent attending include Damon Lindelof, Julianna Margulies, Jimmy McGovern, Justin Theroux and Adam Price.
At its heart Series Mania brings together members of the public and industry professionals to view and discuss TV art. Last year more than 40,000 people attended in Paris, 60% of whom were public.
“It opens their eyes to shows they don’t know, or would like to discover,” curator François-Pier Pelinard-Lambert told TV Tonight.
“You can binge on traditional shows such as HBO but you can also be interested in a show from Italy, Ukraine or Korea.
“Approximately 70% of the shows we are screening during the festival are later available one way or another in Europe, whether on a platform, DVD (or more). So we try to open their eyes.”
While it has staged screenings in Montreal and plans other events in Odessa, Buenos Aires and Tel Aviv, the Melbourne event is the first stand-alone festival outside Europe and will include the Jury Prize and Audience Award.
Programme titles are yet to be announced.
“I’m trying to have some World Premieres for Melbourne and bring the best of Series Mania, and we have a competition (element), which The Kettering Incident won last year,” he said.
“It will open with an Australian premiere. There are some programmes still in production that could be ready ahead of their release. So we are working out with producers and TV channels which programme could launch the festival.”
In programming French events, Lambert has always taken an interest in Australian drama and comedy, which has in turn generated wider interest and sales.
“Most of the biggest names in talent, production or channels have been to Paris for the presentations of their series: ABC, Foxtel, Imogen Banks, Todd Abbott, Tony Ayres, the Cleverman team and Kettering Incident,” he said. “They started to spread the word.
“A lot of people discovered Australian drama when they came to Series Mania and the way they responded said to the channels and buyers that there was a lot of interest. When The Slap, The Code or Miss Fisher were first shown in Paris they had not been bought in France yet. But they became a big success.”
So what is it about Australian drama that appeals to foreign audiences?
“They mix the best of English and American television but they do it their own way,” Lambert explained. “The thing that is very interesting is the more ‘local’ a show is, the better it works. Underbelly was very successful in France, but when the rights were available for remake they couldn’t manage to do it. At the core it’s Melbourne. It’s the way the city is working and the way people are living.
“East West 101 is a very Australian show with the 2 guys working in the police who are heavily influenced by their background, which is heavily influenced by Australian culture.
“10 or 20 years ago when you had an interest in another culture you went to an arthouse film.
“But the window to other cultures now is linked to television series.”
ACMI CEO and Director Katrina Sedgwick said today: “We are experiencing a golden age of television around the world right now, as this medium rapidly expands into new platforms. We’re delighted to partner with Film Victoria to bring Series Mania to Melbourne. Our audiences will preview some of the best series coming to our screens in the year to come – and discover stunning international TV that we might not ever see otherwise.”
Film Victoria CEO Jenni Tosi said: “Victoria is the home of fantastic Australian drama so bringing the best of Series Mania 2017 to Melbourne is a real coup. Film Victoria and ACMI are natural partners for this event, and we know Melbourne audiences and filmmakers will relish the opportunity to view and discuss the best of TV drama from around the world.”
Series Mania Melbourne will take place from 20 to 24 July at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
The full program and tickets will be available Monday 3 July 2017 at acmi.net.au/seriesmania
Entry is free but audiences are encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment.