Series Mania plans 2018 encore

ACMI hails its pilot TV festival a success and sets its sights on next year.

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image is planning to bring Series Mania back to Melbourne in 2018, hailing last week’s event as a great success.

There were bumper crowds for sessions including Vince Gilligan, Sunshine, Get Krack!n & The White Princess. The Industry Day was also well-attended.

ACMI CEO Katrina Sedgwick said “The success of our first outing of Series Mania Melbourne shows that it really is time television had its own festival. Like film, quality TV is created across the globe, and is a vibrant growing part of our local industry. Working with the wonderful team at Series Mania, gives us access to programmers who scour the globe for big name favourites and undiscovered treasures we would never otherwise see. For ACMI, as the national museum of film, TV, games digital culture and art, Series Mania is a wonderful way to explore the making and watching of TV. It’s been great to work with Film Victoria and Forum des Images to bring industry and the public together in our museum to celebrate some of the best of this rapidly proliferating medium across its many platforms. We can’t wait to bring our audiences even more exciting TV series premieres, panels and conversations next year.”

Film Victoria CEO, Jenni Tosi said “The overwhelming success of Series Mania Melbourne and its ‘Stories Without Borders’ Industry Day is testament to Melbourne’s international standing as a hub for television drama production. Enabling Victorian and Australian creatives to hear from local and international industry experts will lead to more great Australian content finding international success in the future. Congratulations to the teams behind the fantastic new local content that premiered at this event – made possible through the ABC and SBS and a big thank you to our partners in ACMI and Forum des Images.”

Series Mania Melbourne was jointly presented by ACMI and Film Victoria, and took place from 20 – 24 July.

The pilot outing of Series Mania Melbourne was the first time the world’s most prestigious TV festival has been held outside Paris. Presented at ACMI (the Australian Centre for the Moving Image) in partnership with Film Victoria from July 20 – 24, Series Mania Melbourne was headlined by Vince Gilligan, creator of the critically acclaimed series Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. The festival showcased some of the best narrative TV drama, comedy and web series from Australia and around the globe, with over 20 free screenings and Q&As, as well as Australian and world premieres. In addition to the broad public program, Series Mania Melbourne included the sold-out ‘Stories Without Borders’ Industry Day presented by Film Victoria and ACMI.

Series Mania launched on Thursday 20 July with the world premiere of Sunshine, a ground-breaking high-stakes crime drama set in Melbourne’s South Sudanese community. Created by Essential Media and Entertainment and Carver Films, Sunshine stars newcomer Wally Elnour alongside Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace) and Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men). The premiere screened to a delighted full house of 390 industry figures, cast, crew and many members of Melbourne’s South Sudanese community.

Other standout events included the sold-out In Conversation with the award-winning creator of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Vince Gilligan, the Australian premiere of The White Princess, which was followed by a Q&A with one of the stars of the series Essie Davis (Game of Thrones, The Babadook), and the world premiere of Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney’s first full-length series Get Krack!n, which played to a full cinema of excited fans.

International TV series highlights included crime drama Your Honor (Israel), suspenseful thriller Supermax (Argentina) from award-winning director Daniel Burman, and Team Chocolate (Belgium), a delightful light drama featuring a cast made up almost entirely of actors with Down Syndrome – each followed by a skype Q&A with the makers of the series.

Presented by Film Victoria and ACMI, the sold-out ‘Stories Without Borders’ Industry Day drew an attendance of over 160 screen industry professionals. Due to high demand, additional tickets were released for the special industry-focused In Conversation event with Vince Gilligan.

Other key industry figures at the exclusive day-long program included Head of International Development at Studio+, Clementine Gayet, Arte’s Head of Acquisitions and Co-productions, Alexandre Piel, Director ZDFE.drama Acquisition & Sales, Sarah Eichenlaub, and Le Film Français Editor in Chief and Series Mania Co-Founder, François-Pier Pélinard-Lambert. Local representatives included ABC, SBS, Foxtel, Porchlight Films, Goalpost Pictures and leading Australian writers Vicki Madden and Kris Mrksa.

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