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Series Mania to challenge Cannes from Lille

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A pitch at Series Mania

A pitch at Series Mania

French drama forum Series Mania is relocating to Lille after being named as the winning recipient of a government-led funding initiative created to launch a new scripted series event.

Series Mania, to this point held near Paris in Fontainbleau, will receive funding from national and local government, and media authority Centre National de Cinéma (CNC), to launch the new event.

The future shape of Series Mania had been speculated after former backer Canal+ pledged to finance the new Cannes Festival of Series event, which launches next year alongside MIPTV in April, and the French government revealed it would support an event in Lille rather than Paris.

Parisian major Anne Hidalgo had said she was disappointed her city had lost out when the decision for a Lille event was announced back in March, and at the time had pledged “back, defend and develop” Series Mania. However, Series Mania will, in fact, be the event the government had selected to get the financial backing.

Canal+ has also reportedly pledged to support the event financially.

The Hauts-de-France region and the city of Lille will also back the event, which will have an increased budget of around €6 million (US$6.8 million) and run on April 20-28 next year. It will include a coproduction forum on April 23-25.

Laurence Herzberg, Series Mania founder and director general of its former organiser, Forum des Images, will step down from her current role to lead the new look Series Mania.

Series Mania artistic director Frederic Lavigne, head of its coproduction forum Francesco Capurro and head of production Jeff Bledsoe will also oversee the event with Herzberg.

“Less than an hour from Paris, Lille’s central location and proximity to Belgium, the UK, Germany and the Scandinavian countries make it an ideal host for Series Mania,” said Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France region.

“Thanks to funding from the government, as well as the support of the CNC and the Hauts-de-France region, Lille will give Series Mania the opportunity to flourish and take this must-attend event to new levels,” said Herzberg.

She added that the event would introduce a ‘European Project and Talent Market’, which aims to “not only find projects in development, but also to [find] original talent and gifted scriptwriters, to discover new series available for the international market, to network with the best European enterprises, to offer an intense programme of pitching sessions, training [and] film and TV school presentations’.

Series Mania launched in 2009, with the coproduction forum launching in 2013. The new event will include premiere screenings, web and digital series, US and international talent, and a pitching competition.