The 58th edition of the Monte-Carlo TV Festival, which came to a close yesterday, featured actors and producers from various countries, provided unique interviewing opportunities for journalists and presented numerous behind-the-scenes sessions open to the public where fans could learn about their favorite shows, ask questions and take selfies with stars.
The Festival kicked off on Friday evening with the presentation of a Crystal Nymph to Mariska Hargitay for her 20 years as Olivia Benson in Law & Order: SVU. Hargitay thanked the Festival and the show’s creator, Dick Wolf, and added, “What I am most grateful for is that I have been given a platform and a voice that have allowed me to bring positive change to the world.” She also thanked individuals “whose extraordinary acts of courage have brought a recent seismic shift in the way our society addresses and understands sexual violence.”
Standing on stage next to Prince Albert II, under whose auspices the Festival is run, Hargitay paid tribute to his mother, Grace Kelly. “There are few places in the world where the word ‘grace’ has more resonance than it does here in Monaco. Much of what is being said in the world today, and especially much of what currently comes out of the country I call home, is notable for its utter lack of grace.”
She finished by saying, “Going forward, I want to challenge myself and…call on all of us to speak with grace; to use the platforms and voices we have been given to elevate the voices of those who might not otherwise be heard…and perhaps most importantly, to listen; simply to listen. I think the gift of letting someone tell their own story may be the most grace-filled gift we can give.”
Hearing diverse stories from around the world was a hallmark of this year’s Festival. While the Festival honors fiction, news and current-affairs programming, what jumped out at me was the reminder that art can often bring to life issues and problems better than news reports can. When we watch a TV movie or series we find ourselves caring about the characters and become invested in the issues, whether it be immigration, sexual violence, discrimination or the impact of crime.
Through the series I screened as one of the pre-selection judges, and the interviews I conducted during the Festival, I was reminded once again of the increasing collaboration between writers, producers, broadcasters and streaming services required to bring TV projects to life. If only heads and members of governments could sit and listen to differing opinions and points of view the way individuals in a writers’ room can!
Finally, thanks to the growing amount of compelling stories available from around the world, we viewers have the opportunity to open our minds and question our assumptions. While just a few years ago English-language drama dominated worldwide, now non-English-language drama is capturing viewers and accolades—the most recent example is the Spanish series La Casa de Papel, which won the Golden Nymph last night for Best Series.