Event Preview: Series Mania

Taking over Lille in the Hauts-de-France region again from March 15 to 22, the next edition of Series Mania is upon us. Since its creation, Series Mania Forum has been “connecting all the professionals in the international series industry, shaping its future, helping new projects to emerge and promoting the greatest talents from Europe and beyond,” says Laurence Herszberg, founder and general director of Series Mania.

Today, the Series Mania Forum has become a premier meeting place for TV executives looking for new projects and talent. Over the course of three days, the Forum brings together the industry’s leading decision-makers and the European and international series community, including scripted buyers, commissioners, distributors, producers, authors, institutions and agents.

Series Mania Forum is expanding this year within Lille Grand Palais, with a new 3,000-square-meter exhibition and networking zones. The Business Square joins the Delegates’ Hall and the Business Lounge, both of which are fully booked, with over 60 exhibitors, including All3Media International, Banijay, BBC Studios, Cineflix Rights, Fremantle, Nippon TV, Red Arrow Studios International, ZDF Studios and many more.

“This year’s Festival promises to be an unforgettable event, with an exciting program and selection that will captivate both industry professionals and series fans from around the globe,” Herszberg says.

The event is gearing up to welcome more than 85,000 spectators, “a testament to the growing enthusiasm for television series and their cultural impact,” adds Herszberg.

New countries represented include South Africa, Latvia, New Zealand and, for the first time, a Taiwanese long-form series. “This significantly broadens the cultural and artistic diversity at the festival, offering audiences a variety of stories and perspectives to discover,” says Herszberg.

Masterclasses and conferences will feature French and international talents such as Kelly Rutherford, Laurent Lafitte, Elisabeth Tanner (who inspired the character of Andréa in Call My Agent!), Zal Batmanglij and Douglas Kennedy, promising to make for “enriching moments where the audience can learn more about the industry and the creative process behind their favorite series,” says Herszberg.

The jury for the international competition—chaired by Batmanglij, a French-American director and screenwriter—comprises artistic personalities with different sensibilities and backgrounds.

The Panorama competition will feature many world premieres, serving as a showcase to discover series from new and diverse horizons.

Screenings include the premiere of Chris Brancato’s new series Hotel Cocaine, as well as the adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s book Apples Never Fall and the new series about Leonard Cohen, So Long, Marianne.

“The synergies between the Forum and the Festival, particularly around common themes such as AI, will offer fascinating discussions and opportunities for reflection on contemporary issues shaping the entertainment industry,” Herszberg notes.

Series Mania Forum, for development executives and buyers, is held in parallel with the Series Mania Festival and the Series Mania Institute, the training school dedicated to series.

This year, the Forum will present a series of Coming Next From… France, Spain, Italy, Québec, Korea, Finland and Norway and Content Showcases powered by Netflix, Disney+ EMEA, BBC Studios, Max Originals, Sony Pictures Television, Mediawan and Movistar Plus+.

“The conferences are always among the most eagerly awaited events at the Series Mania Forum,” says Francesco Capurro, director of Series Mania Forum. “This year, a large number of round tables, masterclasses and keynotes invite debate and reflection on a wide range of subjects like co-productions, new financing for series, docuseries, the use of AI” and more.

Launched last fall, the Best Marketing Initiative Award will reward the best B2B and B2C marketing campaigns.

There are also pitching sessions, including the co-pro pitching sessions on the first day of the Forum, as well as all pitches from emerging talent from Israel, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Africa and elsewhere.

There will be a new “buyers lounge,” as the event is expected to welcome even more buyers this year.

On the third and final day of the Forum (March 21), Series Mania is hosting the sixth edition of Lille Dialogues, a daylong international summit that brings together European lawmakers and key industry leaders to encourage international cooperation and a joint reflection on the challenges facing the TV industry today. This year’s Lille Dialogues will be devoted to artificial intelligence and its development, with the theme “Generative artificial intelligence, the technology we’d like to love.”

“The rapid development of artificial intelligence and generative technology is having a major impact on the design and production of audiovisual works,” Capurro says. “This powerful tool is a unique opportunity for creators and professionals, but it is also risky. Numerous panels will be organized around AI and generative technologies that impact the design and production process of audiovisual works. Threats, opportunities and regulations will be discussed.”

Also among the hot topics that Series Mania will spotlight is the surge of streaming, prompting the exploration of fresh collaboration approaches between streamers and traditional linear broadcasters. The exploration is aimed at co-financing shows and strategically sharing broadcasting windows.

In addition, in an increasingly competitive ecosystem and a saturated content market, books and podcast adaptations are hot commodities. Accordingly, Series Mania Forum is introducing its brand-new IP Market, focusing on literary adaptations, podcasts and short formats. The new program offers industry professionals opportunities to connect with literary agents, publishers and podcast creators.

“Series Mania has truly become the place where industry professionals come to meet and discover the best series from around the world,” Herszberg says. “Our goal is to connect the international series industry in order to pursue our three major objectives: to bring out new talent, encourage international co-productions and reflect together on the challenges and future of the industry. Year after year, all major studios are looking for new voices and authentic stories, and Series Mania offers them the very best series from the European and international scene.”