Event Preview: TV Series Co-Production Forum


NEW YORK: This year marks the second-annual TV Series Co-Production Forum, being held from April 23 to 25.

The Forum des Images holds a special place in the heart of the audiovisual landscape of Paris. It was founded in 1988 with a mission to compile a living memory bank of the audiovisual collection of Paris. It has transformed into a cultural institution that welcomes more than 320,000 visitors each year. It hosts four thematic film series and 15 festivals and events per year as well.

To celebrate TV series, the Forum des Images created in 2010 the Series Mania Festival, which is the only festival in France entirely dedicated to TV series. More than 15,000 spectators took part in the last edition of the Festival, which invites the public and the professional community to discover TV series that have never been seen before. The fifth edition will take place April 22 to 30.

This year also marks the second-annual TV Series Co-Production Forum, being held from April 23 to 25. The three-day professional event, supported by the MEDIA program of the European Union, takes place during the Series Mania Festival. “The main objective of this project is to take advantage of the meeting platform that the Series Mania Festival has become, and create a meeting point for European TV industry professionals,” says Laurence Herszberg, the general director of the Forum des Images. “Our goal is to contribute to creating a more competitive European market for TV series by encouraging TV professionals to work together and co-finance high-quality TV-series projects.”

The TV Series Co-Production Forum will select ten drama-series projects in development or in production and present them to a panel of 100 professional guests, comprised of potential co-producers, financers, distributors and channel representatives.

“Last year's edition was better than our expectations,” says Herszberg. “Many professionals showed a real interest in this forum.” The event saw participation from such companies as all3media, ARTE, BBC Worldwide, Canal+, ZDF Enterprises, Zodiak Rights, ITV Studios and many others.

“Some of the selected TV projects found partners thanks to our forum, such as the Israeli project Jerusalem, from Inosan Productions, which signed a co-production deal with Haut et Court and Nadcon,” Herszberg continues. “The experience showed us that potential co-producers are really interested in projects with a strong international profile, but they are hesitant if there’s not a TV channel from the country of origin that supports the project.”

Herszberg says that they took what they learned from the first TV Series Co-Production Forum to build on this year’s event. “TV series demand important support from TV broadcasters, and for that reason, this year we will give priority to projects already supported by a TV channel and we invited more TV commissioners, heads of drama and TV channel representatives.”

Attendees will have the opportunity to sit in on the pitch session of ten selected projects and to meet the projects’ representatives during one-on-one meetings. They will also have the opportunity to watch more than 60 TV series from all over the world on individual screens as part of the “International Showcase” and to attend conferences and meetings. New for this year, the event will provide an opportunity for channel representatives to present their lineup to the producers, and there will also be a pitch session dedicated to TV formats.

As for the types of projects the event is hoping to attract, Herszberg says: “We are looking for drama TV series in development or in production that are looking to complete their financing, whether as direct co-productions, filming relocation, advance purchasing of series in view to their broadcasting or local adaptations. TV series have to be supported by a TV channel in their country of origin and they must have a strong international potential in the subject, the story or the characters in order to attract potential co-producers.”

Herszberg says that the goal is to increase the number of participants from 74 to 100. There are also ten projects being selected this year, whereas in 2013 there were eight. “Nevertheless, we wouldn’t like to grow too much; we think that a small platform with very high-quality projects and selected professionals will be more effective. Our goal is not to become a huge market, but to encourage a deep co-working between professionals on selected projects.”

The call for projects for the TV Series Co-Production Forum is open, and producers and broadcasters have until February 21 to submit their works.