Y Tu Mama Tambien’s Gael García Bernal, Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller Bridge, Dexter’s Michael C Hall and The Wire’s Michael Kenneth Williams are all set to walk the famous steps of the Palais des Festivals in Cannes this week. However, instead of the film festival’s famous red carpet, the group will be strolling down a pink carpet for the launch of TV festival Canneseries.
The event, which takes place alongside Mip TV from April 4 – 11, is the brainchild of Cannes mayor David Lisnard, who wanted to replicate the success of the city’s film festival with an event celebrating the small screen. It is run by former French Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin and former TF1 executive Benoît Louvet, who is managing director.
Louvet tells Deadline: “Our aim has always been to introduce a world class international festival dedicated to series, made possible by the location, the city of Cannes, the world famous location for this kind of event, and the Mip TV market, one of the most important business markets for programs.”
While the carpet may be a slightly different color – it’s not clear whether selfies will be banned or whether women will be obliged to wear high heels – Louvet, is obviously clear that Canneseries can replicate the same level of A-list glamor and glitz as its film sibling in May, something that has so far not been achieved in the TV world.
The event came together after just over a year and will include a raft of international premieres, Q&As, masterclasses and other events that will be open to delegates as well as members of the public. Pellerin, who highlighted her interest in David Lynch’s reboot of Twin Peaks, said that doing all of this in one year was particularly satisfying. She pointed to “high-class” jurors overseeing the event’s Official Competition including Harlan Coben, creator of Netflix’s Safe, The Wire and Boardwalk Empire star Michael Kenneth Williams and German actor Paula Beer (Bad Banks).
She also pointed to the “high quality” of the shows on offer. Garcia’s Aqui En La Tierra and Waller Bridge’s Killing Eve are joined by a raft of Israeli, Spanish, German and Scandinavian thrillers as part of the official competition, whose winner will be announced on Wednesday April. There are also a handful of high-profile series airing outside of the competition including Coben’s Safe, which stars Michael C Hall, and a sneak peek at Patrick Dempsey’s The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair. MGM’s crime thriller, which will air on Epix in the U.S. and TF1 in France, premieres on Saturday April 7. The whole Canneseries event kicks off on Wednesday April 4 with an opening screening of the third season of French period drama Versailles.
In addition to the Official Competition, Canneseries will include a digital competition featuring shorts such as Anonymous Content’s Rightor Doyle-created dominatrix comedy Bonding and Fox’s ad-funded Bite Size Horror shorts. There is also a series of events, known as Canneseries Addict, for local audiences including screenings of shows such as Un Village Francais and Cherif.
There is also a drama scheme designed for industry execs, the majority of which are in town for Mip TV. The In Development scheme, run in association with Canneseries and Reed Midem’s event, will see 12 nascent projects featured, down from over 300 submitted.
These include Angelica, produced and written by US team Jen McGowan and Eliza Lee, which tells the story of four women in a small Midwest American town that will soon be left with the only abortion clinic in the state and Whatever, Linda, produced by Canada’s The Donaldson Company, a dark comedy set in 1978 about four disenfranchised secretaries on Wall Street who become the engineers behind the world’s most notorious Ponzi scheme. The latter, which is based on a web series, was created by Hannah Cheesman and Julian De Zotti and was previously in development with The Mark Gordon Company with Orphan Black co-creator Graeme Manson exec producing.
The projects will be pitched to buyers in Cannes with the winning projects potentially eligible for development funding from European superindie Federation Entertainment and French think-tank La Fabrique des Formats. The projects were chosen by a jury that included Studiocanal TV MD Rola Bauer, Carnival Films’ Tara Cook and BBC Worldwide’s Ben Donald. Louvet says that the DNA of the event is to highlight “new voices and tomorrow’s talents”. “Everything is now ready; content with ten announced shows for the official competition from nine different countries, three out of competition series with big star casts, ten short-form series for the Canneseries Digital competition. The Canneseries team is delighted and eager to welcome talent as well as the public audience. The French Riviera Sun is here too.”
Many producers and distributors that Deadline spoke to were pleased with the idea of Canneseries, particularly as a high-profile drama event to stem the falling number of attendees at Mip TV, which unlike its cousin Mipcom in October, has been failing to draw many of the bigger U.S. buyers or Hollywood studios.
However, some are concerned that the timing of the April event and Canneseries strict criteria – it is demanding premieres for projects – means that the majority of A-list projects are either not ready to be screened or have already been shown in other parts of the world.
The proof will be in the pudding and as organizers start to lay the pink carpet, Canneseries is certainly hoping that its entrée into television can eventually become as show-stopping as the Festival de Cannes in May.
AQUÍ EN LA TIERRA
Creators: Gael García Bernal, Kyzza Terrazas & Jorge Dorantes
Cast: Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Alfonso Dosal, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ariadna Gil
Producer: Fox Networks Group Latin America & La Corriente del Golfo Ventes
Distributor: Fox Networks Group
Broadcaster: Fox Networks Group Latin America
Carlos’ life is altered when his influential father is found dead. Adán, the son of Carlos’ family’s head of security, also finds his life disturbed as a result of riots over the construction of a new airport endorsed by Governor Mario Rocha, Carlos’ stepfather. Carlos and Adán are forced to put their differences behind them to face the circumstances.
THE HUNTER (CACCIATORE)
Creators: Marcello Izzo, Silvia Ebreul & Alfonso Sabella Scénario
Cast: Francesco Montanari, Miriam Dalmazio, David Coco
Producer: Cross Productions, Beta Film & Rai Fiction
Distributor: Beta Film
Broadcaster: Rai 2 (Italy)
Set in Palermo in 1993, the series explores a war between the mafia and the state that is claiming the life of criminals as well as the innocent. In the eye of this storm is Saverio Barone, a young and ambitious provincial prosecutor who has the guts to stand up for what is right. When he dares to report his own boss, most of his colleagues disapprove, but he is appointed to the Antimafia unit to hone a distinct set of skills that will make him go down in history as “the Hunter,” thanks to a succession of brilliant hunches, spectacular raids and front-page arrests that lead to three hundred Mafiosi will be taken into custody.
Creator: Cesc Gay
Cast: Leonardo Sbaraglia, Pere Arquillué, Ginés García Millán
Distributor: ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Broadcaster: Movistar+ (Spain)
Felix, an ordinary man with a quiet life, encounters Julia, a woman from Asia that he hardly knows anything about, but with whom he falls in love. After a few casual encounters, Julia disappears. Felix soon realizes she is not the woman she pretends to be, and he cannot avoid becoming an amateur detective, a normal man trapped in a world which is not his, like a fish out of water.
Creator: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Cast: Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, Fiona Shaw
Producer: Sid Gentle Films
Distributor: Endeavor Content
Broadcaster: BBC America (U.S.)
Eve is a bored, whip-smart, pay-grade MI5 security officer whose desk-bound job doesn’t fulfil her fantasies of being a spy. Villanelle is a mercurial, talented killer who clings to the luxuries her violent job affords her. The spy-action thriller follows these two fiercely intelligent women, equally obsessed with each other, go head to head in an epic game of cat and mouse.
Creators: Tom Salama & Daphna Levin
Cast: Ran Danker, Raul Mendez, Aviv Carmi,
Producer/Distributor: Movie Plus Productions
Broadcaster: Hot (Israel)
The story of 23-year old Tom who fulfils his childhood dream to adopt a child. However, things change when he adopts 5-year old Miguel, a stubborn youngster. Sixteen years, Miguel lands in Guatemala looking for his roots, but Tom will do everything to prevent Miguel from finding out the secret Tom has been hiding from him for all those years.
Creator: Park Jee-young
Cast: Lee Bo-young, Heo Yool
Producer / Distributor: Studio Dragon Corporation
Broadcaster: TVN (South Korea)
This is the story of a woman who never wanted children, but happened to kidnap a girl to become her mother. When teacher Su-jin meets student Hye-na, she finds out that the little girl is being abused by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. Su-jin decides to kidnap her, therefore being chased after by the police and Hye-na’s mom’s boyfriend.
STATE OF HAPPINESS (LYKKELAND)
Creator: Mette Marit Bølstad
Cast: Anne Regine Ellingsæter, Bart Edwards, Amund Harboe
Producer: Maipo Film & Lunanime
Distributor: DR Sales
Broadcaster: NRK (Norway)
A tale of a changing nation, a Klondike town, and four young people who are thrown into a whirlwind of opportunities. It’s the summer of 1969 in the small coastal town of Stavanger. International oil companies have been test-drilling for years, but nothing has been found and they are in the process of leaving. The night before Christmas 1969, the gas flare at the oil rig Ocean Viking is lit. And everything is about to change.
Creator: Nina Grosse
Cast: Iris Berben, Moritz Bleibtreu, Peter Kurth
Distributor: Beta Film
Broadcaster: ZDF (Germany)
Freya Becker works as a typist with the homicide division of the Berlin police. Since the tragic loss of her daughter Marie, who disappeared eleven years ago, Freya lives a secluded and lonely life, hoping to eventually find out what happened to her daughter. When the only man who might give her information about Marie`s fate is released from prison and Freya’s work confronts her with an abuse case similar to her daughter’s, she sets out for a painful journey to finally get to the bottom of the truth – whatever the cost might be.
Creator: Nico Moolenaar
Cast: Tom Waes, Anna Drijver, Frank Lammers
Producer: De Mensen
Distributor: Federation Entertainment
Broadcaster: VRT (Belgium)
One of the largest ecstasy producers in the world, Ferry Bouman, lives a charmed life in his villa on the Dutch-Belgian border. But things start to change when two undercover agents move into his territory, attempt to infiltrate Bouman’s life and shut down his network. Not to be confused with the Adrian Lester-fronted BBC drama.
WHEN HEROES FLY
Creator: Omri Givon
Cast: Tomer Kapon, Michael Aloni, Moshe Ashkenzi
Producer: Spiro Films
Distributor: Keshet International
Broadcaster: Keshet (Israel)
Eleven years after falling out, four friends, war veterans of a Special Forces unit, reunite for one final mission: to find Yaeli, the former lover of one of them and sister of another. Their journey will take them deep into the Colombian jungle but to succeed, they must confront the trauma that tore them apart.