Canneseries Rolls Out Pink Carpet For TV Festival As It Looks To Replicate Film Festival Success

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.


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Creator: Cesc Gay
Cast: Leonardo Sbaraglia, Pere Arquillué, Ginés García Millán
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BBC America

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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.

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Cast: Ran Danker, Raul Mendez, Aviv Carmi,
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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)

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Creator: Mette Marit Bølstad
Cast: Anne Regine Ellingsæter, Bart Edwards, Amund Harboe
Producer: Maipo Film & Lunanime
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Cast: Iris Berben, Moritz Bleibtreu, Peter Kurth
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Cast: Tom Waes, Anna Drijver, Frank Lammers
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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.

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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.

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