Series Mania - Day 1: France drives seven new series to the global arena

French distributors explained to international buyers the global potential of these new titles, which aim to take the international landscape.

19 MAR 2024

"Ça, c'est Paris"

  • Facebook
  • X
  • Linkedin
  • Whatsapp

Unifrance had a solid presence during the first day of Series Mania Forum with a panel named Coming Next from France, which highlighted seven French series available (or soon to be available) on the international market: "Une amitié dangereuse" ("A Dangerous Friendship), distributed by Mediawan Rights; "Ça, c'est Paris", distributed by Federation Studios; "Carpe Diem" distributed by Newen Connect; "L'Éclipse" ("The Eclipse"), distributed by About Premium Content; "Au-dessus de tout soupçon" ("The Black Widow"), distributed by Film & Picture; "Rivages" (Sea Shadows), distributed by France tv distribution and "Zetwal Caraïbes" (Zetwal), distributed by Trace Studios.

These seven series testify to the diversity and boldness of French fiction. They offer a wide range of writing styles, universes, and genres (crime, social drama, history, thriller, science fiction, young adult, etc.) and feature both established actors and promising new faces. Each in its own way, these works explore singular and sometimes little-known worlds and offer a condensed view of French society, past and present.

APC's "The Eclipse" (6x52') is a story about Luca, 17, who, during an evening eclipse, accidentally shoots his girlfriend, Nour. When he leaves to seek help, the young girl disappears. Manue and Johanna, two female local police officers, are dispatched to an investigation whose stakes will come to impact their own families. "The potential of this show is diving into young people's secrets that adults are far from imagining," asserted Emmanuelle Guilbart from About Premium Content. "We all know that the mind of a teenager can be more mysterious and puzzling than the sun covering the moon," she added. APC has the six episodes ready to be shared before summer.

Federation Studios' "Ca, c'est Paris" (6x52') is a series about the cabaret life starring Monica Bellucci. The series was shot in Latin Paris, which is the first cabaret I ever built in Paris. It was designed by Gustave Eugène. "We made a deal with the Paris Latin, who came as a partner in the show. So Paris is actually one of the main characters of the show," said Monica Levy from Federation Studios. The production company of "Ca, c'est Paris" is the same as "Call My Agent". "It's a bigger-than-life, character-based drama and comedy with some dance in it. It's fun to make everybody feel good. It's a feel-good series," added Stéphane Sperry from Federation Studios.

France TV distribution's "Sea Shadows" (6x52') tells the story of Abigail, a marine scientist who has been sent to her hometown of Fécamp to research a mysterious shipwreck. When she arrives, she must deal with the tensions that pit the authorities against both fishermen and environmental activists. But the danger lies elsewhere: a mysterious and menacing creature seems to be haunting the seabed. "'Sea Shadows' is a series with great ambition. It's a place with a lot of genres, of storylines", commented Stéphane Moatti from production company Thalie Images. "By blending all these kinds of genres, we managed to create a sci-fi series with a unique French touch," he added. Julia Schulte from France TV distribution affirmed that globally, the sci-fi genre, horror films, and also typically creatures, fantastic creatures, were becoming really popular again. "Audiences want to find hidden mysteries of our nature, maybe reconnect to what's beyond the human world. So that was really interesting for us," she said. The series is in post-production right now. It will be ready in autumn.

Film & Picture's "The Black Widow" (4x52') narrates the story of Isabelle, a suspicious woman whose husbands have died in mysterious ways. "Isabelle kills her ex-husband, and we do not understand why she's doing it. Money is not at stake. The police don't understand why she would be guilty. Her crimes are very well organized, and she's a very good actress in life," described Marie-Laure Hebrard from Film & Picture. "Each episode ends with a very strong cliffhanger, and the viewer is absolutely dying to see what happens next," she added. The series will be completed by the end of April.

Newen Connect's "Carpe Diem" (6x52'), a series based on an original idea by Samuel Le Bihan tells the story of Tom Villeneuve, wrongly accused of murdering his wife. After 17 in prison, he is finally free. He studied law in jail and became a lawyer upon release. Back in his hometown of Nice, he's determined to find out who the real murderer is. "It's a new and generous series, which continues to illustrate the strong creativity of TF1, the commissioning orchestra when it comes to revisiting, refreshing a very established genre of drama internationally," mentioned Nadia Chevallard from Newen Connect.

Laurence Herszberg, founder and general director of Series Mania, and professional jury president Nina Lederman (USA), EVP Global Scripted Development & Programming, Sony Pictures Television, announced this evening the winning project of Series Mania Forum’s annual Co-Pro Pitching Sessions. Of the 15 projects selected and pitched on the first day of Series Mania Forum, the industry arm of the Series Mania Festival, the jury team selected Slovakia's political drama "Our People" (6x52’) as the winner of the Series Mania Forum Best Project Award.

"Our People" is produced by Jakub Viktorín and Tomáš Hrubý for nutprodukcia. It is written by Tereza Nvotová and Miro Sifra and directed by Tereza Nvotová. The story focuses on the murder of a journalist, which overthrows the balance of power in Slovakia. Additional information on the series can be found.

"The winning project is a smart, thoughtful, compelling sorry that enlightens and entertains while giving power to truth. We encourage the writing and producing team to pursue their goal”, commented Ledermamn.

“The Co-Pro Pitching Sessions are one of the most anticipated parts of the Series Mania Forum, and we are delighted to be giving the €50,000 prize to 'Our People'. We are extremely pleased that our distinguished jury chose to give the award to this explosive political drama out of Slovakia that delves into the murder of an investigative journalist and brings to the forefront the questions surrounding free speech, an issue very important today. This story also emphasizes the fact that important local stories, when told strongly, will resonate worldwide," commented Herszerg.

By Romina Rodriguez from Lille