The first edition of the creative initiative SERIESMAKERS, led by Series Mania and supported by European content powerhouse Beta Group, has concluded with overwhelming success: Out of more than 170 submissions by A-list filmmakers from 54 countries, ten TV series projects have participated in a tailor-made program for feature film directors who venture into the world of series.
The three winning projects will be announced in one week in Lille during the upcoming Series Mania Forum (March 21 – 23). Two projects will each be awarded a €50,000 Beta Development Award working closely with Beta Group’s Content Division to develop the pilot script and a full package. Furthermore, they will be invited to Series Mania Forum 2024 to present their projects to the industry’s most influential decision-makers, broadcasters, platforms, co-producers, and financiers.
An additional award of €20,000, courtesy of the Kirch Foundation in collaboration with HFF (University of Television and Film Munich), will be given to a third project.
The following 10 projects have been selected:
AMIGAS by director Beatriz Seigner and writer Maíra Bühler
Five high school girlfriends meet again at their 25th graduation anniversary. In their 40s now, life is far away from what they imagined. The encounter triggers a traumatic experience they lived together as teenagers and which they will need to face in order to free themselves in the present.
Beatriz Seigner’s LOS SILENCIOS participated at Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, Cannes Film Festival, and San Sebastián International Film Festival
INSTAGODS by director Eva Husson and producer Didar Domehri
Cass, 27, a French social media manager, engineers the extraordinary success of Matt, a 35-year-old Serbian-American male influencer. But as Matt embraces more and more the alt-right, she realizes she has created a monster - and that she won’t be able to save him.
Eva Husson’s GIRLS OF THE SUN and MOTHERING SUNDAY premiered at the official competition of Cannes Film Festival; BANG GANG (A MODERN LOVE STORY) premiered at Toronto International Film Festival
LADY MAGIC by director Axelle Ropert and writer Mikaël Buch
Four women of different ages and backgrounds share one thing in common: each has been mistreated within the patriarchal world of magic. Together, they will have to overcome a great deal of obstacles in order to create a place of their own in Paris: LADY MAGIC, a theater where womanhood can truly be magic.
Axelle Ropert’s PETITE SOLANGE, THE APPLE OF MY EYE and THE WOLBERG FAMILY all premiered in the official competition of Locarno Film Festival
LOVE AND OTHER SEVERE BURNS by director Ádám Császi and writer Balázs Lengyel
In a rural Hungarian town, a lesbian police detective investigates the murder of two young gay soccer players. She has to solve the case before the victims’ fathers find the suspect and take revenge. In doing so, she is bound to destroy her career, her family, and her life.
Ádám Császi’s LAND OF STORM premiered at Berlin International Film Festival
MANUELA: DEATH OF A NATION by director Ciro Guerra and director-producer Cristina Gallego
An epic retelling of the story of Manuela Saenz, a woman who was erased from history and is now only remembered as Bolivar's crazy lover, but who was the first-ever female colonel of the Republican Army and instrumental in the revolution that liberated seven nations from the Spanish Empire.
Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego already joined forces on the Academy Award-nominated feature film EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT; WAITING FOR BARBARIANS premiered at the official competition of Venice Film Festival; BIRDS OF PASSAGE was the Opening Night Film of Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, Cannes Film Festival
THE INVISIBLE INK by director César Díaz and producer Fernando Epstein
A former Uruguayan revolutionary leads a peaceful life in Belgium until he receives a visit from his old torturer, who threatens to kill his wife and daughter if he doesn’t hand him a hidden loot. Now he must travel back to Uruguay, confront his past and face those who have considered him dead for 20 years.
César Díaz’ OUR MOTHERS won the Caméra d’Or, Cannes Film Festival and New Directors Competition Award, Chicago International Film Festival
THE STERN SISTERS by director Elite Zexer and writer Mindi Ehrlich
Five ultra-Orthodox sisters, who have never spent one second outside of New York’s conservative Jewish community, find themselves boarding a plane and flying to a God-forsaken town in South Brazil. Their mission: to track down the husband of one of them, who left years ago without granting her a divorce, and is about to marry a second wife in a matter of days. They are ready to do whatever it takes in order to help their sister finally break free of him. Whatever it takes.
Elite Zexer’s SAND STORM won the Grand Jury Award, Sundance Film Festival; Berlin International Film Festival; Locarno Film Festival; Toronto International Film Festival
THE WEREWOLF & RENÉE by director Katrin Gebbe and producer Verena Gräfe-Höft
Paris, 1780. The pious noblewoman Renée (21) gets married only to discover that she was “sold” by her mother to the notorious libertine: the Marquis de Sade (22). She vows vengeance. When de Sade crosses forbidden lines, Renée must liberate herself from this toxic love affair before it is too late.
Katrin Gebbe’s PELICAN BLOOD premiered at Venice Film Festival and Toronto
International Film Festival; NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN premiered at Cannes Film Festival and won an award at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
Katrin Gebbe helmed the most successful non-English Netflix series THE EMPRESS.
TRISHANKU by director Pushpendra Singh and writer Seema Dahiya
Pooja Haji, an ambitious 43-year-old hijra (third gender), who after losing the promised headship of Satrangi Hijra House to a teenager, sets out on a journey of revenge and power, creating a battle for the high seat in an already marginalized world of hijras in early 2000s Delhi.
Pushpendra Singh’s THE SHEPHERDNESS AND THE SEVEN SONGS premiered at Berlin International Film Festival and won an award at Hong Kong International Film Festival
YOURS, MARGOT by director Juho Kuosmanen and producer Jussi Rantamäki
After discovering her father’s letters to an unknown lover, Vilja unearths her family’s traumatic past in 1980s East Berlin.
Juho Kuosmanen’s COMPARTMENT NO 6 won the Grand Prix, Cannes Film Festival official competition; THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI won Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes Film Festival
The eligible director/producer or director/writer teams from all over the world have been closely mentored and guided by experienced and awarded creatives while working on their series and developing a full pitch deck.
Among the mentors are award-winning German producer Janine Jackowski (TONI ERDMANN, SKYLINES), Israeli writer and script doctor Ronit Weiss-Berkowitz (THE GIRL FROM OSLO), the international development producer from France/Denmark Isabelle Lindberg Pechou (TROM), and Brazilian producer, director, and showrunner Felipe Braga (SINTONIA, LOV3).
Directors, showrunners, writers, and producers such as Academy Award-nominated Agnieszka Holland (HOUSE OF CARDS, TREME, THE WIRE, EUROPA EUROPA, THE SECRET GARDEN, ANGRY HARVEST, IN DARKNESS), multiple award winner Frank Doelger (GAME OF THRONES, THE SWARM), and Michael Hirst (VIKINGS, THE TUDORS), Hagai Levi (THE AFFAIR, OUR BOYS, SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE, IN TREATMENT), and Stefan Arndt (THE WHITE RIBBON, RUN LOLA RUN, BABYLON BERLIN, GOODBYE LENIN) were among the speakers.
The creative initiative SERIESMAKERS is headed by Laurence Herszberg, General Director of Series Mania, and Koby Gal Raday, Chief Content Officer of Beta Group.