Canneseries, the new TV festival set to launch in April during the Mip TV market, will be open for submissions starting next month.
Organizers revealed plans and a timetable for the festival during a press conference Monday in Cannes. They also announced that Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen (“Borgen”) would serve as patron for the inaugural Canneseries event.
“It’s an exciting moment for us,” said artistic director Albin Lewi, who unveiled the setup for Canneseries along side president Fleur Pellerin and managing director Benoît Louvet. ” It was just ideas six months ago. Now we are real and really ambitious.”
Canneseries will run from April 4 to 11 next year in the city of Cannes, with the official competition set to take place between April 7 and 11 at the Auditorium Lumiére in the Palais des Festivals.
The competition will present 10 world premiere series, selected from a pool of international submissions. Eligible series will have to be in their first season (not returning), and not yet have aired — in the case of U.S., U.K. and France contenders. Shows from other territories may have already premiered, but within a short timeframe.
“We really want shows from all over the world,” Lewi said. “We’re looking for the best quality.”
Pilots are only allowed if a show has been picked up and produced for multiple episodes. The screenings must last between one hour minimum to two hours maximum — which means half-hour shows must be able to showcase at least two episodes.
“They have to be just about ready for broadcast or out of the editing room,” Lewi said. “We don’t want works in progress. We want Canneseries to be an event moment.”
Canneseries will be open to all live-action genres, but is saving animation for its second year. Lewi is looking for shows that have universal appeal, which could be a challenge for comedy.
“We want innovative shows,” he said. “We want something of good quality and to be seen by a general audience. It can’t be too qualified for a specific country. We want to avoid 100% US shows. There will be US shows for sure. We don’t want shows that are made for a specific market.”
A jury made up of TV producers, filmmakers and journalists will be organized in the coming weeks and months, and shows can apply for the festival between mid-November and February. The final announcement of what’s chosen will be made in March.
For shows that don’t meet all of these requirements, there are also three slots for out-of-competition screenings. Lewi said he’s especially looking for returning shows that viewers are eagerly anticipating.
In creating Canneseries, the city of Cannes was particularly keen on getting fans involved — which is why most of these events are open to the general public. The event actually kicks off on April 4 with “Canneseries Addict,” a week of screenings and events in theaters throughout Cannes.
“It will be sharing the passion for these shows,” Lewi said. “Because we’re all addicts now. We’re going to bring some talent, and they’re going to share their addiction.”
On the final day, a Canneseries Digital component will allow short form projects to compete in their own field. “It’s important for us to promote this new form and way of consuming content,” he said.
Canneseries and Mip TV are also launching “In Development,” an incubator for new TV projects.
Although taking place in the same location as the Cannes Film Festival, there is no involvement between that event and this one. Canneseries comes almost a year after the Cannes Film Festival open the door to two TV productions, “Twin Peaks” and “Top of the Lake.” Those felt like outliers, as both came from auteurs best known as filmmakers (“Twin Peaks” director David Lynch and “Top of the Lake’s” Jane Campion and Ariel Kleiman).
Nonetheless, it’s clear television is playing a much greater role in the festival circuit. Besides Canneseries, the French government is also launching the Lille TV series festival next year.
“We won’t compare ourselves to the Cannes Film Festival, we’re smaller and very humble,” Lewi said.