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SeriesFest: Season Two Showcases Indie TV In New Lineup of Panels and Special Events

The festival celebrates the best of upcoming independent television.

TBS (via Youtube)

SeriesFest, the annual television and content festival based in Denver, announced additions today to their lineup of panels, events, screenings, and special guests. The second year of the festival, officially titled SeriesFest: Season Two will launch on June 22nd, and will showcase new pilots and upcoming work from emerging talent.

READ MORE: SeriesFest: Season One Selects Winning Independent TV Pilots

34 titles will screen in an independant pilot competition, with competitions for “Best Pilot,” “Best Actor,” “Best Actress,” “Best Director, and “Best Director” in both Drama and Comedy categories. Pilots in this year’s competition include performances by Brad Leland, Jane Lynch, Amber Nash, Tahmoh Penikett, Missi Pyle, and Maisie Williams.

Additional special events include a sneak preview of the new TBS comedy “Search Party” and a conversation with the cast and creatives, a sneak of an upcoming Netflix Documentary Series, a preview of PBS musical documentary “American Epic” followed by a discussion with writer/producer Allison McGourty, and Denver Film Society co-presentation of “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You.” Amongst the new panels are “The Art of the Pitch,” “New Voices in Primetime,” and “Uncovering Unscripted Programming: An Insider Look Into What Makes a Hit.”

READ MORE: SeriesFest: There’s a DIY Way to Break Into TV

Check out the list of events and special screenings in the official lineup below.

SeriesFest Season Two: Official Special Events Schedule

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You

Co-presented with the Denver Film Society

Thursday, June 23rd | 6:00 PM-7:45 PM | Sie FilmCenter

Skype Q&A with Rachel Grady, Moderated by Britta Erickson (Festival Director, Denver Film Society)

Directors: Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
Executive Producer: Michael Kantor
Producer: Brent Miller and Suzanne Hillinger
Actor: Norman Lear

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You is the definitive chronicle of Mr. Lear’s life, work, and achievements, but it is so much more than an arm’s-length, past-tense biopic; at 93, Mr. Lear is as vital and engaged as he ever was. Top-notch cinéma vérité documentarians Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp, 12th & Delaware, DETROPIA) seize the opportunity to fashion a dynamic portrait that matches the spirit of their subject. Breaking down the fourth wall to create an evocative collage where past and present intermingle, they reveal a psychologically rich man whose extraordinary contributions to television, the entertainment industry, and pop culture emerge from both his personal story and a dialogue with the world. Interviewees include George Clooney and Rob Reiner.


Sneak Preview of PBS’ “The American Epic Sessions”

Saturday, June 25th | 2:45 PM-5:05 PM | Sie FilmCenter

Q&A with Allison McGourty

Directed by:Bernard MacMahon

Written by:Bernard MacMahon, Allison McGourty and Duke Erikson

Executive Produced by:T Bone Burnett, Robert Redford and Jack White

American Epic is a much anticipated episodic work that takes us on a journey across time to the birth of modern music—a moment when the musical strands of a diverse nation were first collected and combined, sparking a cultural revolution that forever transformed the future of music and the world. In the fourth film of the series, “The American Epic Sessions”, Jack White and T Bone Burnett challenge an array of today’s greatest artists to test their skills against the long-lost machine that recorded their musical idols and forebears and brought sound to motion pictures. Stripped of the comforts and security of modern technology, Nas, Elton John, Alabama Shakes, and Willie Nelson are among the iconic artists who have three minutes and one chance to get their music etched into the surface of a revolving wax disc before the weight hits the floor. This never-before-experienced sonic exploration results in a series of career-topping performances by legendary artists. This not-to-be-missed film speaks volumes of the diverse and eclectic American creative spirit.


Sneak Preview of TBS’ “Search Party”

Saturday, June 25th | 1:00 PM-2:00 PM | Sie FilmCenter

Q&A with Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers and Lilly Burns

Created by: Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers
Director: Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers
Executive Producer: Michael Showalter, Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, Tony Hernandez and Lilly Burns
Principal Cast: Alia Shawkat, John Reynolds, John Early and Meredith Hagner

Search Party is a dark comedy mystery that centers on four self-absorbed 20-somethings—Dory, her boyfriend and her narcissistic friends—who are not crime solvers. So when Dory enlists them to find a missing girl from college, they become entangled in a plot that is more than their privileged lifestyles bargained for.

Sneak Preview of Condé Nast Entertainment Shorts

Friday, June 24

This fall, Condé Nast is thrilled to launch two new short film series on their cutting-edge digital platforms that highlight today’s biggest and most discussed topics and trends. Check out an exclusive teaser of what lies ahead! Career Girl celebrates women in the workplace and the everyday hardships they face (via Glamour) and The House is Innocent is a haunting thriller told through an engaging multiplatform approach (via Vanity Fair).Glamour‘s Glamour Shorts is a new series of award-winning digital short films, from the hottest new directors, producers and film actors. Straight from the
festival circuit, the six selections that comprise this new initiative are smart, funny and engaging films celebrate women’s narratives and help discover female-oriented talent. SeriesFest is thrilled to give you a first look at this exciting new project with a sneak preview of Career Girl by and starring Johanna Watts, also featuring Jon Huertas (Castle). Career Girl is a magical realist film that asks every woman the question: career, success, or family… and what happens when we choose one over the other? Screening prior to Comedy Block Three on Friday, June 24 at 7:45pm.
Directors: Johanna Watts, Fortunato Procopio,
Producer: Johanna Watts
Cast: Johanna Watts, Jon Huertas , Tava Smiley

Vanity Fair‘s Stories in Motion is an all-new virtual screening room showcasing emerging filmmaker projects and short films. Preview it here first with Nick Coles’s mysterious thriller The House is Innocent. Tom and Barbara, are the proud new owners of what once was a boarding house run by notorious elderly serial killer, Dorothea Puente. They believe it’s gotten a bad rap, but is that really all there is to the story? Screening prior to Drama Block One on Friday, June 24 at 12:00pm.


Sneak Preview of an upcoming Netflix Original Documentary Series

Friday, June 24th | 7:15 PM| Sie FilmCenter


Schedule of International Spotlights & Descriptions


“The Syndicate” (North American Premiere)

Thursday, June 23rd | 5:00 PM | Sie FilmCenter

Screening with The Writer

Directors: Kay Mellor and Dominic Leclerc

Writer and Executive Producer: Kay Mellor

Cast: Lenny Henry (Othello, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Cara Theobold (Downton Abbey), Anthony Andrews (Brideshead Revisited), Alice Krige (Thor: The Dark World), Elizabeth Berrington (Mr. Turner), Melanie Hill (Stardust), Richard Rankin (The Crimson Field) and Sam Phillips (In The Flesh)

At the crumbling stately home of Hazelwood Manor, life for its few remaining downstairs staff is about to take a dramatic leap upstairs, when their small syndicate beats the unlikely odds and wins the lottery.


“The Writer” (North American Premiere)

Thursday, June 23rd | 5:00 PM | Sie FilmCenter

Screening with The Syndicate

Directors: Shay Capon

Producers: Sayed Kashua, Yoni Paran, Karni Ziv, Yankale Amzaleg and Rachel Faran

Cast: Yousef Sweid, Ruba Blal-Asfour, Yasmin Churi and Adham Bachus

The Writer is an auto fictional series from the creator of the award-winning comedy Arab Labor, Sayed Kashua. It centers on Kashua’s fictional self, Kateb, who is an Arab Palestinian living in Israel struggling with an identity crisis which affects his and his whole family’s sense of belonging and nationality.


“No Offence” (North American Premiere)

Presented in Partnership with BAFTA

Friday, June 24th | 11:00 AM | Sie FilmCenter

Skype Q&A with Paul Abbott

Creator: Paul Abbott

Producers: Anna Ferguson & Simon Meyers

Directors: David Kerr, Catherine Morshead

Cast: Joanna Scanlan, Elaine Cassidy, Alexandra Roach, Paul Ritter, Will Mellor, Colin Salmon, Sarita Choudhry

A screening of the first episode from the BAFTA-nominated Channel 4 drama series No Offence which follows an unorthodox crack team of tough but big-hearted bobbies go above and beyond to bring down the criminal rabble but when a particularly twisted serial killer emerges it leaves even the most hardened of these seasoned coppers reeling. Starring Joanna Scanlan (The Thick of It), Elaine Cassidy (The Paradise), Alexandra Roach (The Iron Lady) and Will Mellor (Broadchurch)


Sneak Preview of Sundance TV’s “Gomorrah” (US Premiere)

Saturday, June 25th | 10:00 AM | Sie FilmCenter

Screening with The A Word

Producers: Matteo De Laurentiis, Riccardo Tozzi, Giovanni Stabilini, Marc Chimenz and Gina Gardini

Director: Stefano Sollima

Cast: Marco D’Amore, Fortunato Cerlino, Maria Pia Calzone, Salvatore Esposito and

Marco Palvetti

Set in the suburbs of Naples, Gomorrah focuses on the inside story of the Camorra, the fierce Neapolitan crime organization, told through the eyes of Ciro Di Marzio (Marco D’Amore), the right hand of the clan’s godfather, Pietro Savastano (Fortunato Cerlino).

Sneak Preview of Sundance TV’s “The A Word” (US Premiere)

Saturday, June 25th | 10:00 AM | Sie FilmCenter

Screening with Gomorrah

Producers: Peter Bowker, Patrick Spence, Lucy Richer, Sara Johnson, Avi Nir, Keren Margalit, Jenny

Frayn and Marcus Wilson

Director: Peter Catteneo

Cast: Lee Ingleby, Morven Christie, Greg McHugh, Vinette Robinson, Max Vento, Molly Wright and Christopher Eccleston

Simultaneously dramatic and heartwarming, thought-provoking and lighthearted, “The A Word” follows 5-year- old Joe, Joe’s parents, Paul (Lee Ingleby, “Our Zoo,” “Inspector George Gently”) and Alison (Morven Christie, “Grantchester”), who struggle with parenting philosophies after Max is diagnosed on the autism spectrum; his aunt and uncle, Nicola (Vinette Robinson, “Sherlock”) and Steve (Greg McHugh, “Fresh Meat”), who are working through unfaithfulness in their marriage; and his grandfather, Maurice (Chris Eccleston, “The Leftovers,” “Fortitude”), a recent widower and the owner of the family brewery.

Amigos (North American Premiere)

Saturday, June 25th | 5:45 PM | Sie FilmCenter

Screening with Le Bureau

Producer: Jean-Claude Van Rijckeghem & Dries Phlypo
Director: Hendrik Moonen & Kadir Balci
Cast: Jurgen Delnaet (Rik), Matthieu Sys (Dylan), Sahin Avci (Halil), Wouter Hendrickx

(Mathieu), Johny Voners (Berten), Frances Lefebure (Tessa)

The good, the bad and the hungry. The ten episode mini-series Amigos tells the tragicomic story of five former inmates who start a restaurant.


The Bureau (US Premiere) 

Saturday, June 25th | 5:45 PM | Sie FilmCenter

Screening with Amigos

Showrunner: Eric Rochant

Producers: Eric Zaouali, Hicham Hajji, Hamid Herraf, Alex Berger, Pascal Breton

Cast: Mathieu Kassovitz, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Sara Giraudeau, Florence Loiret Caille and

Gilles Cohen

Based on real accounts by former French spies (and inspired by contemporary events), The Bureau tells a thrilling story of a man torn between love and loyalty, living in a world where a single lie can kill.


Schedule of Panels & Descriptions


The Business of Acting

In Partnership with the Denver Film Society’s Filmmaker Focus and SAG-AFTRA

Tuesday, June 21 | 7:00pm -8:00pm| Sie FilmCenter

 Panelists: Jami Rudofsky (Casting Director, Gilmore Girls)

So you have honed your craft as an actor…now what? Hear from a diverse panel of industry insiders on how to navigate the business of acting. In this hour-long session, we’ll cover everything from finding the right team, to preparing for pilot season, to a range of key business elements such as project and contract negotiations. Don’t miss an essential guide featuring a host of insider tips and best industry practices.


The Art of the Pitch

In Partnership with NAMIC- Denver

Thursday, June 23rd | 4:15pm – 5:15pm | Sie FilmCenter
Panelists: Keith Clinkscales (CEO, Revolt)

Amy Hobby (Academy Award-Nominated Producer, Co-Founder of Tangerine Entertainment)

Brett Marottoli (VP, Program Acquisitions at Starz Networks)

Moderator: Eric Kuhn (Head of Marketing, Layer3 Media)

You only have one chance to make a first impression and when you are trying to sell a television show, the pitch is your currency. The value of your idea and yourself must be represented as clearly as possible the first time around. So how do you do this? You have to nail the pitch! Sit down with a panel of diverse leaders from various sectors of the entertainment industry who will share tips on how to present a successful pitch and enable you to confidently own the meeting and showcase your project.


New Voices in Primetime

In Partnership with NBC

Friday, June 24th | 5pm – 6:30pm | Sie FilmCenter

Panelists: Jennifer Salke (President, NBC)

Tracey Pakosta (Executive Vice President, NBC Comedy Development)

Grace Wu (Executive Vice President, NBC Casting)
It’s an exciting time to be a television creator as the desire for original and diverse content is at an all-time high. Join NBC executives—including President Jennifer Salke and leaders from their Development and Casting teams—along with network talent as they discuss the current development process and how their dynamic primetime schedule is evolving with an eye toward cultivating storytellers who bring exciting, fresh, and relevant voices to their projects. We will delve further into the expanding television landscape and gain exclusive insight into new trends in the industry.


Uncovering Unscripted Programming: An Insider Look Into What Makes a Hit

Friday, June 24th | 3:45pm – 4:45pm | Sie FilmCenter

Panelists: Jessica Sebastian (SVP of Development, ITV Entertainment)

Darin Frank (Partner, Sloane Offer Weber and Dern LLP)

Moderator: Charlie Ebersol (Chairman and Co-founder, The Company)
Earning the network’s trust, gaining studio support, finding your voice, and assembling the right team are just a few of the crucial topics this group of seasoned entertainment executives will openly discuss. Moderated by entertainment entrepreneur Charlie Ebersol, this panel gives you unparalleled access inside the matrix of unscripted programming from all sides of the industry—studio, network, legal, and production—to give you a complete 360 degree view of this dynamic, and ever-growing, entertainment format

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