Highlights: Berlinale Series Market & Conference

By Pickle  February 8, 2021

From March 2 to 5, 2021, the seventh edition of “Berlinale Series Market & Conference” will present a top-notch conference programme, international showcases, a curated selection of commercially promising series under the newly created label “Berlinale Series Market Selects”, and regular market screenings. Like at the EFM itself, the screenings and conference will take place digitally, and will be structured to suit the virtual format. The “Mix and Mingle” format within the online version of the “Berlinale Series Market & Conference” will also provide networking for series industry professionals.

Dennis Ruh, EFM director: “With the ‘Berlinale Series Market & Conference’ we’ve again created a ‘market within the market’ where everything revolves around high-quality series content. Series professionals, industry experts and buyers will find numerous opportunities to learn about current trends and trendsetting developments, to discover commercially promising series recommendations, and to see the first images from 2021’s most important series from Germany and other countries. All of it concentrated and located in one place – the EFM website.”

Conference programme highlights: impact storytelling and narrative trends

The digital conference on March 3 will be opened in cooperation with the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, main partner of “Berlinale Series Market & Conference”. The official Berlinale Series programme includes the new series It’s a Sin by legendary British series creator Russell T Davies (Doctor Who, Queer as Folk, Years and Years), and in his opening keynote conversation, he will talk about his wish to address complex subjects and make them accessible to a large audience.

In the masterclass “Social Impact Storytelling”, Maurício Mota (Wise Entertainment) will show how serial storytelling can change hardened perceptions and promote inclusion. Guy Bisson (Ampere Analytics) presents global narrative trends and current facts. In the discussion that follows, high-profile industry representatives will debate the influence of current world events on the detailed strategy of fictional content producers.

Series showcases from all over the world will complement the programme and present new productions and themes. Another high point will be the “Upcoming Series from Germany” selection, which gives insight into the newest German series: Para – Wir sind King (W&B Television, TNT Serie, WarnerMedia), Wild Republic (Lailaps Pictures / X Filme Creative Pool, MagentaTV / WDR / SWR / arte / One, Beta Film), Blackout – Morgen ist es zu spät (W&B Television, SAT.1 / Joyn, Red Arrow Studios International) and Terra Vision (WT) (Kundschafter Film / Sunny Side Up, Netflix). The complete programme will be announced in February.

Series available for online screening

The newly created special label “Berlinale Series Market Selects” highlights extraordinary series of high commercial potential within the “Berlinale Series Market” screenings. The selection – limited to 15 projects maximum – is made by the Berlinale Series committee. With a strong focus on new European productions as well as series from Australia, Russia and Canada, the twelve projects in total bearing the “Berlinale Series Market Selects” label exemplify the global and thematic diversity of the series market: Potential discoveries include crime stories and contemporary family constellations from Scandinavia; creator Albert Espinosa focuses on mental illness in the young adult series Alive & Kicking; and Keeley Hawes and Joanna Lumley grapple with smart houses and the bereavement process in Finding Alice. In the series Katakomben, from Germany, Munich’s surface and its underworld collide in explosive ways.

The “Berlinale Series Market & Conference” is a joint initiative of the European Film Market, the Berlinale Co-Production Market and Berlinale Talents, and is organised in close collaboration with Berlinale Series. The “Berlinale Series Market & Conference” takes place in partnership with Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, and is funded by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

“Series Market Selects” 2021

Aftertaste, Australia
Creator: Julie De Fina, Matthew Bate
Director: Jonathan Brough with Erik Thomson, Natalie Abbott, Rachel Griffiths
Production company: Closer Productions
Broadcaster: ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
World Sales: ABC Commercial
Episodes 1-3 of 6
When his latest outburst goes viral, volatile celebrity chef Easton West flees back to his hometown and tries to reinvent himself through an unlikely partnership with his 19-year-old pastry wunderkind niece.

Alfa (Grow), Denmark
Creator: Milad Avaz
Director: Milad Avaz with Lars Mikkelsen, Andreas Jessen, Sebastian Jessen
Production company: SF Studios Productions, Rocket Road Pictures
Broadcaster: TV2 Denmark, TV4 Sweden
World Sales: ZDF Enterprises
Episodes 1 and 2 of 8
A stockbroker remembers his family roots in organised crime and dives ever deeper into the world of Danish biker gangs. His ambition is only matched by the efforts of his brother, a drug enforcement officer, to save him.

Сны Алисы (Dreams of Alice), Russia
Creator: Anastasia Volkova
Showrunners: Valeriy Fedorovich, Evgeniy Nikishov
Director: Andrey Dzhunkovskiy with Alina Gvasaliya, Aleksey Rozin, Ekaterina Vilkova
Production company: 1-2-3 Production
Broadcaster: TV-3
World Sales: 1-2-3 Production
Episode 1 of 8
Teenage girl Alice lives in a small town where everything seems ordinary at first sight. She can’t wait to get away from it: the bullying at school, the fights with her mother – and the bloody premonitions that keep haunting her. But what if there is no way to leave?

Los Espabilados (Alive and Kicking), Spain
Creator: Albert Espinosa
Director: Roger Gual with Álvaro Requena, Marco Sanz, Sara Manzano, Aitor Valadéz
Production company: Movistar+ in co-production with Dynamo Audiovisual
Broadcaster: Movistar+
World Sales: Beta Film
Episodes 1 and 2 of 7
Four teenagers escape from a psychiatric institution. With a detective on their heels, they take on life with their very own wit, humor and charm – challenging our conception of sanity.

Finding Alice, United Kingdom
Director: Roger Goldby with Keeley Hawes, Joanna Lumley, Nigel Havers
Production company: Red Production Company
Broadcaster: ITV
World Sales: STUDIOCANAL
Episodes 1 and 2 of 6
The night Alice and her family move into the dreamhouse her husband Harry built, he has a fatal accident. His sudden death kicks up a storm of secrets, debt and suspicion which Alice is forced to confront in order to survive.

Katakomben (Echos), Germany
Creators: Jakob M. Erwa, Florian Kamhuber
Showrunner: Jakob M. Erwa, Florian Kamhuber
Director: Jakob M. Erwa with Lilly Charlotte Dreesen, Sabine Timoteo, Mercedes Müller
Production company: NEUESUPER
Broadcaster: ProSiebenSat.1, JOYN
Word Sales: Beta Film
Episodes 1 and 2 of 6
When a group of bored high-society kids meets the invisible lower class in the Munich catacombs, everything crashes.

Io ti cercherò (Standing Tall), Italy
Creator: Leonardo Fasoli, Maddalena Ravagli
Director: Gianluca Maria Tavarelli with Alessandro Gassman, Maya Sansa, Andrea Sartoretti
Production company: Publispei
Broadcaster: RAI
World Sales: ZDF Enterprises
Episodes 1 and 2 of 8
An ex-police officer investigates into his estranged son’s alleged suicide. With the help of old allies and facing the demons of his past, he risks everything to keep the promise he made to his only child.

Mon Fils (Son of Mine), Canada
Creators: Michel D’Astous, Anne Boyer
Director: Mariloup Wolfe with Antoine L’Écuyer, Élise Guilbault, Patrice Godin
Production companies: Quebecor, Duo Productions
Broadcasters: Club Illico, TVA
World Sales: Oble
Episode 1 and 2 of 6
18-year-old Jacob’s life is shattered by the sudden onset of schizophrenia. His once-bright future is irretrievably shaken by this unforgiving mental illness. As is his mother Marielle’s life, who won’t give up on her son and is determined to help him to get onto the road of recovery.

Outlier, Norway
Creators: Arne Berggren, Kristine Berg
Showrunners: Arne Berggren, Kristine Berg
Directors: Ken Are Bongo, Arne Berggren, Kristine Berg with Hanne Mathisen Haga, Stein Bjørn, Eila Ballovara Varsi
Production Company: Shuuto Norway
Broadcaster: A Media
World Sales: REinvent International Sales
Episodes: 1 and 2 of 8
A criminology student returns to her home town in Northern Norway to throw herself into the investigation of what turns out to be a serial killer case.

OVNI(s) (UFOs), France
Creators: Clémence Dargent, Martin Douaire
Director: Antony Cordier with Melvil Poupaud, Michel Vuillermoz, Géraldine Pailhas
Production company: Montebello Productions
Broadcaster: CANAL+
World Sales: STUDIOCANAL
Episodes 1-4 of 12
1978. Didier, a brilliant space engineer, is assigned a new task after his rocket launch went awry: As the head of GEPAN, he has to solve the many mysteries of UFO sightings and lead his team of misfits to efficiency and success.

Pørni (Suck it up), Norway
Creator: Henriette Steenstrup
Directors: Gunnar Vikene, Charlotte Blom with Henriette Steenstrup, Nils Ole Oftebro, Gunnar Eiriksson
Production company: Monster Scripted
Broadcaster: Viaplay
World Sales: TBA
Episodes 1-3 of 6
Pørni has two daughters, an irresponsible ex, a father and a nephew she took in after a family tragedy, a job in child welfare and a house and garden. Why would she have trouble finding time for herself – especially her love life?

Seeds of Deceit, Netherlands
Director: Miriam Guttmann
Production company: De Familie Film & TV
Broadcaster: VPR
World Sales: Dogwoof
Episodes 1-3 of 3
Documentary Form
Dr. Karbaat, a pioneer in artificial insemination, became subject to controversy when evidence accumulated that he used his own semen for the process. The documentary series portrays the shocking revelations and the people whose lives were affected by this.

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