Strategically positioned between Brussels, Paris, London and Amsterdam, the city of Lille–host to the Séries Mania festival–has become the beating heart of the TV industry. A place for TV professionals to converge from all over the world, Lille welcomed almost 4000 accredited individuals last year in the Forum section of the festival, hailing from 65 different countries. More than ever, TV series reflect the sweeping technological and geopolitical changes at play in the world.
Series Mania is also a festive occasion where the general public is invited to discover the latest creations reflecting the state of the industry. As per tradition, screenings are free and open to a wide public (85 000 spectators came in 2023). The festival’s cultural and educational mission extends all year long in the Hauts-de-France region.
This year being marked by several international crises, the TV business and, consequently, the festival are both affected. The current Russo-Ukrainian war and Israel–Hamas war have drastically reduced the number of applicants from these territories. In Israel, many ongoing projects were shut down, making it impossible for Séries Mania to include an Israeli production this year, for the first time ever. The South American television industry still hasn’t recovered from the aftermath of COVID shutdowns. As for the U.S, the Hollywood strike that paralyzed film and TV production last year for several months explains why the 2024 lineup contains fewer American premieres. In this regard, we are delighted to welcome entries from newcomer nations who rose to the occasion, and surprised us with content whose quality matches the creativity of the countries temporarily absent this year.
AI makes waves
Artificial Intelligence is also causing global upheaval, particularly as it affects how series are created and regulated. It impacts our industry on many levels. Moreover, AI is the subject of several stories, making it an unavoidable issue in both form and content. It was, of course, a point of contention during the Hollywood writers’ strike and the topic will be covered in the 2024 Lille Dialogues summit. This new situation will need adjustments to be made, especially because channels and streaming platforms have started to consolidate their offerings–as always searching for the most viable economic and editorial model.
These reconfigurations call for a fresh way of thinking, original solutions and, more broadly, an ongoing evaluation of our trade in all its internal and external complexities. Which is why our Séries Mania Institute is more important than ever, as our teams train the next generation of television professionals, with students coming from all over the world as well as from Hauts-de-France, regardless of their academic credentials. Our goal is to prepare them to face tomorrow’s challenges, so that TV series can continue to delight us.
Have a great festival everyone!