The TV drama festival was scheduled to unfold March 20-28.
Organisers have just announced that the major TV drama festival and industry event in Lille will not take place due to coronavirus.
More than 3,000 industry people including 400 speakers were expected, and 80,000 visitors had booked a festival ticket, according to the festival’s official statement.
“Due to the recent restriction from the French government banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people, coupled with the travel restrictions for many of our international participants, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Series Mania,” said Rodolphe Belmer, president of the event.
“In this delicate period, we are very touched by the on-going support of our French and international partners, and we want to express our warm thanks to everyone.”
Laurence Herszberg, founder and general director of Series Mania added: “This year’s Series Mania was an event not to be missed with an exceptional programme and amazing guest list and it is with great sadness that we have had to make this difficult decision. However, our utmost concern is for the safety and wellbeing of our valued clients, guests, and staff who have invested so much time these past few months. I would like to thank the city of Lille, Hauts-de-France region and European audiences for their enthusiasm and passion. I would also like to thank every creator, talent, producer, scriptwriter and broadcaster who have trusted us since the beginning. To our audiences, professionals, politicians, and industry leaders, we will be back stronger than ever in 2021 for a new edition that will be, from the bottom of our hearts, even more ambitious and radiant.”
Six Nordic TV dramas had been selected for Series Mania’s official programme: Denmark's Cry Wolf (DR Drama) was due to world premiere in the international competition against nine premium shows, the Danish youth series Pulse (TV2 Play) was running in the short format competition, and four Nordic series were lined-up in the Panorama section: Norway’s 22 July (NRK), Sweden’s Thin Ice (C More/TV4), Iceland’s The Minister (RÚV) and Finland’s Cold Courage (Viaplay).
Meanwhile the Norwegian sci-fi series Underground produced by Anagram Norway was among 15 high-end shows selected for Series Mania Forum’s pitching sessions.
Claudia Saginario, producer of Cry Wolf for DR Drama said: "It is of course very sad that our show will not have its world premiere at Series Mania. We had been looking very much forward to sharing our show with a dedicated international audience in Lille. However, we fully respect the necessity of the decision made by the festival. It is the most responsible thing to do in this situation. DR Sales will distribute online links to buyers instead, and hopefully Cry Wolf will still reach a worldwide audience in the near future."
Icelandic executive producer and CEO of Sagafilm Nordic whose company had the Icelandic series The Minister, and co-productions Thin Ice and Cold Courage in the programme also said: “It’s truly sad to see Series Mania being cancelled. “I am hoping they will reschedule it at a later date as we truly need these festivals to keep our industry running.”
The cancellation of Series Mania comes on the heels of several global events that have been forced to either cancel or postpone their tenure (including Mip TV and Canneseries), due to the global spread of coronavirus, and health measures imposed by local authorities.