The Berlinale series of markets celebrates 10 years

As the Berlinale series market celebrates its 10th anniversary, the series stands „side by side” with films at the German festival, observes EFM director Dennis Ruh.

„The PSM series continues to be a beacon for all aspects of content, even if the space feels tight with fewer films and series, giving more exposure to select topics,” he says, noting the „vibrant attendance” of international experts. shows.

Although the sidebar for series has been discontinued, they remain in the Berlinale Special and Panorama sections. In addition to Netflix's „Supersex” and Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo's „Dostoevskij,” the Berlinale Series Market Selects will spotlight 15 new shows.

„We prioritize stories that capture diversity in representation, genre and geography, and captivate with their originality. The goal is to expand these stories, ensuring they receive global attention,” points out another important trend: comedy: Ruh. „This may be a reaction to the restless age the world is facing and complex emotions There is a growing need to use humor as a channel for processing.”

Laughs come courtesy of Alvaro Carmona's „Show Yourself” and the Beta-backed „Soviet Jeans,” set in 1970s Riga, where a political rebel starts making fake jeans from a mental asylum.

„We decided to go for a completely different tone when portraying this period, which is often shown in this grim, dark way. Even during communism, people joked: humor was their main means of survival,” says showrunner Teodora Markova.

While many festivals are still figuring out how to successfully integrate the series into their programs, Ruh underscores the importance of a „unique big screen experience.”

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„This approach provides a significant promotional boost, especially for non-English-speaking series, helping them gain recognition and distribution in different regions,” he says.

Along with Robert and Michelle King's highly-anticipated „The Good Wife” spinoff „Elspeth” — with Carrie Preston reprising her Emmy-winning role as Elspeth Tascioni — two German-language productions have been optioned: „Disco 76” and „Kafka.”

„An established festival like Berlinale with the EFM market is a great opportunity to introduce high-quality products, especially to a wide professional audience,” says Armin Luttenberger, international head of content sales at ORF-Enterprise, the company behind „Kafka.” A „good mix” of titles depicting the diversity of society. is key to the success of a program.

“From a sales perspective, a global approach to issues of interest to our audience in the domestic market, but certainly relevant to audiences in other regions around the world,” he observes. „I firmly believe that originality is a key advantage over generic content. The financing of individual content presents challenges, however, what the Nordics have already mastered will become more important for other markets as well. The power of collaboration will ensure that common cultural spaces are represented.

Robert Frank, VP of drama at the ZDF studio, which represents paranormal practice, guys, said, „In this show, two investigators from the agency for paranormal phenomena try to solve mysterious cases, whether it's an alien abduction or an attack by a creepy goat demon. We see a trend. [in moving] Away from classic mainstream series and towards productions that are a little more unexpected and unusual.”

Cultivating creative diversity is important, he says, especially when facing a „market crisis of unknown duration and magnitude.”

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“This diversity thrives when small independents and large, financially strong players find a balance and ensure a diverse storytelling environment,” underlines Frank. „The challenge ahead is maintaining this balance amid short-term market fluctuations, ensuring the industry's ability to quickly adapt to current changes.”

Rodrigo Herrera Ibarcuengoidea, international VP of scripted acquisitions and co-productions at Red Arrow Studios, notes that new ways to collaborate and finance content are always „good things to discuss.” The company oversees „While the Men Are Away,” set in post-apartheid South Africa, and action drama „Soon Comes Night.”

„Though set against the bleak backdrop of war, 'Men' is an irreverent and witty revisionist period drama that focuses on the characters' emotional journey, always laced with humor,” he notes. „These two shows are very different in content, but both offer a broad appeal that attracts audiences internationally.”

Ruh says, “As the lines between film and series continue to blur, it is vital that festivals like Berlinale continue to grow, ensuring that series maintain a prominent place in our market and festival landscapes.

„Embracing this shift is critical to fostering a rich, diverse cinematic culture that celebrates storytelling in all its forms. I'm confident that this festival and market will continue to be an important contributor to the series,” he added.

“We believe that true movie lovers will love the TV series and true TV series lovers will love the movie. This coexistence makes perfect sense at festivals,” says Mai Björstrom, co-creator of „Axon” with Peter Thorsbo: „There is both envy and inspiration between film and TV. Sometimes the cinema takes the lead, sometimes it's the show's turn. Like being in love in real life.”

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The Berlinale Series Market – a joint venture between the European Film Market, the Berlinale Co-Production Market and Berlinale Talents – runs from February 19-21.

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