24 November 2023

Image taken from the Iranian series “The Actor”, developed by Nima Javidi, which received the grand prize at the Series Mania festival, in Lille, on March 24, 2023.

Arrived at the end of the screenings of the 57 series scheduled throughout this 2023 edition of Series Mania, which closed its doors on Friday March 24, it was necessary to sacrifice the rite of the winners. A corollary of the creativity which – despite the sector’s growth crisis – continues to irrigate episodic fiction, the nine titles offered in international competition could almost all claim the supreme award.

First Iranian series to be selected in this section, The Actor won the grand prize from the jury chaired by American showrunner Lisa Joy. A clever mise en abyme on the place of art in a country with an ultra-repressive regime, the series developed by Nima Javidi conquered the jurors by the facetious staging of the setbacks of two unemployed actors, forced to survive to put in scene of pranks and tricks for customers in search of thrills. Its creator soberly thanked “people from (her) country and especially women.

Another series to have moved the public and the jury, the British Best Interests. Michael Sheen receives the best actor award for his portrayal of a father faced with his daughter’s illness and the impossible choice between keeping her alive and stopping treatment.

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John Kare Raake, winner of the screenplay prize for Norwegian dystopia TheFortress, drew on global warming, population displacements and the pandemic to feed his story. The series, set in the near future where Norway lives in autarky thanks to a proactive agricultural policy and a wall preventing all immigration, recalls the punch that was British production Years and Years when it was released, and its influence on science fiction series.

Spectacular level of competition

Within the international competition, France was represented by Thanks, developed by Maxime Crupaux and Baptiste Fillon for Arte, which evokes the disappearance of the working class. She was honored with the prize for best actress, awarded to Margot Bancilhon. She plays a lawyer caught in the earthquake caused by the murder of a union leader of the dockers in Le Havre. Apart Thanks, which we will therefore see on Arte, the award-winning series are all waiting for a French broadcaster.

The level of the French competition whose prizes are awarded by a jury of foreign journalists was also spectacular. Perhaps because the liveliness of his humor and the cutting edge of his satire have something Anglo-Saxon about them, it’s Under control (Arte), the political comedy by Charly Delwart, directed by Erwan Le Duc, which won the grand prize. The acting prizes went to young Carel Brown, for his neurodivergent child character in aspergirl (OCS), comedy located at the burlesque end of the autism spectrum, and to Clémentine Célarié, in The Hikersits (TF1). She portrays a lawyer pushed to the limit as much by her cancer as by the social decline it has caused. Finally, the prize for best music went to the soundtrack imagined by Maud Geffray and Rebeka Warrior for the series Split, by Iris Brey, the story of an unexpected love between a stunt woman and the actress she doubles (Jenny Beht and Alma Jodorowsky).

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