Season 7 of Séries Mania, the French TV festival happening in Paris as we speak, is showcasing eight new television shows during its first-ever international series competition.

Séries Mania
© Séries Mania

One of the highlights of Séries Mania: Saison 7 is the French TV festival’s inaugural International Competition.

During the ten-day festival, eight television series have their world or international premieres in the International Competition, whose jury is headed by David Chase, the multiple Emmy® Award-winning creator, writer, and showrunner of The Sopranos.

Four of the series hail from Europe (five including the UK).

BEAU SÉJOUR (Belgium)

In this Flemish-language fantasy whodunit, young Kato wakes up one morning at the Hotel Beau Séjour, covered in blood. She neither remembers anything of what happened the night before nor understands why, with a few exceptions, no one can see or hear her. Then it hits her: she’s dead.

Why certain people can communicate with her while most others can’t is just one of the questions Kato wants answered. Mostly she wants to know who the murderer is and why they wanted her dead. The police seem to be getting nowhere with the homicide case, so Kato sets out to solve it herself. In her search to uncover the truth, she discovers that many secrets lie buried beneath the surface of her supposedly peaceful village community.

Beau Séjour stars Lynn Van Royen (De Ridder) as Kato Hoeven, as well as Johan Van Assche (Cordon), Kris Cuppens (Spitsbroers), and Reinhilde Decleir (Marsman).

A production of deMENSEN, Beau Séjour is created by Nathalie Basteyns (Clan), Kaat Beels (Jes), Sanne Nuyens (Connie & Clyde), and Bert Van Dael (Clan). The 10×52-minute series is written by Van Dael, Nuyens, and Benjamin Sprengers (Connie & Clyde), and directed by Basteyns and Beels.

Beau Séjour premieres in Belgium on VRT (Eén) and in France on ARTE  in 2017.

CANNABIS (France/Spain)

In the dark underworld of drug smuggling, there is much at stake for those who traffic cannabis at home and across borders. And it is the lives of drug traffickers and their families that fill the storyline of this drama-thriller reminiscent of The Wire.

Farid’s botched break-in of a drug baron’s boat in Spain is the catalyst for a chain reaction that upends the lives of everyone involved, directly or indirectly, across the entire length of the drug chain — from Farid and his family, to the top dogs and smallest dealers.

Cannabis - French TV series
Cannabis – Photo © Jean-Claude Lother / ARTE France

Cannabis stars Yasin Houicha (Le Princess), Kate Moran (You and the Night), Jean-Michel Correia (Rust and Bone), Christophe Paou (Maigret), and Pedro Casablanc (Isabel).

The the 6×52-minute series is created by Hamid Hlioua (Le Princess), written by Hlioua, Clara Bourreau (Maison Close), and Virginie Brac (Spiral, Paris), and directed by César Awards nominee Lucie Borleteau (Fidelio: Alice’s Odyssey).

A co-production of ARTE France, Tabo Tabo Films, Arcadia Motion Pictures, and Producciones Estrecho AIE, Cannabis premieres in France on ARTE in 2016.

MIDNIGHT SUN (MIDNATTSSOL/JOUR POLAIRE) (Sweden/France)

One of the most highly-anticipated new Euro TV series is this crime drama set during the height of the Arctic summer in Lapland, the land of the indigenous Sami people.

Near the Arctic Circle, in the Swedish city of  Kiruna, a French citizen is brutally murdered. Shortly thereafter, French authorities dispatch Kahina Zadi, captain of the Central Office for the Prevention of Violence Against People, to the crime scene to conduct the investigation alongside Swedish police.

With the help of the local prosecutor, Anders Harnesk, Kahina soon discovers that this is not an isolated incident. There are more killings in and around the small mining community of Kiruna. And while the victims are seemingly unconnected to each other, all are murdered in a well-planned and vicious manner.

As Kahina and Anders search for the truth, both are forced to deal with their respective repressed pasts. Yet it is their journey into the pains of the past that becomes key to preventing more killings in Kiruna.

Midnight Sun-Jour Polaire: Leila Bekhti, Gustaf Hammarsten © Jerome Bonnet / Canal+
Midnight Sun-Jour Polaire: Leila Bekhti, Gustaf Hammarsten © Jerome Bonnet / Canal+

Midnight Sun stars Leila Bekhti (A Prophet) as Kahina Zadi and Gustaf Hammarsten (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as Anders Harnesk. Peter Stormare (Fargo) costars.

The creators of Midnight Sun are Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein, who co-created and co-wrote the original Swedish/Danish version of The Bridge (Bron/Broen) with Hans Rosenfeldt. The pair also serve as the series’ directors, as well as scriptwriters alongside Henrik Jansson-Schweizer and Patrick Nebout, producers of the hit Swedish drama Thicker Than Water.

Produced by Nice Drama and Atlantique Productions, in association with Canal+, SVT, and Filmpool Nord, the 8×52-minute Midnight Sun is the first-ever French-Swedish co-production of a drama series. The Canal+ Original Creation premieres in Sweden on SVT and in France on Canal+ in 2016.

NOBEL (Norway)

Oslo’s own Aksel Hennie (The Martian, Headhunters, Torpedo) returns to Norwegian television in this war drama and political thriller, starring as soldier and sniper Lieutenant Erling Riiser.

During the war in Afghanistan, Riiser and fellow members of FSK, the Norwegian Special Forces, are responsible for the day-to-day safety of that country’s citizens. Then he returns home to his family in Oslo, where he learns his mission actually isn’t over.

Instead, Erling and other veterans become part of a political conspiracy that, as the stakes grow higher and higher, has more and more impact on his life and his family, and ultimately on Norway as a country.

Nobel - Norwegian TV series
Nobel: the cast of Nobel, starring Aksel Hennie (center) – Photo © Monster Scripted AS

Costarring with Hennie are Anders Danielsen Lie (Oslo, August 31st), Tuva Novotny (Crimes of Passion), Christian Rubeck (The Heavy Water War), Danica Curcic (The Bridge), Mads Sjøgård Pettersen (Dag), Dennis Storhøi (Mammon), and Atheer Adel (Blochin – The Living and the Dead).

Created by Mette Bølstad (The Half Brother), Stephen Uhlander, and Per-Olav Sørensen (The Heavy Water War), who also directs the 8×44-minute series, Nobel is a production of Monster Scripted.

Nobel premieres in Norway on NRK in 2016.

The other four titles in Séries Mania’s International Series Competition are The Five from the UK, The Kettering Incident from Australia, Mama’s Angel from Israel, and El Marginal from Argentina.

Open to the public, Séries Mania: Season 7 runs from the 15th through the 24th of April 2016, at Forum des images, located at the Forum de Halles in Paris.
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Séries Mania: Sweden’s Midnight Sun, France’s Cannabis Feature in New TV Series Competition
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