The second edition of the Serial Killer festival approaches
by Martin Kudláč
- The unique Czech gathering will present the latest European small-screen endeavours
After the inaugural edition last year (see the news), Serial Killer, a unique festival in the Czech Republic, is bracing for its next iteration, which will unspool from 24-29 September in the city of Brno. The festival has moved from a May date to a September spot; however, its ambition to present contemporary Central and Eastern European television and online episodic productions remains unchanged. “We’re a festival showcasing the best you can find in contemporary European production. We focus especially on the region of Central and Eastern Europe, which has long been overlooked by Western producers,” says festival founder Kamila Zlatušková.
The main competition will introduce the latest effort from the HBO stable – namely, an original production realised in the Czech Republic, The Sleepers – after the series premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. In it, Ivan Zachariáš (who co-directed the previous local HBO effort Wasteland) helms a spy story set in 1980s Czechoslovakia. Furthermore, Fritz Lang’s memorable 1931 drama-thriller M gets the remake treatment in an episodic story set in modern-day Vienna, M – A City Hunts a Murderer; a case of child abduction is investigated in the Ukrainian series Hide and Seek; a Russian period drama about a veteran coming home from Afghanistan after the break-up of the Soviet Union, Blackout, is also in the section; and these titles are joined by the eagerly awaited Czech-Polish miniseries Rats by director Viktor Tauš, who previously shot the critically acclaimed “quality TV” miniseries Blue Shadows and Monsters of the Shore for the Czech public broadcaster.
The second edition of Serial Killer will also shine the spotlight on current Norwegian television productions. The country focus includes the drama series Twin; a dramedy about high-ranking finance executives, Exit; the absurd comedy Magnus, featuring a police officer who investigates cases dressed as a piece of furniture; the Netflix-co-produced comedy show Norsemen; and a cross-genre series dubbed “scandi medi-noir”, Valkyrien.
The International Panorama will press on with its mission to present current European small-screen endeavours, among them a German historical drama about a famous art school, Bauhaus; a Belgian thriller revolving around a jury during a trial, The Twelve; the Swedish HBO comedy Gosta; the British social-realist drama Kiri; and the French comedy Mytho.
This year, a special section is being dedicated to shows about and for teenagers, and will include the Finnish comedy series Adults; the Belgian sci-fi comedy show Generation B; the Norwegian series Young and Promising; an Icelandic two-part drama called Manners, about the consequences of the rape of a secondary-school girl from the point of view of the rapist and the victim; and the acclaimed radical Norwegian teen drama series that unfolds in real time, Skam.
Serial Killer aims to position itself as a gathering for professionals as well. The Industry Days section will include panel discussions, showcases, special screenings and workshops for film and TV experts. Norwegian producer Ivar Køhn will open the industry programme by talking about the transformation of Norwegian TV drama, which eventually led to a national production winning the International Emmy Award for Best Drama Series. The Industry Days will include a presentation of training programmes for television professionals, such as MIDPOINT, ScripTeast and HypeWriter, European film and television schools that are members of CILECT, and the EastSeries initiative, organised by ScripTeast, the Odesa International Film Festival and Series Mania.
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