France’s Series Mania, one of Europe’s biggest TV festivals, has been canceled following new French government coronavirus health restrictions.
“Series Mania attracts 80,000 festival attendees and 3,000 industry professionals every year. Given the French government’s ban of meetings of over 1,000 people and numerous restrictions on the travel of French and international delegates, we’ve decided to cancel the event,” Series Mania president Rodolphe Belmer announced Wednesday.
“It is with great sadness that we have had to make this difficult decision. However, our utmost concern is for the safety and well-being of our valued clients, guests, and staff who have invested so much time these past few months,” said Laurence Herszberg, founder and general director of Series Mania.
“I would also like to thank every creator, talent, producer, 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 with a new edition that will be, from the bottom our hearts, even more ambitious and radiant,” added Herszberg.
A spokesperson for Series Mania said the event was initially planning to maintain the edition in a downsized format, according to the government’s ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people, but ultimately decided to pull the plug because of the volatile situation and rapid evolution of the virus outbreak.
“We could have reduced the size of the event, but we had no visibility over what the situation was going to be in 10 days, whether the ban was going to be tightened to 500 people instead of 1,000, or was going to become a full ban on all gatherings,” said the spokesperson.
She said the decision to cancel was taken by the organizers rather than city or government officials. A big chunk of the guests would not have been able to attend, either because of travel restrictions in their countries, as in Italy or Israel, or travels bans from companies as in the U.S., explained the spokesperson.
Series Mania’s cancellation adds to the similar fate of SXSW in the U.S., and MipTV in France, as well as numerous other events, and will inevitably raise further speculation as to whether May’s Cannes Film Festival, the biggest movie meet of all, will go ahead and, if so, under what conditions.
The high-profile guests who were expected to attend Series Mania included “Narcos” showrunner Chris Brancato, and “Godfather of Harlem” star Giancarlo Esposito, actors Carole Bouquet and Zabou Breitman, and as well as the cast and crew behind the Canal Plus series “The Bureau.”
Series Mania was also set to showcase international scripted dramas from 25 different countries, including the U.S., the U.K., France, Chile, Peru, Niger, Senegal and South Korea.
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