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EWA Showcase of Female-led Series at Series Mania Forum

EWA Network Showcase of Female-led Series at Series Mania Forum - Five Series Made by Women that Caught Our Eye in 2023

The percentage of women working in series has risen from under 20% in 2018 to 22%. While the quantity of female led-series, with a female voice and a female gaze is still lower than we would like, no one can argue with the quality. That is why our showcase at Series Mania looked at the other side of the equation -celebrating the work!.

Our showcase, selected by and moderated by Edel Brosnan, EWA’s Director of Strategy focused on five shows with a majority of women in the key creative roles: The Dry (Ireland/ UK)  Corpo Libero/ The Gymnasts (Italy) , This is Not Sweden (Catalunya/ Spain/ Sweden/Germany), Carmen Curlers (Denmark) and Miss Scarlet and the Duke (UK). What do these five shows have in common? Nothing! And that’s the beauty of it. These series are all so different from each other - in format, genre, style and storyline. But all of them were entertaining, must-see TV. If you haven’t seen them yet, we recommend you track them all down as soon as possible!

We were thrilled to have a full house at the Grand Palais in Lille for our showcase, and so grateful that so many EWA Network members turned up to support us.

Joining us on stage were: Aina Clotet  - creator, director, producer and star of This is Not Sweden, along with the show’s producer Marta Baldo  Sellent; Emma Norton - producer, The Dry; and Carlotta Calori - producer on  Corpo Libero. Mette Heeno, creator, head writer and producer on Carmen Curlers sent her regrets, as did. Rachael New, creator and showrunner on Miss Scarlet and the Duke.

 

After a brief message from Nawell Amour about EWA Network’s Series Accelerator, funded by Netflix, the audience watched trailers from each of the selected series, along with an explanation of why we had chosen to highlight them.

We started with The Dry,  a funny,  sad and authentic twist on the mid-life crisis drama, and a totally believable drama comedy about addiction and recovery and trying to stay sober despite the best or worst efforts of your family and your own self-destructive instincts.  We loved the scripts from writer Nancy Harris, and the strong central performance from RoisinGallagher in this comedy-drama, nominated for a Bafta award and renewed for a second series. Producer Emma Norton talked us through the eight-year development process, bringing  ITVx and Britbox on board, and the secret to attracing the right talent, from the legendary Ciarán Hinds to Paddy Breathnach as director and Sarah Lynch as composer.

Next, we turned to Corpo Libero/ The Gymnasts,  a thriller on Paramount Plus. When a team of young gymnasts gather in an isolated hotel in midwinter, to compete in an elite tournament, teenage obsessions clash with the brutal pressures of competitive training, with life-changing consequences.  This series never shied away from the dark side of professional gymnastics where,  behind the smiles and sparkly leotards, lurks a world of intense pressure and bitter rivalries. Carlotta Calori spoke to Nawell about the all-female writers’ room on the series, where the novelist whose book inspired the series worked with a seasoned and emerging screenwriter. They also discussed the cast - all the fictional gymnasts were played by real-life gymnasts rather than professional actors. Carlotta also talked about how she attracted so many different partners for this series: All3Media, Rai,  ZDFNeo and  Paramount, with this universal story about the price of ambition. .

Next, Edel Brosnan shared the trailer for This is not Sweden: a standout drama-comedy, an ironic, totally believable tale of starry-eyed young parents who are trying to raise their kids in a different way and escape from the big bad city to bring up their families somewhere more ‘real’ and natural - even though their young children just want to go back ‘home’ to Barcelona. The series is also a terrific example of an organic  international co-production, with partners from Catalunya, Spain, Sweden and Germany. it  works because it makes complete sense dramatically speaking - with the Catalyna-Sweden dichotomy at its heart. Aina and Marta shared with us the long road to bringing their co-production partners on board. Aina, as co-creator, director, producer and lead actor, talked us through her journey from child actor to lead creator both on and off screen.

Next, we looked at a clip from Carmen Curlers, created by Mette Heeno, and one of  the latest DR productions. It captures a moment of huge social change in Denmark, during an era when lives changed, for women and for men, when  popular culture changed, and dreams changed. And it tells it through the story of a man who is that ultra-modern archetype - a disruptor. It’s also  the story of the women in his orbit - think Mad Men, set in rural Denmark, in the swinging sixties. Even better, it’s an inventive, playful show that moves seamlessly from social realism to something far stranger when it wants to. We sent Mette Heeno our very best wishes as she is currently busy writing  the third season, which we are already longing to watch.

Finally,  we turned to Miss Scarlet and the Duke, Season 3.  We selected this period drama detective series, featuring the eponymous Miss Scarlet because of its scale, its lush production values, and  its compelling, crime-drama format. This is  ‘Entertainment with a Capital E’.  It is also a strong example of a show that uses a writer’s room, to great effect - every episode feels like part of the big picture, but the variety of voices enriches it. In addition,  this is very much Rachael New’s baby - she is the creator, showrunner, sometime director and executive producer. We sent Rachael our best wishes from Lille to Serbia, where she is busy shooting Season 5.

Our super-talented panel shared the secrets of their success with our audience. All agreed that the secret is simple - have a really clear idea of the story you are telling, and the kind of show you want it to be. Clarity and originality plus a theme that is authentic yet universal. And embrace the co-production experience - with the right partner, you not only get the funding and finance you need, you also get a strong creative partner who can make a good idea even better - and more likely to travel to multiple markets and countries.

We concluded with a round of applause for our amazing panel, and for our partners at Bastien Gave and Cyrielle Gendrey at Series Mania,  without whom this event would have been impossible.