Albin Lewi, Technical Director of Canneseries, has arguably the most tiring but also the most exciting job of the festival. It is Mister Series, the one through whom all the series pass before being selected for the various official competitions. While the fourth edition has just bowed out, the man is back on the 2021 prize list and is already looking forward to the fifth season which will take place in April 2022 (April 1-6).
What does the 2021 Canneseries winners inspire you?
Once we select series, they no longer belong to us. I have my tastes but a selection is a balancing act. The idea is to show the inventiveness and creativity of series in the world in terms of writing, visuals, narration, subjects covered.
It is a prize list with two favorite series which leave with two prizes from the jury: Mister 8 and The Allegation. They are two different series. Countrymen receives a jury prize but also another from high school students. In the short format, we are really on the choice of social subjects with strong, more dramatic subjects. We approach consent, youth, we feel that there is a sensitivity of the subject, of positioning, of commitment.
On the long series, it is a mixture of visual shocks, aesthetic shocks, surprises and discoveries. In the long series, the series was expected, it is a consecration.
It’s a track record that mixes all genres. Small, big budgets, comedy and drama. It reflects the diversity. Mister 8 is a concept, it is a UFO in black and white and it shows that the form but also the performance of the main character seduced the public. Beside that, we have a completely unexpected series like Countrymen, with a smaller budget, on a subject which mixes a dramatic social subject but with an unexpected tone, funny, barred, colorful in its staging with mostly inexperienced actors.
It’s a jaw-dropping subject and it’s approached with Norwegian sensibility in a mockumentary way, codes that have existed for a while but not on such a subject. It took a lot of control to make people laugh with hindsight, self-mockery, the second degree while having a message on the acceptance of the other, the opposition of styles of life, there is a side humanist.
Christian, which receives the prize for the best music, there, we are on a series with a big budget, a bewitching music, with a high dimension, it is neat. It is a track record that recognizes inventiveness, and I am delighted that this spectrum is represented. I was delighted, for example, that a series on the verge of horror like Dreams of Alice is represented at Canneseries.
Scandinavian series are very popular in the charts, is it a coincidence?
We have always had a lot of Scandinavian series at Canneseries, Norway is also the only country with Israel to have had a series in competition every year since the launch of the festival. I do not know how to explain it. What is funny is that we did not propose any “Scandi-noire” series in the selection while it is very fashionable, we are in something different.
Scandinavian humor, squeaky, I think of The Square which received the Palme d’Or, is in the DNA of this territory and they have the ability to constantly renew themselves. They are series manufacturers who can be counted on every year. Mastodons.
There is undoubtedly a twinge of heart when the Festival stops …
We were so happy to have done it last year, despite the sanitary constraints, that we were delighted with the experience. And there, what pleasure this fourth edition in almost normal conditions. It was a constant joy for six days. We brought in people from all over the world, everyone played along.
The rooms were full, there was joy, celebration, good weather, a mix between competition and out of competition. We hosted Raoul Peck, an Oscar winner, at Espace Miramar, it’s great. We are very happy with our rap red thread which was part of our programming. This edition was a moment of joy.
The next season is coming quickly, at the beginning of April 2022 …
The break will be short, indeed. Since 2019 we have been organizing a festival every six months, whether it takes place or not (laughs). Mister 8, for the anecdote, I had discovered it last February and it was to be presented in April, on the initial dates of Canneseries.
There, the festival took place, we start from zero. But Canneseries has become a family, it is a long-lasting, expected, recognized event. Something happened, we passed a milestone, maturity too. Roll on the next edition.
1. Prize which rewards a series of the official competition which stands out for its originality and innovation. 2. Prize which rewards an actor or actress in the short series competition.
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“It reflects the diversity” … Albin Lewi, the technical director of Canneseries, dissects the prize list