‘Home Turf,’ ‘Do Not Disturb,’ ‘Over and Out’ Highlight Canneseries Short Form Competition
Art and Experience:
Canneseries will again this year shine a light on the up-and-coming short-form series format. Featuring promising and innovative formats which frequently end up on platforms popular among young audiences, the competition embraces new ways in which series can and are being consumed.
Emmy winning writer-producer Greg Garcia (“My Name is Earl”) heads the Short-Form Competition jury which includes French actress-director Fanny Sidney (“Mesrine”) and Norwegian actress Josefine Frida Petersen (“Skam”). The Best Short Form Series award will be handed out during the festival’s closing ceremony which will be broadcasted live on Canal Plus.
Three of the competition’s entries come from Canada – one from last year’s winning production company St Laurent TV – two from Argentina and Australia, and one each from the U.S., France and the U.K.
The series will screen April 9 and 10.
Taking place behind closed doors, “Do Not Disturb” is a sometimes sexy, sometimes scary anthology series from the U.K.’s Pulse Films, Person Films and Riff Raff with Blackpills Studio. Created by Michael Haussman & Larry Volpi the series boasts a superstar cast featuring the likes of Monica Bellucci and Ralph Ineson in front of the camera, and Jude Law as one of the episodes’ directors. Each episode is a twisted tale taking place in a locked room with a Do Not Disturb placard hanging from the nob.
The lone U.S. contribution to this year’s competition is comedy series “Golden Revenge,” which comes from Retrofit Films and Conaco in association with Blue Ribbon Content. Created by Josh Gardner and director Tom Stern, it boasts an instantly recognizable cast of voice actors featuring David Cross, Natasha Leggero, Ice-T and Trace Adkins. In the foul-mouthed “Homeward Bound” cousin for grown-ups, three pets – two dogs and a cat – set out on a bloody path of vengeance for their much-loved owner who, after a marriage that’s not what it seemed, is put into a coma by a half-wit hit man and his monkey-business sidekick.
Created by Agustina Levati and Pedro Levati and directed by Pedro Levati, “Noche de Amor,” was produced by Macaco Films, Mil Grullas Cine and Contenidos Públicos in of Argentina. Each of the series’ seven episodes focuses on one day of action in the life of rebellious Vicky and her conservative mother Nora, who are planning Vicky’s upcoming wedding. The series starts with the proposal and ends on the night of love, or “Noche de Amor.”
Another Argentine production, “The F—ing Liars,” created, written and directed by Alejandro Jovic, chronicles the story of Malena and Lucas, a couple half in love; Lucas being that half. When an spurned ex re-emerges, things get volatile between the three. The romantic comedy is produced by UN3, and world premiered at November’s Mar del Plata Festival.
Australian comedy “Over and Out” spoofs a number of genre clichés while following a married couple and their toddler and infant children through a post-apocalyptic wasteland inhabited by zombies, cannibals and a host of other un-friendlies. The series uses its off-the-wall setting to poke fun at current hot-button issues such as the anti-vax movement, PC culture and the shifting of once-traditional roles in the family structure. Created and written by Adele Vuko and Christiaan Van Vuuren, the series is produced by Midwinter films – behind Toronto Film Festival Discovery player “The Butterfly Tree” – and directed by Connor Van Vuuren.
Another Australian in competition is Tanith Glynn-Maloney and director Dylan River’s “Robbie Hood,” co-written by River and Kodie Bedford. Produced by Ludo Studio and Since 1788 Productions, the series follows a group of young friends in ultra-rural Australia, led by Robbie who narrates the series. The series features a cast which boasts a diversity that sets it apart from most other, whiter content coming out of Australia at the moment. The series, much like its titular character, features a snarky sense of humor surrounding a heart of gold.
“Simone & moi, une amitié mécanique” is the lone domestic series taking part in this year’s Competition. Simone is the anthropomorphic name given to the walker of 20 year-old Bahia, the series main character who is going through physical rehab after a long hospitalization. The series gives a slow-motion look at a fast paced world by a character forced through physical limitation to slow down. The series was created by its star and narrator Soukaïna Meflah along with Laurène Dervieux who co-directed with Maxime Charden. My Fantasy produces.
“Home Turf” comes from Montreal’s St Laurent TV, whose series “Dominos” took top honors in last year’s short-form competition. This year the company brings Mara Joly’s story of sisterhood in a foster home full of “troubled” teenage girls at different stages in the transition from children to women. The series features tricky camera-work, gut-wrenching backstories and a lovable if crass caretaker who, despite her faults, seems to have the girls’ best interests close to her heart.
“Theodore Without an H,” another Canadian series, is the most lighthearted of the country’s three entries. A comedy narrated by the main characters ADHD inner monologue plays out as an updated “Billy Madison,” following 30 year-old Teodore in his quest to go back and graduate high school after a failed attempt at becoming a chef. The series was produced by Zone 3, and co-created by director Julien Hurteau and writer Natalie Doummar.
“Warigami” is the third and final Canadian entry, and the competition’s most action-packed entry. An intense martial arts tale of mystical warriors who can fold paper into deadly weapons, the series boasts high-end visuals that rival most broadcast TV programs, and features “Stargate Atlantis” fan-favorite David Hewlett as the series least physically intimidating yet best-masked villain. Created by Eddie Kim, written by Andrew Allen and directed by Jason Lapeyre, the series was produced by Toronto-based First Love Films.