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Pro-Palestine Protest Seen Outside Series Mania TV Festival In France

A small pro-Palestine protest formed outside Series Mania in France on Tuesday.

The group, which numbered no more than 10, wore Palestine flags and distributed flyers to delegates in French, while holding a banner reading “Stop Genocide In Gaza / Boycott Series Mania.”

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They called for Series Mania to cut a longstanding writing residency partnership with Israeli cultural bodies over the country’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza, and said they wanted to raise awareness among delegates of the French TV festival.

Specifically, the flyer literature pointed to Series Mania’s participation in the Drama Series Co-Writing Residency between Israel and France, which has been in place at the fest for half a decade. The residency is a program initiative of France’s film body CNC (Centre National du Cinéma) and Israel’s GMFF (Gesher Multicultural Film Fund), in cooperation with the Israeli Scriptwriters Guild, the Israeli Producers Association and the French Embassy in Israel.

The GMFF runs the Negev Film Fund, which receives support from the Israeli Ministry of Culture. Protestors said they took issue with the involvement of the fund in the co-pro initiative because it is involved in projects in the Negev region where Israel has announced the construction of Jewish settlements close to Palestinian and Bedouin towns.

The Israel-Gaza conflict has already impacted the build-up to Series Mania, after event organizer Laurence Herszberg released a statement saying it was “impossible” to include any Israeli shows in competition this year because productions had shut down due to the conflict. Series Mania insiders have admitted Herszberg could have worded her statement more clearly, but we understand the fest remains steadfast in its reasoning.

Protestors today claimed Series Mania had rejected Israeli submissions in fear of triggering larger protests during the festival.

It is understood the long-running ties between Israel’s production community and the festival remain strong. One Israeli project was included in the Co-Pro Pitch Sessions today at the event in Lille, northern France.

Israel’s military actions in Gaza have led to 31,000 deaths since October 7, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. The current conflict broke out after a Hamas attack on Israel killed 1,200 as the decades-long regional tensions reached new levels of violence.

Tensions are running high in the industry as evidenced by the intense reactions to Jonathan Glazer’s Oscar speech and a turbulent recent Berlin Film Festival.

Series Mania declined comment.

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