SERIESFEST: SEASON 5 CELEBRATES ‘THE YEAR OF INNOVATION’ IN DENVER FROM JUNE 21 - 26

OPENING NIGHT SCREENING AND PANEL TO FEATURE THE STARZ SUPERNATURAL THRILLER ‘THE ROOK’ FROM LIONSGATE AND LIBERTY GLOBAL STARRING EMMA GREENWELL, JOELY RICHARDSON AND OLIVIA MUNN
Author:
Publish date:

‘Innovation Talk’ Series with Industry Luminaries Including Ted Sarandos, Mike Fries, Elvis Mitchell and Jane Turton Presented in Partnership with Liberty Global

Six Day Line-Up of Special Events, Premieres and Panels Featuring Talent and Executives from Shondaland, Netflix, Lionsgate, WE tv, CNBC and More!

SeriesFest, the award-winning international television festival and non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the art of episodic storytelling, announced today the expansive programming line-up for SeriesFest: Season 5, taking place in Denver, Colorado.

SeriesFest is dedicating this milestone year to the artists, studios, and companies who are taking creative risks and leveraging advances in technology to reimagine storytelling as part of ‘The Year of Innovation. The festival includes six days of in-competition screenings, panels, workshops, as well as never-before-seen sneak peeks and television premieres.

SeriesFest: Season 5 kicks off opening night on June 21 with the special event screening and Q&A panel of the STARZ supernatural spy thriller The Rook produced by Lionsgate and Liberty Global, followed by a Q&A with series’ stars Emma Greenwell, Joely Richardson, Olivia Munn, Executive Producers and Showrunners Lisa Zwerling and Karyn Usher, and Executive Producer Stephen Garrett. WE tv’s original documentary, Power, Influence and Hip-Hop: The Remarkable Rise of So So Def with hip hop mogul Jermaine Dupri; Participant Media’s America To Me with Oscar-nominated American film producer and director Steve James; The Outdoor Channel’s My Outdoor Family with star Eva Shockey and creator/director, Branlin Shockey; and CNBC Prime’s newest unscripted series, Cash Pad, with JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers from The Bachelorette.

Shining a spotlight on those individuals and initiatives committed to amplifying previously unheard voices, the ‘Year of Innovation’ platform will include insightful panels with industry leaders covering culturally-relevant and newsworthy topics. This year, for the first time ever, the festival will introduce the Innovation Talks series, presented in partnership with Liberty Global, with three up-close and personal discussions between: Liberty Global’s CEO and Vice Chairman Mike Fries and Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos; Elvis Mitchell, renowned film critic and host of NPR’s The Treatment; and Jane Turton, CEO of All3Media.

Shondaland 2.0 will give an inside look at the growth and innovation of one of the leading storytelling companies. Panelists include Alison Eakle (Head of Fiction & Non-Fiction, Shondaland), Anna Deavere Smith (Award-Winning Playwright, Actress, Professor, adapting Warmth of Other Sons at Shondaland for Netflix), Katie Lowes (Actress and host of the ‘Katie’s Crib’ ), Akua Murphy (Director of Short Form Content, Shondaland) and moderated by Ashley Ford, acclaimed author, journalist and host of PROFILE by Buzzfeed News. As previously announced, Shondaland has partnered with SeriesFest to award an up and coming director the opportunity to shadow a director of a Shondaland production as part of the first-ever Women Directing Mentorship initiative. The recipient of this award will be announced during the panel.

Other panels that hone in on this year’s theme include Identity & Inclusion: LGBTQ Representation in Television with the cast from the Netflix series EastSiders (sponsored by SAG-AFTRA); Click Subscribe: The Podcast Series, a meaningful dialogue on the role and development of podcast storytelling; and Generation Innovator: Showrunners & Series Creators Under 40 featuring Joey Slamon (truTV’s I’m Sorry), Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman (SundanceTV’s This Close) and Laura Chinn (Florida Girls).

Additional discussions featuring prominent talent and executives at this year’s SeriesFest include: Pitching and Marketing Your Series with Laura Fischer (CEO, Powderkeg), Lee Hollin (SVP, Current Programming, Lionsgate Television Group) and David Person (Manager, Original Programming, IFC TV); Crowdfunding Workshop led by the SeriesFest: Season 4 alumni and winners of Best Writers for comedy pilot competition, Stephen Colletti and James Lafferty (One Tree Hill) followed by an advance screening of their original pilot, Everyone is Doing Great; and a screening and Q&A led by CEO, Laura Fischer of Powderkeg: Fuse, a development incubator for on-the-cusp female directors.

“The ‘Year of Innovation’ speaks to the powerful narratives and groundbreaking work that our growing SeriesFest community has come to be known for,” added Randi Kleiner and Kaily Smith Westbrook, founders of SeriesFest. “During this milestone year we’re thrilled to present a lineup of programming which will highlight and further inspire unique and poignant approaches to storytelling. We’re truly honored to have such an incredibly impressive roster of participants who want to be part of the conversation.”

“Liberty Global is particularly pleased to help introduce the ‘Innovation Talks’ series of one-on-one conversations with both visionary business leaders and creative masterminds starting with what promises to be a fascinating conversation between Mike Fries and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos,” commented Bob Leighton, SVP, Programming, Liberty Global.

As previously announced, the festival’s Centerpiece event entitled SeriesFest’s Season 5 Benefit, A Celebration of TV & Music on Monday, June 24 will feature an unforgettable night with the legendary Stevie Wonder making his Red Rocks Amphitheatre debut, preceded by a special television presentation which will be announced shortly. SeriesFest: Season 5 will also feature its annual Independent Pilot Competition with selections from around the world and an esteemed jury which will also be announced in the coming weeks; and as always, there will be multiple opportunities for our emerging voices to network and learn from insiders, including the Industry Roundtable event, annual Pitch-a-Thon, and our new workshop opportunity Break Room Sessions with studios and networks.

The primary screening venue during SeriesFest is the Sie FilmCenter, which is the year-round cinematic home of SeriesFest’s partner organization, Denver Film Society. Passes and individual tickets to screenings, panels, and the Centerpiece event at Red Rocks Amphitheatre featuring the legendary Stevie Wonder, are available now at https://www.seriesfest.com/.

SeriesFest: Season 5 is presented with generous support from sponsors including Denver Film Society, Liberty Global, Once Upon a Time Productions, Xfinity, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Fries Foundation, Coca-Cola, i-Heart Media and JEEP.

** SCHEDULE OF SPECIAL EVENTS AND INDUSTRY PANELS BELOW BY DATE**

(***Updates will be announced asap***)

INNOVATION TALK SERIES WITH MIKE FRIES AND TED SARANDOS - SPECIAL EVENT

Presented in Partnership with Liberty Global

*Year of Innovation Program

In Attendance: Ted Sarandos (COO of Netflix) and Mike Fries (CEO of Liberty Global)

SeriesFest is excited to present a unique conversation with two top industry executives, Ted Sarandos, COO of Netflix, and Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global. Join us for an in-depth conversation as they discuss the evolving national and international television marketplace and how they lead their companies to be on the forefront in changing the way we access and consume content around the world. A not to be missed conversation.

THE ROOK (STARZ; Premieres June 30) - OPENING NIGHT SCREENING AND PANEL

In Attendance: Stars Emma Greenwell (Shameless), Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck), Olivia Munn (Predator), Lisa Zwerling and Karyn Usher (Executive Producers/Showrunners) and Stephen Garrett (Executive Producer)

Moderator: Laura Prudom (Deputy Entertainment Manager, IGN)

STARZ Original series “The Rook” from Lionsgate and Liberty Global tells the story of Myfanwy Thomas, a woman who wakes up in the rain beside London’s Millennium Bridge with no memory of who she is and no way to explain the circle of latex-gloved dead bodies splayed around her. When Myfanwy discovers she is a high ranking official in the Checquy, Britain’s last truly secret service for people with paranormal abilities, she will have to navigate the dangerous and complex world of the agency to uncover who wiped her memory - and why she is a target. As Myfanwy unearths more of her troubled past and learns the truth about her own abilities, she discovers that no one in her life is quite as they seem. Myfanwy will be faced with a choice – return to the difficult life she has always known, or seize this opportunity for a new beginning.

HOME $WEET HOME: WHY PROPERTY PROGRAMMING IS TV’S "CASH PAD"-PANEL

Panelists: JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers (hosts of ‘Cash Pad’); Jim Ackerman (Executive Vice President, Primetime Alternative Programming, CNBC)

First came home renovation TV, which inspired a generation of viewers to reimagine their dream house. Now, CNBC invites homeowners and house-hunters alike to transform their unused spaces into money-making Cash Pads. Hosted by JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers, break-out stars of “The Bachelorette” and experienced home flippers, Cash Pad (premiering July 25) is the bold new series that introduces viewers to the lucrative world of short term rentals. Join us for a sneak peak of Cash Pad and a special conversation with the hosts.

EASTSIDERS (Netflix)-U.S. PREMIERE

In Attendance: Stars Kit Williamson (also creator/director) and John Halbach (also executive producer)

“EastSiders” is an Emmy-Nominated LGBT series about a gay couple and their friends trying to stay together through drunken outbursts, double standards and dirty deeds. In season 3, the series set out to Make America Gay Again as Cal and Thom hit the road from New York to LA hauling a vintage camper trailer and tried to find their way back to one another. Ian and Hillary moved in together, Derrick and Jeremy started talking about having kids, and Douglas and Quincy got engaged. Season 4 picks up a year later and tackles some big questions: what does commitment really look like in a long term relationship? What does "gay marriage" really mean? And how do two human beings make love last? EastSiders launched on YouTube in 2012 to a lot of love from fans and critics alike, with Entertainment Weekly calling the show “funny and heartbreaking” and Out Magazine praising it as “relatable, fresh and darkly funny." The show has been nominated for 8 Daytime Emmy Awards. The series won Best Web Drama at the LA Weekly Awards, Best Ensemble at the Indie Series Awards and was nominated for a Satellite Award from the International Press Academy. In 2016 the series found a world-wide audience on Netflix, and has now been subtitled in more than 30 languages.

MY OUTDOOR FAMILY (Outdoor Channel) - SPECIAL EVENT SCREENING

In Attendance: Eva Shockey (Star) and Branlin Shockey (Creator, Director, Writer)

My Outdoor Family will follow Eva, Tim, and little Leni-Bow as they learn and grow as a family. Every key situation, decision and event will be framed around living and embracing the outdoor lifestyle as best as a young family with many conflicting obligations can.

CLICK SUBSCRIBE: THE PODCAST SERIES - PANEL

*Year of Innovation Program

Panelists: Clint Schaff (VP, Strategy & Development, LA Times); Rachel Estabrook (CPR's News Director) and Jack O’Brien (Head of Comedy and SVP of Podcast Development, iHeartMedia)

Podcasts have ears buzzing with new series. From murder mysteries to health and wellness, these series have us hooked and clicking play the next episode. This conversation will dive into the ins and outs of making a podcast, and what’s next for this storytelling medium.

IDENTITY & INCLUSION: LGBTQ REPRESENTATION IN TELEVISION- PANEL

Presented in Partnership with SAG-AFTRA

*Year of Innovation Program

In Attendance: Netflix ‘EastSiders’ stars, Kit Williamson (also creator/director); John Halbach (also executive producer); additional names TBA

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, which sparked a revolution for the LGBTQIA Community. This milestone highlights the importance of acknowledging the nature of sexual orientation, gender identity and how we move forward

culturally with an elevated understanding of diversity and inclusion. As the television landscape continues to evolve, so does the conversation around representation of the LGBTQIA Community. Join us for an in-depth conversation with entertainment industry panelists, including agents, casting directors, writers and actors who are leading the charge and innovating diversity standards.

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN CROWDFUND? - SPECIAL EVENT

In Attendance: James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti (One Tree Hill, Everyone is Doing Great)

SeriesFest: Season 4 alums James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti return to the festival to discuss their journey successfully (albeit sometimes clumsily) crowdfunding a season of their comedy pilot Everyone is Doing Great. They'll share insights on each phase of their crowdfunding process - from defining your project's unique story to tackling the challenges of perk fulfillment - including an open conversation with panel attendees, and finally, an advanced screening of the second episode of their original series, Everyone is Doing Great.

SHONDALAND 2.0 - PANEL

*Expansion of SeriesFest’s ‘Featuring Women’ Initiative

*Year of Innovation Program

Panelists: Alison Eakle (Head of Fiction & Non-Fiction, Shondaland), Anna Deavere Smith (Playwright, Actress “The West Wing,” “Nurse Jackie,” Professor, adapting “Warmth of Other Sons” at Shondaland for Netflix), Katie Lowes (Actress “Scandal” and host of ‘Katie’s Crib’ podcast), Akua Murphy (Director of Short Form Content, Shondaland)

Moderator: Ashley Ford (Writer, Host of PROFILE by Buzzfeed News)

Shondaland is a storytelling company founded by award-winning writer and producer Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes along with producing partner Betsy Beers are behind award-winning hits such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How To Get Away with Murder.” As Shondaland looks ahead to a new creative partnership with Netflix, the company will diversify its content offering, while also expanding its digital footprint with podcasts, a website vertical, and new brand partnerships. Hear from members of Shondaland content and brand teams as they discuss the ways in which they’ve been able to evolve and explore new creative avenues to storytelling as the media company grows in size and reach. Through a previously announced partnership between Shondaland and SeriesFest, the first-ever recipient of Women Directing Mentorship initiative will be announced. This recipient will have the unique opportunity to shadow a director for an episode of a Shondaland production.

INNOVATION TALK WITH ELVIS MITCHELL- SPECIAL EVENT

Presented in Partnership with Liberty Global

*Year of Innovation Program

In Attendance: Elvis Mitchell (renowned film critic and host of NPR’s The Treatment)

SeriesFest is excited to present a unique conversation with two top industry executives. Join us for an in-depth conversation as they discuss the evolving national and international television marketplace and how they lead their companies to be on the forefront in changing the way we access and consume content around the world. A not to be missed conversation.

POWER, INFLUENCE AND HIP-HOP: THE REMARKABLE RISE OF SO SO DEF (WE tv; Premieres July 18)-WORLD PREMIERE

In Attendance: Jermaine Dupri (Hip hop mogul)

Throughout this one-hour documentary special, we uncover the unique stories that make up the history of So So Def, one of the very few black owned labels from its humble beginnings to multi-platinum success and stardom. Jermaine Dupri’s ability to shape Atlanta’s popular music culture becomes apparent in this riveting journey that has turned him into one of the biggest music moguls of our time. Dupri’s mission has always been to create a universal platform through music not only in urban communities but around the world. Today, he’s achieved just that. The documentary features never-before-seen archival footage and original interviews with Dupri’s contemporaries including Mariah Carey, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Will.I.Am, Da Brat, Bow Wow and Nelly.

PITCHING AND MARKETING YOUR SERIES - PANEL

Panelists: Laura Fischer (CEO, Powderkeg), Lee Hollin (SVP, Current Programming, Lionsgate Television Group), David Person (Manager, Original Programming, IFC TV)

The good idea is paramount, but knowing who your audience is and how to pitch your show is the conduit to success. Unfortunately, there isn’t always time for an elaborate presentation, so honing the messaging can be a boon to taking your project to the next level. Meet Laura, Lee and David who have heard and given many a pitch. Today’s discussion will go over key points to cover in pitching and marketing your idea and how to stand out in a crowd.

INNOVATION TALK WITH JANE TURTON- SPECIAL EVENT

Presented in Partnership with Liberty Global

*Year of Innovation Program

In Attendance: Jane Turton (CEO of All3Media)

SeriesFest is excited to present a unique conversation with two top industry executives. Join us for an in-depth conversation as they discuss the evolving national and international television marketplace and how they lead their companies to be on the forefront in changing the way we access and consume content around the world. A not to be missed conversation.

POWDERKEG: FUSE - SPECIAL EVENT SCREENING

In Attendance: Laura Fischer (CEO) plus directors of the selections

Paul Feig is launching an incubator for women directors through his digital media and production company, Powderkeg. The initiative, called Powderkeg: Fuse, pairs filmmakers with top producers and casting directors to help develop their short films. A pool of 40 ethnically diverse women were asked to submit their ideas around the theme of community and neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles. The six women chosen will screen their original work, each short film is a proof of concept for series that Powderkeg is attached to produced.

GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING SINGER, SONGWRITER, MUSICIAN, AND PRODUCER, STEVIE WONDER LIVE PERFORMANCE- SPECIAL EVENT AT RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE!

*Previously announced

GENERATION INNOVATOR: SHOWRUNNERS & SERIES CREATORS UNDER 40 - PANEL

*Year of Innovation Program

Panelists: Joey Slamon (truTV’s I'm Sorry), Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman (SundanceTV’s “This Close”) and Laura Chinn (Pop TV’s “Florida Girls”)

This generation of episodic creators have found a way to use episodic storytelling to highlight contemporary issues and underrepresented voices. Join us for an in depth discussion with leading showrunners and series creators under 40 on how they got their foot in the door and what drives them to keep kicking down the gates.

AMERICA TO ME: INNOVATION, IMPACT AND “REAL TALK” (Starz) -- SPECIAL EVENT

In Attendance: Steve James (Oscar®-nominated American film producer/director), Jessica Stovall (teacher/cast) and Holly Gordon (Participant Media’s Chief Impact Officer)

America to Me, the groundbreaking 10-part docuseries from Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Steve James, fearlessly tackles issues of race, equity, culture and privilege as it follows one year in the life of students, teachers and administrators at Chicagoland’s Oak Park and River Forest High School. Inspired by this powerful series, hear how Participant Media’s innovative “Real Talk” campaign helped seed a nationwide conversation around race and equity – offering tools, strategies, resources and training to disrupt every day racism in our schools and communities.

SeriesFest (https://www.seriesfest.com/) is a non-profit organization dedicated to championing artists at the forefront of episodic storytelling. With year-round educational programs, initiatives supporting underserved voices, and professional development opportunities, SeriesFest inspires, educates, and connects a worldwide community of creators. Each June, SeriesFest culminates in a highly-curated and celebrated Denver-based festival and marketplace. Dedicated to showcasing innovative episodic content, the annual festival also includes a musical performance and network screening at the world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheatre, in-competition independent pilot screenings, panels, workshops, live reads, parties and network television premieres.

Follow @seriesfest on Twitter

Related