The ninth annual SeriesFest, an annual television-centric event held in Denver, kicks off Friday with a slightly abbreviated schedule in light of the writers strike. Per WGA rules, writers are not allowed to make “promotional appearances” at film festivals (or presumably, TV festivals like SeriesFest) or at “For Your Consideration” Emmy events. Already, a number of FYC showcases have either been canceled, or continued on but with just a screening, no panel, due to the strike.
SeriesFest becomes the first festival to be impacted by the strike. This year’s event takes place from May 5 to May 10, which now happens to coincide with the early days of the strike. As a result, showrunners have opted out of a handful of panels, while screenings of many new and returning shows will now take place without talent/showrunner Q&As. It could be an early peak at the pivot that may have to take place with other upcoming festivals, including Cannes and ATX.
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“Since its inception, SeriesFest has been proud to celebrate the art of episodic storytelling and support the work of all the incredibly deserving creatives who bring stories to our festival,” said Randi Kleiner, the co-founder and CEO of SeriesFest. “Through our programs, we have always honored the critical and remarkable work of writers and we stand in solidarity with them. We are hopeful that they will get the terms they deserve. We’re excited for Season 9 and to host a full lineup of screenings and incredible conversations with thought leaders who are passionate about sharing their experiences.”
Several NBCUniversal shows were set to take part in SeriesFest, including a Season 2 screening on Saturday for “Grand Crew” with creator/exec producer/showrunner Phil Augusta Jackson, who will no longer be there. (The screening will continue, however).
Also previously announced for Saturday: Netflix’s new animated comedy “Mulligan,” with producer Robert Carlock and showrunner Sam Means. The show will still be screened, but Carlock and Means won’t be in attendance.
No longer happening on Saturday is the previously comedy showrunner panel that was to feature Gloria Calderón Kellett (“With Love”), Meredith Scardino (“Girls5eva”), Shea Serrano (“Primo”), Means and Jackson.
Previously announced events on Monday include the world premiere of Amazon Freevee’s “Primo,” which will still screen — but without the panel featuring Serrano and stars Ignacio Diaz-Silverio and Christina Vidal.
And on Tuesday, Nat Geo’s Disney+ series “A Small Light” will still get a screening, but without showrunners Tony Phelan and Joan Rater. Also that day, a panel with Universal Television’s development executives on the state of comedy will no longer take place. Previously confirmed to appear were Universal Television’s Jim Donnelly (executive vice president, comedy development), Beth Miyares (senior vice president, comedy development) and Megan Macmillan (senior vice president, comedy development).
Meanwhile, an event surrounding the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” franchise will continue but exec producers Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey and Tom Campbell have bowed out.
Events still taking place include the world premiere of CNN’s docuseries “The 2010s,” a live taping of Paul Giamatti’s “Chinwag” podcast, a talk with Tubi COO Adam Lewinson, a panel on actors with disabilities, a sitdown with Starz original programming president Kathryn Busby and more. Also set is a comedy showcase featuring Chelsea Handler and a screening of Fox’s “Animal Control” with Joel McHale.
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