die Seriale 2018

Picture by Rossi Photography

A festival review by Martha Sigargök-Martin, 18.06.2018

For the second time in a row, I was invited to the web series festival, die Seriale, an independent festival based in Gießen, a small town in Germany. The festival was founded by filmmaker, Csongor Dobrotka, and supported and organized by an amazing team.

The original concept of the festival was to give German web series a platform outside of the internet, to promulgate their work and get to network with each other.

I’ve encountered the work of new creative people and was delighted to meet other creatives I’ve known for a while. It has been a pleasure being there for the second time. The festival is familiar as well as highly professional. Producers, creators, and sponsors from all over the world attend the event. What I mean by that is that you have the opportunity of learning a lot on what’s going on in the web. The festival is connected to several other web series festival, such as the Bilbao Web Fest, the Vancouver Web Fest, the Seoul Webfest, the DC WebFest, the Roma Web Fest, the Miami Web Fest, the Webfest Berlin, the Wendie Webfest Hamburg, the Seriencamp München, the Minnesota Webfest, the Sicily Web Fest, Miami Web Fest and many others. In addition, die Seriale became part of the Web Series World Cup (WSWC) in 2017.

Part of the program isn’t only web series screenings, but amazing events as well. There is an educational day, with lectures and panels, an independent day, where creators, festival directors, and producers talk about all aspects of short-form digital series making, and a business day, which offers a business platform for the web series industry.

This year I had the privilege of being part of their amazing festival, as I gave a workshop on creativity and procrastination myself. It was a lot of fun and I intend to do more of it in the future. The creators Thomas Meudt, Christian Stadach, Stephan Zimmermann and Matthias Noe did a workshop about sound and visual effect, and the producer Anne Santa Maria, about the art of pitching web series.

Of course, the festival was closed with a beautiful ceremony accompanied by the music of the talented quartet, La Finesse.

How to spread the work of independent web series creators was still a topic this year, that’s why the most experienced in this young industry gave new creators some tips and tricks to get better and maybe have the chance to be distributed.

I saw again some surprising and excellent work this year and would like to share a few below. I’ll present you the series I had the opportunity to watch and my favorites among them.

Claire and Michel

Country: Canada | Genre: Mockumentary | Creator: Gabriel Doré

„Claire and Michel“ is about a couple that wants to have a baby. They decide to document their life for their future child.

I’ve talked about „Claire and Michel“ before, but Gabriel presented a new episode at die Seriale this year. The series‘ third season has already been launched.

The episode we watched emphasized Michel’s difficulties in living the life of a mature adult and his tormented relationship with his father, who has no understanding of his son’s lifestyle or lack of responsibility.

Gabriel’s brilliant work made the audience feel embarrassed and affected by the situation of the main character, as well as outraged and amused by his father. The result is tragicomic.

The smart dialogues and great performances of the actors make „Claire and Michel“ really worth watching. Gabriel Doré is a gifted writer-director and you should check his amazing work:

https://www.claireetmicheltv.com/

2 Aliens

Country: Germany | Genre: Animation/Sci-Fi/Comedy | Creator: Thomas Zeug

One of this year surprises, was „2 Aliens“, a hilarious animation series about, you guessed, two Aliens. Quiqueck and Hämat’s mission is to orbit around the earth to observe humanity.

The episode that was presented at die Seriale was about the rebellion of robots and all kind of household appliances against the two clumsy aliens.

There are indubitable references to classics of science fiction, such as „2001: A Space Odyssey“ and „Alien“.

The whole theatre was laughing and I felt remembered of the priceless humor of TubeHeads.

Both web series creators are German, which objects to the persistent stereotype of humorless Germans.

You can check Thomas Zeug’s work on his YouTube channel.

Bruce

Country: Australia | Genre: Black Comedy/History | Creators: Warwick Holt, Mat Blackwell, Tony Rogers

Australia has shown that it’s very strong and far ahead when it comes to the professional production of web series.

„Bruce“ is no exception to that rule as well as it reflects the Australian art of not taking oneself too seriously.

In the 18th century, Bruce wants to follow the woman he loves, Daisy, to the new land of Australia on the First Fleet by getting arrested. Instead of coming near to his soulmate, he’s trapped in a violent prison camp at the edge of the world.

„Bruce“ shows no mercy to our enlightenment. It’s a sort of an Australian version of the Monty Python and has ruled the world of web series festival for a while now.

http://brucetheseries.com/

Ebersberg 

Country: Germany | Genre: Horror/Supernatural | Creator: Manuel Weiss

After the inexplicable death of a woman, inspector Moser has the task of taking care of a teenage girl, found on the crime scene in a mysterious state. The girl is only able to talk about a woman from the forest. Thinking she’s imprisoned in her fantasy after such a shock, the skeptical investigator decides to examine the camera which testifies the recent death of her father.

One remarkable aspect of this series is the performances of the actors. It’s not easy to play well in a traditional drama, but I think horror is even more difficult since it can become ridiculous very easily.

The execution is all the more important and regarding this aspect, the team of „Ebersberg“ did a good job.

Watch Ebersberg on Amazon Prime

God is Coming

Country: Germany | Genre: Animation | Creator: Stefan Vogt

You don’t need to understand German to appreciate this special composition as it is completely without any dialogues. „God is Coming“ tells the story of a pastor who tries to attract the villagers to mass. The poesy of the series is genuinely expressed through minimalistic and powerful draw lines and a vivid sound.

www.gott-kommt.de

High Life

Country: Australia | Genre: Drama, Comedy | Creators: Luke Eve, Glen Dolman

Another great Australian web series which lacks no humor!

The web series portrays a teenage girl going from a middle-class family who is brutally going through a personal crisis in the middle during classes at school.  She’s imaging her teacher having an affair with one of her classmates, shows then a complete stranger her bosom at her home and has a nervous breakdown at her father’s company.  Her burst of paranoia and over excitement seem to have a logical explanation: It appears that she’s experiencing her first manic episode of bipolar disorder.

„High Life“ has an excellent cast, is beautifully made, gripping and hilariously written. A must watch!

http://www.highlifeseries.com/

I’m Ander

Country: Argentina | Genre: Comedy | Creator: Gisela Benenzon

Kiki Vega, a successful and narcissistic prime time actress, enters a state of crisis after her contract isn’t renewed for the next season. She seeks new challenges and begins to study theater, get out of her comfort zone and explore new horizons. She finally decides to obtain the main role in the new film by famous director Wes Anderson, who’s going to shoot in Argentina.

„I’m Ander“ is another hilarious series about personal crisis and self-doubts. It mocks the world of traditional television and shows proudly its Argentinian roots.

MH

Country: France | Genre: Comedy/Social Satire | Creator: Amandine Hervé-Pouchet

Marie-Hélène (MH), is 34-year-old and single. She longs for love and adventure.

The episode we had the honor of watching at die Seriale describes MH going to a dating event. MH is shy and doesn’t seem to be accepted by the exclusive club of desperate women, who organized the event. One after the other, some men dare to adventure themselves in this feminine world, bragging about their masculinity.

Amandine Hervé-Pouchet has produced almost, if not everything by herself, and the result is stunning. There aren’t any dialogues and she chose stop-motion to illustrate her story. All I can say is: I have rarely seen such a hilarious series and I’ve laughed hysterically during the entire episode. And I wasn’t the only one. So watch what’s Amandine is going to do next, because she’s astonishing.

Check MH on Amandine’s YouTube Channel

Her work should be presented on Seeka TV

Mona Lisa Cowboy

Country: USA | Genre: Dramatic Comedy | Creator: Atsushi Ogata

The Japanese-American Creator Atsushi Ogata invented the figure of „Yukata Cowboy“ to make fun of his situation as an expatriate who hasn’t one home country, but several. „Mona Lisa Cowboy“ tells the story behind it, as Yukata Cowboy spend a while in Paris. It stars the Chinese-French actress Xin Wang from the hit series EX-MODEL.

Every person who’s known at least once how it feels to be „torn“ between two or more cultures, can relate to creator Atsushi Ogata. Smart YouTube clips once you’ve overcome the essential Freudian YouTube phases.

Atsushi Ogata’s YouTube Channel

The Man For Your Sins

Country: Germany| Genre: Comedy | Creator: Joachim Jung

Wolfgang, a priest, who’s lost his parish, listens to the confessions of sinners in a container in the heart of Berlin. He seems to be able to help everybody, except himself.

One more German web series gem I’ve discovered at die Seriale. In this series, you notice how a good cinematography and acting serve a story. Because“The Man For Your Sins“ isn’t only well composed, but caustic and amusing as well.

Der Mann für die Sünde, YouTube Channel

This is Desmondo Ray!

Country: Australia | Genre: Comedy/Drama | Creator: Steve Baker

Australia again! „Desmondo Ray“ tells the story of a very, very peculiar man, looking for love in a dark and troubling world.

Creator Steve Baker has made a bold choice since he’s mixed film material with animation. And the result isn’t only elegant, but hilarious and poetic as well.

„Desmondo Ray“ in the on the top of the World Series World Cup at the moment and was by far one the audience’s favorites.

https://www.thisisdesmondoray.com/

Night Patrol

Country: France | Genre: Thriller/Crime | Creators: Hob and Marthi

In „Night Patrol“ the Challenger and the Captain have to team up, despite their mutual animosity, to catch the Boss, an evil criminal ruling the world of Blast City.

The French creators, Hob and Marthi, have created a universe close to the comic style. Their series, „Challenger“, reminds of the storytelling style of „Sin City“.

Hob and Marthi have a further project in mind. To be continued…

Check their YouTube Channel, La Bande à Pixel they share with a few other friends.

Kynnstlah – a series of artist portraits

Country: Germany/USA | Genre: Documentary | Creator: Sandra Bertalanffy

„Kynnstlah“ is a documentary series about artists, both visual and performing.

Each artist is portrayed in her/his work environment and interviewed about her/his work. The series aims to capture the act of creation and inspires the audience with the beauty of art.

It’s beautifully made by Sandra Bertalanffy, who created, directed and produced the series, as well as Joel Fendelman, who co-directed, co-produced, edited and took care of the cinematography.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Sandra at die Seriale. The entire interview is available below:

Interview with Sandra Bertalanffy

You can also watch their beautiful trailer at https://vimeo.com/kynnstlah

I’ve heard good things about other web series that were presented as well.  You can find all series which were screened HERE.

And all the award winners HERE.

It was a pleasure being there and I hope you’ll feel inspired to visit this awesome web series festival next year.

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