Updated: Sep 22, 2020
Series Mania turns 10 this year and has unveiled their 2019 line-up yesterday. Not only is it a diverse one, but some Asia TV shows made the cut too. Which ones though?
Series Mania held a press conference in both Lille and Paris on February 20, announcing the lineup of TV shows, jury members, distinguished guests of honor and details for the festival. This year’s festival also promises to be a star-studded event with appearances by Uma Thurman, Freddie Highmore, Charlie Brooker and more. Additional information will be released in the coming days, but so far, it’s already looking to be a festival to look forward to.
Two Asian shows were selected for the International Panorama category. To make the cut, one of the key criteria is, the shows had to be released preferably less than 6 months in their home country or region. The first is Eric Khoo’s “Folklore”, a 6-part horror anthology, with stories from Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. The episodes were filmed in their local language, which gave its authenticity. Eric Khoo is Singapore’s award winning Director, well known for "Mee Pok Man", "12 Storeys", "Be With Me" and “Tatsumi”.
In the HBO Asia Original, Eric also works with Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (Thailand),Takumi Saitoh (Japan), Lee Sang Woo (Korea), Ho Yuhang (Malaysia) and Joko Anwar (Indonesia). The series is available on HBO platforms and a second season is currently in the works.
The second featured series is Seo Jae Won & Kwon So Ra’s “The Guest”. For those who are familiar with South Korean TV, this is an OCN original produced by Studio Dragon. The story revolves around exorcism and shamanism, about a young psychic who uses his gift to help the possessed and ultimately, against the demon behind it all.
It’s interesting to see that horror and mystery are the common themes for the Asia representatives. Together with the trend from zombie Netflix Original, “Kingdom", perhaps the Asian twist gave a more authentic feel? Plus, such stories provide a window to understand Asian cultures via taboo topics not frequently discussed. Regardless, Series Mania is just the first step to Asian story-telling traveling worldwide. More coming soon, or as we say in Singapore, “akan datang”.