After an opening-night celebration on June 22 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre — starring Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Sia performing a not-to-be-missed hour-long set and the premiere of BBC America’s new docuseries The Hunt — the action will move to the Sie FilmCenter. Thirty-four new shows, from both established and amateur creators, will compete for five awards — best pilot, actor, actress, director and writer — in both Drama and Comedy categories. This year’s pilots have some notable talents attached to them, including Brad Leland, Jane Lynch, Tim Matheson, Amber Nash, George R.R. Martin, Tahmoh Penikett, Missi Pyle, Maisie Williams and Michael K. Williams.
“We are excited to present a vibrant and diverse lineup of independent pilots at this year's festival,” says Randi Kleiner, CEO of SeriesFest. "As more and more independent filmmakers turn to episodic storytelling, and as the channels on which they are shown continue to evolve, we are proud to provide a platform to showcase and support these fresh and innovative works from around the world."
The entire lineup of pilots in competition can be previewed at seriesfest.com.
The pilots will be assessed by a prestigious panel of jurors from the entertainment industry. Here's the roster for Drama categories: Emma Tillinger Koskoff, president of production for Sikelia Productions, with Emmy awards and Oscar and Golden Globe nominations on her resume; popular actor and television royalty Jason Ritter (Gravity Falls, Parenthood); and producer Diana Williams, from the Lucasfilm Story Group.
The jury for the Comedy pilots includes Golden Globe Award-winning Actress Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City), Emmy-nominated actor Pablo Schreiber (Orange Is the New Black, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Weeds, The Wire); and the head of film programming at South by Southwest, Janet Pierson.
"We are proud to have such a creative and distinct group of talents comprise this year’s jury,” says Kaily Smith Westbrook, CCO of SeriesFest. “The six esteemed members — who join us from all corners of the entertainment industry, ranging from programming and producing to on-camera work — each bring a well-rounded perspective and superior level of expertise to the table as they look to award competition standouts and exemplary storytelling works."
SeriesFest attendees, who'll have a chance to see all the pilots as well as attend entertaining panels, also get to vote for the prestigious Audience Award for best potential series.
Leading up to the festival, the Sie is hosting Primetime Sundays, free events that look back at great television. This Sunday, May 15, features a special salute to creator Carlton Cuse (The Strain, Bates Motel, Lost, The Returned), and May 29 offers a special salute to Doctor Who, with a look at the best episodes and fan favorites from the fifty-year run of the British series.
Tickets, passes and VIP experiences for SeriesFest range from $15 for individual tickets to $275. See the whole lineup and get tickets at seriesfest.com.