Red Rainbow, a period drama from Russia about homosexual activists in the 1970s, has won this year’s best project award from television festival Series Mania.
The project, inspired by a true story, follows the series of mistakes and misunderstandings that led Russian officials to invite three young, gay and devotedly socialist activists from West Berlin to Moscow in 1979. Robbie, Stef and Arlene are delighted to be visiting their communist utopia, unaware that homosexuality is illegal in the USSR. Their Russian translator Larissa is charged with hiding the truth, both from the visitors and their hosts. Things are complicated when Robbie meets and falls in love with Maxim, a closeted gay man who is being blackmailed by the KGB to act as an informant on homosexuals.
The Series Mania best project award comes with a €50,000 ($59,000) check for producers Alexander Rodnyansky of AR Content/Non-Stop Production and writer Matt Jones to develop the concept into an 8-part TV series.
“We were incredibly impressed with all of the pitches, yet it was the strong story and LGBTQIA+ elements of Red Rainbow that helped us to reach a unanimous decision,” said Polly Williams, professional jury president of Series Mania. “The pitch was very original and at the heart of the story was a warmth. This is a narrative that is still very relevant today and a story that definitely needs to be told.”
Red Rainbow won out over the 15 projects selected and pitched on the first day of the Series Mania Forum, the industry arm of the Series Mania Festival. The leading European television festival runs through Sept. 2 in Lille, France. Series Mania’s Co-Pro Pitching sessions feature new projects searching for financial backers. Since its inception in 2013, series such as Hulu’s The Head and No Man’s Land and Sky’s Devils had their origin in Series Mania’s Co-Pro pitches.