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Media Releases  5 Oct 2021

Series Mania returns to Melbourne this year, with the four-day television event delivered free and online through a partnership between Film Victoria and ACMI. Today, the online festival revealed a world-class lineup of speakers as part of Screen Industry Day on 14 October.

The jam-packed program of talks and masterclasses has been designed to inspire and connect local screen industry practitioners with some of the best creators of our time including Tony Ayres (Clickbait), Craig Mazin (Chernobyl), Sierra Teller Ornelas (Rutherford Falls), Prentice Penny (INSECURE), Lucy Prebble (Succession), and Joanna Werner (The Newsreader).

Prolific showrunner, executive producer and director – Prentice Penny (INSECURE, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Scrubs), kicks off the festival in conversation with award-winning actor Miranda Tapsell. Penny will join the audience from the edit suite of HBO’s hit award-winning comedy INSECURE, just weeks before the highly anticipated fifth and final season drops on Binge. 

Tapsell will also be joined by Navajo and American showrunner Sierra Teller Ornelas – best known for her work on Rutherford Falls, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Splitting Up Together and Superstore. Ornelas is one of only two First Nations showrunners in the United States and a graduate of the Walt Disney Television Writing Program.

Craig Mazin, creator of the award-winning miniseries Chernobyl and host of the indispensable Scriptnotes podcast will dive into what it takes to make television based on true events, and Series Mania’s Creative Director Francois-Pier Pelinard Lambert will deliver his much-anticipated snapshot of fiction trends and formats.

International guests also include popular playwright and screenwriter Lucy Prebble known for her work on Succession, I Hate Suzie and Secret Diary of a Call Girl in conversation with Benjamin Law.

Festival attendees will hear from the local creators behind the suite of successful Victorian-made television series that have recently hit our screens including Clickbait, The Newsreader and Fires.

Tony Ayres, Debbie Lee, Sally Riley and Belinda Chayko will tackle the one of the most pressing question facing Australia’s television industry – is our development process good enough? Or, do we need to do things differently to be competitive in the globalised commissioning environment.

Exclusively for Series Mania Melbourne’s Screen Industry Day, Werner Film Productions will share a first look at their teen surfing drama Surviving Summer which has been commission by Netflix. Series Creators Joanna Werner and Josh Maplestone with Director Ben Chessel will share a work-in-progress of the young adult drama that shot under COVID-Safety protocols across Victoria’s Great Ocean Road earlier this year.

Today’s announcement follows last week’s unveiling of a public program of premiere screenings, giving TV fans a first look at some of the most anticipated series from around the world.

The free screenings program runs from 14 – 17 October, kicking off with the first two episodes of the highly anticipated second season of political drama Total Control, starring the multi award-winning Deborah Mailman and Rachel Griffiths. Other highlights from the public screenings program including Hellbound (South Korea), L’Opera (France) and Nakkiah Lui and Gabriel Dowrick’s brand-new comedy series Preppers.


Tickets to all events, including the 2021 Screen Industry Day and public screenings are free and available now. To register for free, visit

Streaming numbers for the public screenings program via ACMI’s Cinema 3 are limited, and bookings are essential. To access visit