U.K. focus for French TV Rendezvous

Festival's third edition set in Aix-les-Bains

PARIS -- Small-screen scribes will be the main characters of the Scenaristes en Series (TV Series Rendezvous) festival, which kicked off its third edition in Aix-les-Bains on Friday.

The two-day event will bring public viewers and professionals together in the Southeastern lakeside town for a behind-the-scenes look at TV fiction production.

French networks TF1, France 2 and 3, Canal Plus and Arte will present their homegrown series for the 2008-09 season, with premiere screenings of Canal Plus' "Mafiosa," France 2's "Nicolas Le Floch," France 3's "Disparitions" and TF1's "Amis de Toujours."

The U.K. will be the country of honor as the BBC's Julie Gardner, Paul Schlesigner and Nicolas Brown will join ITV's Sita Wiliams, Channel 4's Robert Wulff-Cochrane, "Party Animals" screenwriter Ben Richards, "Skins" star Larissa Wilson and "Mistresses" co-creators Lowri Glain and SJ Clarkson to share their recent success stories.

"Skins," "Mistresses," "Life on Mars" and "Ashes to Ashes" will each screen for the first time in France.

French writer-director Isabelle Mergault, whose feature films "You Are So Beautiful" and "A Widow at Last" were boxoffice gold in Gaul, will preside over the festival.

A series of debates will include subjects including politics and fiction, short formats, soap operas, literary adaptations and writing for the new digital terrestrial television broadcasting platform.

A master class focusing on animated hit "Les Lascars," presentations by screenwriter-director Tonie Marshall and "Life on Mars" creator Matthew Graham plus a roundtable featuring the stars of the series "Palizzi" round out the festival's offerings.