Two new ultra-Orthodox Israeli TV series begin production

Israel’s Ananey Studios is partnering with A+E Studios on the supernatural thriller 'The Malevolent Bride' and filmmaker Aleeza Chanowitz will star in her own show 'Chanshi.'

 ‘SHTISEL’ AND ‘My Unorthodox Life’ couldn’t be farther apart. (photo credit: NETFLIX)
‘SHTISEL’ AND ‘My Unorthodox Life’ couldn’t be farther apart.
(photo credit: NETFLIX)

After Shtisel entranced audiences around the world, two very different new series also set in the ultra-Orthodox community are starting to film in Israel. Israel’s Ananey Studios is partnering with the global media company A+E Studios on a supernatural thriller called The Malevolent Bride, with Tom Avni of Valley of Tears and Image of Victory, and Lioz Levi, one of the stars of Magpie.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) describes the eight-part series as being about the hunt for a vengeful spirit terrorizing an unsuspecting Hassidic community in present-day Jerusalem. Levi will play a Hassidic psychologist and Avni portrays a secular physicist who join forces to fight the spirit. Other members of the cast include Maya Wertheimer (Shababnikim), Hisham Suliman (Fauda), Dar Zuzovsky (The Greenhouse), Esti Zakheim (The Commune), Shai Avivi (One Week and a Day, Here We Are), Lir Katz (Shababnikim), Adi Gilat (The Arbitrator) and Elisha Banai (Image of Victory, Honeymood).

The series was created, written and executive produced by Noah Stollman, a co-creator of Our Boys and the head writer on Fauda; Avigail Ben-Dor Niv and Oded Davidoff, who also serves as the director. Orly-Atlas Katz and Osnat Saraga serve as executive producers for Ananey Studios, and Barry Jossen and Tana Jamieson serve as executive producers for A+E Studios. The series will air on Kan 11 later this year and A+E Studios will distribute it internationally.

 Sam Spiegel Film School (credit: Courtesy) Sam Spiegel Film School (credit: Courtesy)

Aleeza Chanowitz, a Brooklyn-born graduate of the Sam Spiegel School for Film and Television, Jerusalem – whose very funny short films Mushkie and Shabbos Kallah have delighted audiences at film festivals – created a series called Chanshi. It is being produced by the Israeli network Hot 3, and will begin filming soon. It tells the story of a young woman from a Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox family who takes off for Israel just before her wedding. Once in Israel, she runs wild, but cannot quite manage to shake all her ties to her former life. Chanowitz, who acted in her own films and the television series Dismissed, will play the lead.

Among those with supporting roles are former MK and special-needs activist Stav Shaffir, and reality-TV star Lihi Griner.