Israeli television series continue their streak of international success as several blue-and-white shows took home major prizes at Series Mania, the prestigious international television competition held in Lille, France, which announced its winners Friday night.
yes Studios new series, Bloody Murray, took home the Best Series award and Fire Dance, also from yes Studios, won the Best Actor award for Yehuda Levi’s performance.
Bloody Murray is a nine-part romantic comedy headlined by Naomi Levov (On the Spectrum) and Rotem Sela (Beauty and the Baker). The series follows two 35-year-old roommates — a university lecturer and a gynecologist — as they look for love. The series was created and written by Stav Idisis and was directed by actor-turned-filmmaker Yogev Yefet. Meny Aviram and Ayelet Imberman at Kastina Communications are producers along with Yes TV. yes Studios will handle the series' international distribution.
Fire Dance is the first television show from acclaimed filmmaker, Rama Burshtein-Shai (Fill the Void, The Wedding Plan). Fire Dance is a coming-of-age story of a young, troubled woman, in a tight-knit ultra-Orthodox religious community. Faigie, 18, grew up in a broken home, without a father figure. She attaches her future happiness to Nathan, the 35-year-old married son of the leader of the ultra-orthodox community in which they both live. Following a failed suicide attempt, Faigie grows dangerously close to Nathan, who is expecting his first child with his wife and their forbidden passion ignites dangerous feelings.
The series is produced by Shira Margalit and Elad Kuperman at Kuma Studios, Adar Shafran, Tammy Cohen and yes TV. It stars Levi (Very Important Person, Yossi & Jagger), Noa Koler (The Wedding Plan, Checkout) as well as newcomer Mia Iwryn.
“We're thrilled to take home these two prestigious awards which mark a perfect ending to an exciting week for yes Studios at Series Mania. Both Bloody Murray and Fire Dance are already creating buzz in the international TV industry and we can't wait to introduce these shows to the international viewing audience,” said Sharon Levi, managing director of yes Studios, in a statement. “Congratulations to Stav Idisis on creating a fun and edgy comedy for viewers to enjoy and to Rama Burshtein-Shai for writing a unique and intriguing role for Yehuda Levi. This is definitely a well deserved win for him and his outstanding performance.”
Shira Haas, one of the stars of Shtisel, another series from Yes, was among the judges in the International Competition.
Paradys, a crime drama produced by Keshet International, which is part of the Israel-based Keshet Media Group, in collaboration with South Africa’s Quizzical Pictures, won the Series Mania Forum Best Project Award. The drama series was pitched at Series Mania by Quizzical producer Nimrod Geva and creator-writer Darrel Bristow-Bovey and it takes place in South Africa. It was also created by Anton Visser and executive produced by Avi Nir for Keshet International. It tells the story of two Black police detectives who investigate a murder in Paradys, the last all-white enclave in South Africa. This award was announced earlier in the week.
Israeli series have done well at Series Mania in the past few years, with His Honor and On the Spectrum winning the top prize in 2017 and 2018, respectively, while Just for Today took the Special Jury Prize in 2019. All three of these series were created by yes Studios. Following their Series Mania wins, His Honor was remade in the US as a Showtime/CBS Studios series starring Bryan Cranston and On the Spectrum was remade by Jason Katims (Parenthood) for Amazon Studios, with the title, As We See It. The trio of lead actors from The Echo of Your Voice from Kan 11 shared the Best Actor Award in 2021. Nine shows from only six countries took part this year in the International Competition.