A first trailer was released for the upcoming television series The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, a multi-generational saga full of passion and tragedy about a Sephardi family in Jerusalem, spanning the Ottoman Empire-era to the British Mandate period and the War of Independence. It is based on the bestselling novel by Sarit Yishai-Levi and stars a who’s who of Israel’s leading actors, including Michael Aloni (Shtisel), Hila Saada (The Baker & The Beauty), Itzik Cohen (Fauda), Yuval Scharf (McMafia) and Mali Levi (The Angel). The series introduces Swell Ariel Or, who plays Luna Ermosa, the beauty queen of the title.
The trailer shows the lavish production values of the series, with meticulously detailed period sets and costumes and plenty of love, longing and action. Incongruously, it is set to a cover of the Simon and Garfunkel song “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.”
The epic series is scheduled to launch on Yes TV in Israel in early summer.
Filming took place during the pandemic and the production closely followed COVID-19 protocols. The series was shot throughout the country in locations in Jerusalem, Safed and other cities.
It was created and will be distributed by Yes Studios, the Tel Aviv-based producer and distributor behind Fauda, Your Honor and Shtisel, and was produced by Dafna Prenner and Shai Eines from Artza Productions. Its creators are Shlomo Mashiach, Ester Namdar Tamam and Oded Davidoff, and was written by Mashiach (Your Honor) and directed by Davidoff (Someone to Run With).
Filmed in Hebrew, English, Ladino, Turkish and Arabic, the series represents the broadcaster’s largest financial investment to date and is one of the most expensive television productions ever made in Israel. Yes TV has already commissioned two seasons.
Danna Stern, managing partner of Yes Studios said, “There is a first time for everything and The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem is our first foray into costume drama; lush, colorful, romantic and historic. It’s a great combination as we’re all looking for a little escape to another time and place.”
Dafna Prenner, the co-CEO of Artza Productions called it “A period drama about issues that are as relevant as ever today, a family tale of different generations that keep on making the same mistakes and a love story about the absence of love. The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem is a story that Shai and I found impossible to resist. Combined with the amazing talent of creators Shlomo Messiah, Ester Namdar Tamam and Oded Davidof and shooting in the age of COVID, this has been an experience we will never forget.”
Artza Productions is an Israeli production house managed by partners Shai Eines and Prenner, who have substantial television development and production experience. It has produced a number of successful shows and feature films, including Who Died?, Stockholm and Kicking Out Shoshana. The company produces shows in all genres, with a focus on original scripted and non-scripted formats as well as documentaries.
Yes Studios is a boutique content sales, distribution, development and production company based in Israel, specializing in high-end scripted series. It is fully owned by Yes TV, a multi-channel platform and the producer and distributor of many internationally acclaimed series. Yes Studios’ On the Spectrum is available on HBO Max and a US adaptation is in production for Amazon, executive produced by Jason Katims. The award-winning Your Honor was remade in a US version starring Bryan Cranston, and other versions of the series are being produced in several other countries.