The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film & Television School is partnering with Netflix and VIS Social Impact, ViacomCBS International Studios’ new cause-driven production division, to launch a television series lab.
JSFS has been running the prestigious Jerusalem International Film Lab for a decade, which helps Israeli and international directors and screenwriters develop feature films, and has yielded dozens of prize-winning movies, including the Oscar-winning Son of Saul by László Nemes.
The Series Lab will be based on the Film Lab model and will provide support, mentoring and instruction for creators based in Israel by bringing them together with leading industry professionals, including Series Lab artistic advisor Hagai Levi (Scenes from a Marriage, In Treatment and Our Boys).
The Series Lab is open to writers and producers who have demonstrated extraordinary potential and is not limited to those who have attended Sam Spiegel Film School. Diversity will be at the heart of the program and those whose first language is Arabic, Amharic, Russian, Yiddish or Hebrew are all strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants with projects originally written in these languages are eligible.
Participants will be mentored by top industry professionals, including Daphna Levin (Euphoria, Fifty and In Treatment) and Noah Stollman (Our Boys and Someone to Run With).
As part of the program, one exceptional project will receive the Netflix Series Development Award, which will provide a grant to allow series writers and developers to focus on developing their project. Through Grow Creative, Netflix’s flagship global training and development program, producer and screenwriter Jill Condon (Friends) will lead workshops on script development and mentor the participants. As well, Netflix will cover the fees for all participants.
The Series Lab will take place in Jerusalem and feature an international closing event, where projects will be screened to key industry players.
VIS Social Impact, focused on content that addresses climate, equity and health will also support the funding of the Lab program. VIS Social Impact is part of Content for Change, ViacomCBS’ global initiative that aims to counteract racism, bias, stereotypes, and hate on and off-screen.
“As the leading film school in Israel, we are proud to continue creating opportunities for young Israeli creators making their way in the film and television industry. The launch of this Series Lab is a natural offshoot of our far-reaching and in-depth educational process,” said the Spiegel school’s executive director, Dana Blankstein Cohen.
Larry Tanz, VP EMEA Scripted Series, Netflix said, “The Sam Spiegel Film & Television School has a strong track record of developing local creatives. We’re delighted to support the school’s inaugural Series Lab, which aims to help exceptional new voices tell authentic local stories that connect globally.”
Aurit Zamir, JSFL Labs director, added, “The JSFL Series Lab stems from the professional knowhow and experience acquired over the past 10 years of the successful JSFL International Film Lab. This new Series Lab was developed with the aim of supporting promising wide-ranging voices from Israel, with the belief that local stories have an appeal despite differences of language and culture.”