‘Rehearsals’ wins big at TV awards, but cannot escape controversy

‘Manayek’ tops internationally syndicated ‘Tehran’ and ‘Valley of Tears’ for Best Drama.

CINEMA CITY in Jerusalem. Will it once again be filled with movie-goers? (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
CINEMA CITY in Jerusalem. Will it once again be filled with movie-goers?
(photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
In a ceremony at Cinema City in Glilot on Sunday afternoon, the Israeli Academy for Film and Television announced the winners of its 2020 television awards, which have gained significance in recent years as Israeli television shows have become the country’s hottest exports. Actor Yaniv Biton (Tel Aviv on Fire) hosted the ceremony, which was held according to the Green Tag rules, including social distancing.
The ceremony will be broadcast on Sunday night at 9 p.m. on KAN.
It has not been an easy year for the television industry, as many productions came to a halt when the pandemic started; nor has it been free from controversy, and the winners will likely generate further controversy.
The biggest controversy concerns the win of Erez Drigues in the Best Screenplay category for the comedy Rehearsals – the series he created and stars in – since it came out during the past year that he had sexually harassed a number of women, mainly via text messages. It was the story of the year in the Israeli entertainment industry and Drigues was interviewed extensively talking about his regrets over the harassment and announced that he would not attend the ceremony. Several of the women he harassed were interviewed on various news outlets talking about how the fact that he was nominated upset them. The series, which was co-created by and which stars Drigues’ friend, Noa Koler, and Academy president Assaf Amir, was the big winner, with eight prizes altogether. It tells the story of a theatrical couple who have broken up but who have to work together. Rehearsals won the award for Best Comedy-Drama series, as well as the Best Actress in a Comedy Series award for Koler and supporting actor and actress prizes in a comedy for Agam Rudberg and Itay Turgeman. Koler, who did attend and who shared the screenplay award with Drigues, accepted the award for both of them. Although she was not uncritical of his behavior, she has spoken in support of her co-writer and co-star throughout the year. Turgeman also thanked Drigues in his speech. Accepting the award for Best Comedy Drama Series, Amir said that Israeli society still had a long way to go.
The award for Best Sitcom went to Checkout, which is set in a supermarket. Lead actor in a comedy series went to Assi Cohen for Significant Other.
Best Daily Series went to Charlie Golf One, the series about combat medics that was remade in the US.
While certain new series, among them the spy drama Tehran, the Yom Kippur War series Valley of Tears and the psychological thriller Losing Alice have been shown around the world on streaming services, the winner in the drama series category, Manayek, a gritty police procedural about corruption, has so far not crossed over to the international market. Shalom Assayag, the hero of the series, won Best Actor in a Drama Series, while Amos Tamam won Best Supporting Actor for the series.
Best Actress in a Drama Series went to Niv Sultan for Tehran. Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series went to Miki Kam for Shtisel. The many fans of Shtisel all over the world, many of whom watch the series on Netflix, might be puzzled as to why it did not win more awards.
The award for Best Documentary Series went to Lebanon Blood Borders. The fact-based show award went to Excuse the Question in Arabic.
Prizes were given in 45 categories and the big winner in terms of studios was KAN, the government broadcasting service, which created both Rehearsals and Manayek.