PARIS — Fertile Crescent, one of the highest profile TV series projects unveiled at Series Mania’s Co-Production Forum in its scale and creative pedigree, has won the TV Festival’s Series Mania Project Award, its top industry plaudit.
The Series Mania Project Award carries an inaugural €50,000 ($53,000) cash prize for best project, which will go to the project’s development.
Punching a powerful producer pedigree, “Fertile Crescent” is produced by “False Flag’s” co-creator Maria Feldman at Tel Aviv’s Masha Productions, Eitan Mansuri’s Israel-based Spiro Films and Haut et Court TV, the French producer of “The Young Pope” and “The Last Panthers” and the producer of the original “The Returned.” Written by Feldman and French novelist Karine Tuil, (“Douce France,” “The Age of Reinvention”) from an original idea by Feldman and Mansuri, it represents a pioneering Israeli-France co-production and joins a building cannon of TV series from Europe – such as Kasper Barfoed’s “Below the Surface,” screening at Series Mania, and Dutch project “The Faction,” also pitched in Paris – that register in multifarious fashions the personal impact of terrorism, here via an interwoven spy thriller and family drama, turning on a Frenchman who think he sees his sister Nathalie, declared dead several years before after a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, on TV on a story on female Kurdish fighters, who are battling terrorist organization ISIS to protect their homeland.
Presenting the project on stage at the Co-production Forum, Haut et Court’s Caroline Benjo praised the series’ “strong complex characters true to the local setting and stories nevertheless reaching out internationally in an unexpected way.”
Feldman explained when pitching the project that ISIS members believe that they will no go to heaven if they are killed by a woman, which gives an especial power to female Kurdish soldiers.
“It’s timely political conversation and emotionally daring and unique narrative makes “Fertile Crescent” a very exciting winner this year. I know I speak for the whole jury in saying we are greatly looking forward to seeing this globally important series come to life,” stated Francesca Orsi, HBO co-head of drama, who served as president of the Co-production Forum jury. Further jury members took in Thomas Bourguignon, a producer at FremantleMedia-owned KWAI in France, Piv Bernth, head of drama at Denmark’s DR, the producer of “The Killing” and “Ride Upon the Storm”; Henrik Pabst, the managing director of Red Arrow International; and Pilar Perez Roel, head of acquisitions, DCD Rights, Spiro Films’ credits include 2015’s “Afterthought,” sold by The Match Factory.
Feldman is also the co-founder of Tender Productions, which has produced some of Israel’s most successful shows, notably “Prisoners of War” and “Fauda.”