London-based FremantleMedia is on board to co-develop, co-produce and handle global distribution on “Fertile Crescent,” an ambitious drama set in the Middle East which is being created by the talent behind “False Flag,” Maria Feldman.
Spiro Films’s Eitan Mansuri, the producer of “When Heroes Fly,” is lead-producing “Fertile Crescent” with Haut et Court TV, the French outfit behind “The Young Pope,” “The Last Panthers” and the original “The Returned.” On top of creating and co-writing the series, Feldman is also co-producing via her banner Masha Productions. Amit Cohen, who co-created “False Flag” with Feldman, is co-writing “Fertile Crescent.”
Christian Vesper, FremantleMedia’s executive vice president and creative director at FremantleMedia’s drama team, will serve as executive producer on “Fertile Crescent.” Vesper said FremantleMedia started tracking “Fertile Crescent” after discovering it last year at Series Mania where it won the best project award.
Vesper had previously collaborated with “Haut et Court” when he worked at Sundance Channel which had acquired “The Returned.”
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“Fertile Crescent” centers on a seemingly picture-perfect French family shattered by the death of their estranged daughter in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Years after her tragic death, Antoine, her younger brother, is convinced he saw her in a TV program showing footage of female Kurdish fighters and sets off to find her in the Middle Eastern crescent-shaped region.
Vesper said the first episode of the series has now been fully developed and FremantleMedia is now starting to talk to potential partners.
“‘Fertile Crescent’ gives us a look at what is going on Syria and the Middle East through a very human story and strong, relatable characters; and it’s also showing the unique world of Kurdish fighters,” said Vesper.
“It’s a layered, exciting material that is made for compulsive watching,” added the executive, who pointed out that FremantleMedia acquired two years ago the Israeli production company Abot Hameiri which is currently developing a slate of premium drama.
“Fertile Crescent” will mark the second drama series produced by Mansuri at Spiro Films, following Omri Givon’s “When Heroes Fly” which world premiered in competition at Canneseries and earned critical acclaim.
“When Heroes Fly” (sold by Keshet International) is based on Amir Gutfreund’s book and follows four friends who reunite for one finale mission more than a decade after their traumatic experience fighting the Second Lebanon War.
Based in Jerusalem, Spiro Films has been producing several high-profile Israeli films, such as Samuel Maoz’s “Foxtrot” and Hagar Ben-Asher’s “The Bulgar.” The company’s slate includes Nimrod Eldar’s “The Day After I’m Gone,” a drama that had won the inaugural Sam Spiegel Alumni Fund for First Feature in 2015 and won the Work in Progress award at Sarajevo; and Yuval Adler’s espionage thriller “The Operative” which will star Diane Kruger and Eric Bana.