You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Adi Ezroni and Mandy Tagger-Brockey Head Up Keshet With ‘Family-Like Culture’

It was a meet-cute for the businesswomen set: Adi Ezroni, the Israeli actress and producer, had just returned from a grueling shoot in Cambodia, struggling to finish filming “Holly,” a drama about the sex trafficking of a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl in Phnom Penh. Mandy Tagger-Brockey, an American producer, was wrapping up several years at indie production house InDigEnt, which was set to be shuttered, when a boyfriend who was looking to potentially invest in “Holly” brought her to a screening of the film.

The two women, who both have lives that straddle Israel and the United States and share a passion for authentic, intensely creative storytelling, say they just clicked. They met up a few months later at Sundance and realized they were at the the start of a beautiful work romance.

That was 2007. By 2009, Ezroni and Tagger-Brockey had formed Spring Pictures, a New York-based banner whose “Saturday Church” was named a New York Times Critics’ Pick in 2018. And last year, as Keshet plowed further into the U.S. entertainment market, Ezroni and Tagger-Brockey were selected, as a duo, to head up Keshet Films, the company’s newest development and production division.

Ezroni was born in Israel but spent a chunk of her formative years in in the United States. And while she was practicing her English, Tagger-Brockey, who was born in the United States but lived in Israel from age 10 to 20, was perfecting her Hebrew. Both share a distinctly global viewpoint and a hardline commitment to shining light on the small, important stories — qualities that make them ideal embodiments of the Keshet philosophy.

“The only thing we had, when we were brought to [Keshet Intl.], was characters,” says Ezroni. “It was all we had — the ability to tell an engaging character story. That’s in our DNA. And now we have the ability to go beyond that and combine that with things that are bigger.”

For any television behemoth, the move to add a film production and development arm was inherently risky. Tapping two women without any blockbuster successes under their belt raised the stakes even further. But Keshet has never been one to follow convention. In an era of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and searing conversations about the lack of female perspectives behind the camera and the sagging rate of female pay, Ezroni and Tagger-Brockey say that at Keshet, they found an atmosphere that was refreshingly gender-agnostic.

“A company’s success will always be limited if the only points of view you are bringing to the table are white men,” says Tagger-Brockey. “Avi [Nir] and Alon [Shtruzman] are not scared of women — they welcome them, and with that, they’ve seen success because they have different people bringing different points of view and that matters. It matters because of content.”

Israel is a remarkably family-friendly country. It was here that a woman held the nation’s highest government office in 1969; where both men and women enjoy paid family leave and where it’s not uncommon for a male CEO to duck out of work early to handle preschool pickup with nary a raised eyebrow from his staff. So perhaps that’s why Keshet’s and KI’s list of top execs skews staggeringly female: from Karni Ziv, Keshet’s head of drama; CFO Sigal Alboher, and to Keren Shahar, KI’s COO and president of distribution; Limor Gott Ronen, VP marketing and communications, and Rachel Kaplan, EVP scripted, Keshet Studios. Women sit on every critical board and weigh in on every fundamental content choice that the company makes.

It’s not a radical gender-based decision on the part of human resources, though, says Shahar. In fact, it’s so much a part of the Keshet mentality that it’s basically a non-issue.

“I definitely think that part of Keshet’s success is our very casual and family-like culture,” she says. “This is a place where a lot of us spend more time with each other than at home, so this becomes a home. And like any family, everyone here can and does voice their opinions. It doesn’t matter if it is to their direct manager or to the CEO. This is not a multi-layered company. Gender has nothing to do with our culture. All we care about is who you are as an individual, what values you bring and the work that you do toward achieving a common goal.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Yoji Yamada-directed film is to open

    Tokyo Market: Shochiku Launches Horror, Comedy and Mystery Lineup

    Major Japanese studio, Shochiku has the honor of leading off next week’s Tokyo International Film Festival with its “Tora-san, Wish You Were Here.” The film is a revival of a beloved in-house drama franchise, directed by veteran Yoji Yamada, that is set as the event’s opening night gala presentation. Before that, the company has the [...]

  • The Truth

    Singapore Festival to Focus on Asian Excellence for 30th Edition

    For its 30th edition the Singapore International Film Festival has avoided programming novelty and instead focused on assembling excellence – mostly indie titles — from Asia and further afield. The festival, which previously announced local filmmaker Anthony Chen’s second feature “Wet Season” as its opening night gala presentation, announced the balance of its programming on [...]

  • Isabela Moner Dora the Explorer

    Film News Roundup: Isabela Merced Boards Jason Momoa's 'Sweet Girl' for Netflix

    In today’s film news roundup, Isabela Merced get cast opposite Jason Momoa, “Starbright” gets financing and AFM announces its speakers. CASTING Isabela Merced, formerly Isabela Moner, has come on board to portray the daughter of Jason Momoa in his upcoming revenge thriller “Sweet Girl” for Netflix. Momoa will play a devastated man who vows to [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Seeks to Throw Out Gender Pay Gap Lawsuit

    The Walt Disney Co. is seeking to throw out a lawsuit alleging that women employees are paid less than men, arguing that the suit is too sprawling and unwieldy to handle as a class action. Andrus Anderson LLP filed the suit in April, alleging that Disney’s hiring and pay practices have a discriminatory effect on [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Christian Bale, Matt Damon to Campaign in Lead Actor Category for 'Ford v Ferrari'

    Christian Bale and Matt Damon will both campaign in the lead actor category for awards for their work in Fox’s upcoming “Ford v Ferrari,” Variety has learned. “Ford v Ferrari” follows an eccentric, determined team of American engineers and designers, led by automotive visionary Carroll Shelby (Damon) and his British driver, Ken Miles (Bale), who [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content