CANNES — Omri Givron, co-creator of famed Israeli series “Hostages,” proved the big winner at the first Canneseries festival taking Best Series for the fast paced Israel/Colombia-set drama-thriller “When Heroes Fly,” which he created, wrote and directed.

Produced by Eitan Mansuri’s Spiro Films (“Foxtrot” and “Lebanon”), “When Heroes Fly” is sold by Keshet Intl. It turns on a former 2006 Lebanon war combatant who reunites with his estranged commando unit comrades to rescue the love of his life, abducted by a cartel in Colombia, and who’s disappearance, exacerbating the impact gov his war experience, has reduced her to a guilt ridden psychiatric case, .

Kicking off with an impactful portrayal of an ambush in the Lebanon war in its first episode, seen at Cannes, “When Heroes Fly” looks set to develop into a series on the trauma and loss violence wreaks an a once close-knit group of friends.

Beyond “When Heroes Fly” the other big winners at Canneseries were Norway’s “State of Happiness” and “The Hunter.”

Francesco Montanari won best performance for “The Hunter,” one of two Beta Film-sold movies in competition, with “The Typist.” In “The Hunter,” he plays a driven Palermo prosecutor, responsible in true-life the arrest of dozens of Mafiosi. Typically for a modern drama series, his character is eminently nuanced, as ambitious as honest in his exposé of his boss’ corruption in Ep. 1, and a man who cares more about his work than his lovely wife.

Norwegian Mette M. Bølstad (“Nobel”), one of Scandinavia’s emerging screenwriters,  won best screenplay for “State of Happiness.” produced by Maipo Film (“Elling”), set from 1969 in hidebound fishing port Stavengan, and backed by Norwegian pubcaster NRK. The award went to a retro ensemble drama which, like Denmark’s “Something’s Rockin’,” targets a wide audience as it attempts to relate the wrenching modernization of Norway through the love lives of two young women who are liberated by Norway’s oil boom.

“State of Happiness” also took best music (Jan Inge “Ginge” Anvik), an award included in Canneseries’ first list of plaudits to emphasize the importance of score and sound in modern series, said Albin Lewi, Canneseries artistic director.

The Best Digital Series plaudit went to “Dominos,” a well-received five-part web series from young Montreal writer-director Zoe Pelchat about two brothers in a tough ‘burb of Montreal struggling to adapt after their mother’s sudden death. It was aired on Canada’s TV5, signaling Pelchat as a talent to track,

The male ensemble cast of “Miguel” scooped the Special Performance Prize for their performance in a series about a gay man’s crusade to adopt a child. “Miguel” is written by Daphna Levin, a writer on the “In Treatment” and “Euphoria” Israeli originals, and produced by David Mandil’s Movie Plus Productions, whose credits include Richard Gere-starrer “Norman,” Natalie Portman’s “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” and “Footnote,” Joseph Cedar’s 2015 Cannes best screenplay winner.



“When Heroes Fly,” (Omri Givon, Israel)


Mette M. Bølstad, (“State of Happiness,”Norway)


Francesco Montanari “The Hunter,” (Marcello Izzo, Silvia Ebreul, Stefano Lodovichi, Fabio Paladini and Marzio Paoltroni, Italy)


Ran Danker, Raul Mendez, Aviv Carmi, Omer Ben David, Miguelito Sojuel,  “Miguel,” (Tom Salama, Daphna Levin, Israel)·


Jan Inge “Ginge” Anvik (“State of Happiness”)


“Dominos,” (Zoe Pelchat, Canada )