Keshet International, the global distribution arm of Israeli content powerhouse Keshet, has announced that it will launch international sales at Mipcom of “Autonomies,” a dystopian Israeli drama set in an alternate-reality Jewish state.
The show, which premiered to critical acclaim on HOT cable in Israel in early September, centers on a new kind of two-state solution, one in which Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jews have seceded from secular Israel and created their own sub-nation, The Autonomy, which is sealed off from the rest of the country. Tensions are ignited over a custody battle for a young girl who was raised in the secular state but is being claimed by a prominent ultra-Orthodox Jewish couple across the border.
Simultaneously, Keshet is also in the early planning stages of an English-language adaptation of the format, set in the United States and using America’s own blue state-red state divide as a substitute for the original Israeli plot.
“The show really moves between the micro and the macro, and that’s what I like about it,” said Keren Shahar, KI’s chief operating officer and president of distribution. “It can resonate with audiences around the world, both as it is and as an adaptation, and you can really apply it to the most burning [societal] issues in almost any territory.”
“Autonomies” is being aired in Israel on premier cable channel HOT3, and is one of the channel’s most successful dramas ever. Ynet, the online portal of major Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, described the show as “Ultra-Orthodox society meets ‘Black Mirror,’” and Haaretz called it “an original, impressive and fascinating dystopian drama.”
A sale to the U.S. is a top priority for Keshet, said Shahar, who is also focusing on Italy, France, Scandinavia and the U.K. “Autonomies” played in competition at Series Mania this April.
“Autonomies” joins a packed Keshet slate at Mipcom that also includes “Stockholm,” the darkly comedic series about a leading contender for the Nobel Prize in economics who is found dead five days before the winners are announced. “Stockholm” premiered to critical raves at the Toronto International Film Festival last month and was the first ever Israeli drama to be put on the schedule there.
In the realm of entertainment formats, KI has high hopes for “Aviv/Eyal,” a singing contest played out against the backdrop of the rivalry between the nation’s two most popular performers. On the non-scripted side, expect a number of formats supported by Greenbird Media, the British production company incubator in which KI recently acquired a majority stake, including the music game show “Playlisters.”