Yes Studios has granted Variety exclusive access to the international trailer for the Sumayoko-produced series “On the Spectrum,” set to world premiere at Tribeca and Series Mania in the coming weeks.
Yes Studios is the new sales, distribution and production arm of Israeli multi-channel broadcaster Yes TV, where the series will broadcast. They are currently looking for international broadcasters or platforms for the series.
The series follows three close friends, each on the autistic spectrum. The 20-somethings share a sheltered apartment where they learn to cope with the larger world around them.
Ron is a computer genius who earned his degree online and prefers to work from home; Amit is a constantly-smiling creature of habit that visits the same café every day and eats round after round of chocolate croissants; and Zohar, perhaps the most social of the three, is constantly looking for love.
In the trailer, we meet the three, and get a small peek at the other people who orbit their insular world. It also hints at the heartbreak and humor that the series promises viewers.
“On the Spectrum” was created by writer Dana Idisis and director Yuval Shafferman. Idisis previously directed the documentary “Turning Thirteen,” which chronicled the bar mitzvah preparations for Guy, her younger autistic brother. Shafferman’s debut directorial feature “Things Behind the Sun” was nominated for seven awards from the Israeli Academy, and he has since worked as both a writer and director for a number of Israeli TV shows, such as “Uli and Ella.”
Making autism the primary focus of the series presented unique challenges, which Shafferman and Idisis acknowledge. “The basic challenge was finding the correct balance between being bold and being too careful, or hamstrung by politically correctness,” Shafferman explained. “We wanted a straightforward perspective, not a pitiful one that could seem patronizing.”
Beyond Idisis’ first-hand experience with the disorder, she did additional research when she first heard about a community of people with autism living on their own.
“The main idea came after I heard of a social project which prepares people on the spectrum to live in a neighborhood rather than a closed community of their own,” she said, “That is what the series based on.”
The series will world premiere Episode 1 on April 23 at Tribeca, and Episodes 2 and 3 at Series Mania on April 28.