Haut et Court TV, the Paris-based production company behind “The Last Panthers” and the original series “The Returned,” is tapping into Israel’s vibrant talent pool to partner on ambitious series, including “Possessions” and “Fertile Crescent,” which are both currently shooting.
“Fertile Crescent,” which just started lensing in Belgium with Melanie Thierry (“Memoir of War”), Félix Moati (“Sink or Swim”) and James Purefoy (“Rome”), was recently acquired by Hulu for the U.S. and Arte in France.
The show was created by Maria Feldman (“False Flag”), Eitan Mansuri (“When Heroes Fly”), Amit Cohen (“False Flag”) and Ron Leshem (“Euphoria”). Directed by Oded Ruskin (“False Flag”), the series centers on a seemingly picture-perfect French family shattered by the death of their estranged daughter in a suicide bombing in Cairo. 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 Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East.
The series is being produced with Versus Production and Fremantle.
The show “is truly a 50-50 French-Israeli collaboration,” said Haut et Court TV co-founder Caroline Benjo, who described the series as a blend of family drama and geopolitical thriller. “It brings together some of the most talented creatives from Israel and France….Having writers from both countries allows the story and characters to be depicted in the most organic way.”
Benjo added: “Culturally speaking, we have a lot to learn from each other. The Israelis are masters in scriptwriting, while we can give them the means to produce on a larger scale and access to top-notch casting and technicians.”
Feldman said that the Series Mania Festival played a crucial role in her forging ties with Haut et Court TV, which contacted her after “False Flag” won an award at the festival and aired on Canal Plus. “We had an instant connection both on a creative and human level,” said Feldman, adding that joining forces with well-connected producers like Benjo outside of Israel was key to finance ambitious series.
Haut et Court TV’s second French-Israeli series currently shooting is “Possessions,” the show created by Shachar Magen (“Sirens”) and directed by directed by Thomas Vincent, who was BAFTA-nominated for “Bodyguard.” Ordered by Canal Plus in France and YES TV in Israel, the series stars Reda Kateb as a French expat who comes to the rescue of a young woman living in Israel suspected of murdering her husband on their wedding night. “Possessions” is produced by Haut et Court TV, and co-produced by Eilon Ratzkovsky, Osnat Nishri and Keren Misgav at Quiddity.
Rolling off “Possessions, Haut et Court TV has recently signed a first look development deal with Quiddity.
Ratzkovsky has produced some of Israel’s most popular films, notably “The Band’s Visit” and “Zero Motivation” (co-produced with Haut et Court as their first collaboration), as well as Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz’s “Seven Days.” His TV series credits include “Sirens” and “Milk & Honey.”
Haut et Court TV has already started working on two projects as part of its partnership with Ratzkovsky and Nishri at Quiddity, including “My First Family,” written by Maya Zaydman, the filmmaker of “The Self Deception Artist,” and Ori Sivan, the co-creator of “In Therapy.”
The other project developed jointly by Haut et Court TV and Quiddity is “The Adults” with Giyora Yahalom, the creator of “The Gordin Cell.” Benjo said “those series will be financed out of Europe, whether it will shoot in French or in English”.
“On every project, the idea is to team Israeli auteurs with a French or European writer-filmmaker…to benefit from the powerful singularity of their stories while grounding them in non-Israeli environment,” said Benjo.
Haut et Court TV is also set to reteam with “Possessions” creator, Magen, on another show, and is exploring series projects to work on with Talia Kleinhendler and Osna Keren at Piefilms, with whom Haut et Court had co-produced Nadav Lapid’s “The Kindergarten Kitchen.”