Screenwriters Hagit Saad and Julie Anna Grignon first met at Series Mania in 2019 and return to this year’s event with a new series project, “In 1942,” backed by Mediawan company White Lion Films’ producer Noor Sadar.
Working remotely from Paris and Tel Aviv, the series’ creators are co-alumni of the UCG Writers Campus who have been in constant contact over the past two years. The pair were thrilled when Series Mania announced its French-Israeli Drama Series Co-Writing Residency, and jumped on the opportunity to team up.
“In 1942” is inspired by a serendipitous interaction between Hagit and her cosmetician, who shared the intimate story of her family’s history of survival dating back to WWII. Affected by the conversation and left with several lingering questions, Hagit teamed with Grignon to create the fictional story of “In 1942” hoping to take a more contemporary look at the long-term struggles of generations affected by the Holocaust, and the moral grey areas they were often forced to navigate just to survive.
Unspooling across the past 80 years, “In 1942” is a story of survival from the point of view of three generations of women Holocaust survivors. Each storyline has its own contained narrative, but the three interweave and eventually link like pieces of a puzzle to construct a larger image. It turns on Adele, a woman who has spent her entire life surviving. In the series’ titular year, the young Jewish girl hides in a basement in Nazi-occupied Bordeaux, France when a soldier discovers her and spares her life, but only after forcing himself upon her.
Many of Adele’s life experiences remain a well-guarded secret until 1988 when her daughter, now living in Israel, learns that the family story she’s grown up with is a fabrication. Finally, in the modern day, Adele’s granddaughter Maureen teams with a documentarist to mine the past to learn more about Adele’s survival story.
“As a writing team, each one brings their strong points to this collaboration. Being a third generation of Holocaust survivors herself, Hagit brings the heritage aspect, and Julie-Anna brings her skills in writing period pieces,” explained the writers in their pre-pitch materials, also noting that their geographic locations provide another benefit for this international drama, Saad in Israel and Grignon in France.
“Time is passing, and it is crucial that this dark period of our history should not be forgotten by new generations, who have no idea of the atrocities committed during World War II,” said White Lion producer Sadar. “I believe that fiction, in all its forms, is the best way not to forget.”