Israeli series “The Lesson,” a taut half-hour series parable on the vicious spiral of social media confrontation, took top honors on Wednesday night at a spirited 2022 Canneseries festival whose main competition was buoyed by titles from some of the boldest players in the business.
With “The Lesson” co-lead, the extraordinary Maya Landsmann, walking off with best performance for her nuanced turn as a super-sized troubled teen who goads her liberal teacher into a personal attack on her physical appearance – a put-down which goes viral – the series can rate as the big winner at this year’s event.
Produced by Yochanan Kredo at Jasmine TV for Israeli broadcaster Kan 11 – and scoring huge numbers when aired on the network – the show, written by Deakla Keydar and directed by Eitan Zur (“Asylum City”), also exemplifies the virtues of much best Israeli TV drama: Taut, pointed writing, great acting, direction which serves the drama, production values while wringing the most out of low budgets.
“Thus is a hugely crafted series, everybody loved it at Canneseries,” Albin Lewi, Canneseries artistic director, told Variety. “The series shows just how complex it is to be a teenager in a social media world.”
The Grand Prix Dior went to “Audrey’s Back,” another big winner at Canneseries also snagging the Special Interpretation plaudit for its nine-member key cast. The prize serves as further consecration for Canadian writer-actor Florence Longpré and her mastery of off-kilter tragicomedy and dysfunctional family dynamics.
The Award comes off the back of selection at both the Berlinale Series Market and Series Mania, a rare double, for “Last Summer of the Raspberries,” which she co-wrote, another unabashed exercise in melded tragedy and comedy.
In her Canneseries entry, Longpré also stars as Audrey, a young woman emerging from a decades long coma, in a heartfelt journey of rediscovery.
German series “Souls” scored screenplay for its at first vertiginous melange of different storylines described by Variety as mixing “reincarnation and ‘Groundhog Day’ and that’s just the beginning.” Its atmospheric score, which helps knit its multi-strand plotting, nabbed best music for composer Dascha Dauenhauer.
Backed by Norway’s public network NRK, which under head of drama Ivar Kohn emerged from the shadow of Denmark’s DR and Sweden’s SVT, “Afterglow” won this year’s High School Award for a feel good tale about a woman who gets cervical cancer but “demands joy” not pity. The series is also distinguished by a spirited central performance by Nina Ellen Ødegård (“Seizure”).
Belgium’s “Hacked,” a high-school cyberbullying drama, won Short Form Series; Canada’s Rosalie Vaillancourt took the Dior Revelation Prize for her starring role in the new girl at school in “Completement Lycee” a fast-paced teen drama set at a parodic institution replete with a prom queen wannabe and football jocks.
With “Hacked” written by Laura Van Haecke, Una Kres and directed by the former and Norway’s Marie Hafting winning a Student Award for short form series for “Everything You Love,” which she created and wrote, women made much of the running at this year’s Canneseries.
“The Lesson” and “Afterglow” received standing ovations, as did Constantin’s anthology “The Punishment,” in which six exciting German directors adapt incisive short stories from celebrated author Ferdinand von Schirach. The series marks the latest bold play by RTL Plus, a sign that, in a world where players lament the increasingly standardization of high-end drama series output, innovation is not dead.
“The key factor linking Canneseries titles this year is their huge diversity, from melodrama to sci-fi, tragicomedy, shocking dramas,” said Albin Lewi, Canneseries artistic director.
LONG FORM COMPETITION
“The Lesson,” (Deakla Keydar, Israel)
Dior Grand Award
“Audrey’s Back” (Guillaume Lambert, Florence Longpré, Canada)
Special Interpretation Award
Denis Bouchard, Martin-David Peters, Zeneb Blanchet,
Joanie Guérin, Ellicyane Paradis, Charlie Lemay-Thivierge,
Dominic St-Laurent, (“Audrey’s Back”)
Maya Landsmann, “The Lesson”
“Souls,” (Alex Eslam, Lisa Van Brakel, Senad Halilbasic, Erol Yesilkaya, Germany)
“Souls,” (Dascha Dauenhauer, Germany)
SHORT FORM COMPETITION
Best Short Form Series
“Hacked,” (Anthony Van Biervliet, Ruben Vandenborre, Belgium)
Dior Revelation Prize
HIGH SCHOOL AND STUDENT AWARDS
High School Award for Best Series
“Afterglow,” (Atle Knudsen, Kjetil Indregard, Norway)
Student Award for Best Short Form Series
“Everything You Love,” (Marie Hafting, Norway)