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Keshet International has boarded Darrel Bristow-Bovey and Anton Visser’s South African series “Paradys,” selected as a finalist for next month’s Series Mania Co-Pro Pitching Sessions. Keshet international joins Quizzical Pictures as a production partner and will handle global distribution of the finished series.

Described as a “tense, character-driven murder mystery,” the series is based on Orania, a real city in South Africa where, 25 years after apartheid, segregation still holds strong. In the fictional series, the town of Paradys shirks the favored “Rainbow Nation” vision shared by the majority of South Africans, and instead embraces an outdated vision of white superiority which its leaders argue is simply an attempt at protecting Afrikaner heritage.

Tensions mount when a horrific murder is committed within the community’s white walls and two Black police officers are sent to investigate. Twisting on the good-cop-bad-cop archetype, one is a by-the-book cop focused on executing her sworn duty, while the other is driven by passion and would prefer to see the backwards community burn.

Darrel Bristow-Bovey penned the series’ bilingual English-Afrikaans screenplay, with “Manodrome” helmer John Trengove on board to direct. Quizzical Pictures’ head of content Nimrod Geva produces, with Peabody Award-winner Harriet Gavshon (Quizzical Pictures), Anthony Kimble (Arrested Industries), Avi Nir (Keshet Media Group) and Alon Shtruzman (Keshet International) executive producing.

“We have found the perfect partners in Keshet International, whose excellent taste and proven track record will be a huge boost for this project that we are all so passionate about,” says Geva, who will form part of the project’s pitching team at Series Mania.

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Darrel Bristow Bovey, Nimrod Geva Credit: Quizzical Pictures

For her part, KI VP of acquisitions Anke Stoll says: “Much like ‘Furia’ and our docuseries ‘Surrounded by Enemies,’ ‘Paradys’ feels incredibly relevant right now.  By shining a spotlight on a community that is a homogenous cultural time-bomb, ‘Paradys’ is a compelling and entertaining examination of the scourges of institutional racism. Darrel and Anton have created a unique crime drama with a political message at its heart.”

Series Mania Forum 2022 will unspool in Lille this March 22-24, under the larger Series Mania Festival umbrella. 15 series projects will pitch during the in-person event, with a €50,000 cash prize going to a winning project. More than money is on the table however, as a who’s who of European industry professionals will be tuning in, looking for the next big thing to come from a competition which has played host to standout projects such as Fremantle’s “No Man’s Land,” Mediapro’s “The Head” and last year’s winner “Red Rainbow” from producer Alexander Rodnyansky.