TV talent

Netflix backs Jerusalem film school’s new ‘Series Lab’ for young creatives

Streaming giant, along with ViacomCBS International Studios, aims to support development of Israeli creators’ authentic local stories

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

The exterior of Jerusalem's Sam Spiegel Film School, which will receive backing from Netflix for its series incubator. (Courtesy: Sam Spiegel)
The exterior of Jerusalem's Sam Spiegel Film School, which will receive backing from Netflix for its series incubator. (Courtesy: Sam Spiegel)

With Israeli TV series leading the international pack on Netflix, the streaming giant is supporting the inaugural Series Lab being launched by Jerusalem’s Sam Spiegel Film School.

The Series Lab follows Sam Spiegel’s internationally acclaimed Film Lab, currently in its 10th year, both following Sam Spiegel’s long track record of nurturing local talent.

The project will also receive support from VIS Social Impact, ViacomCBS International Studios’ new cause-driven production division.

“The Sam Spiegel School has a strong track record of developing local creatives,” said Larry Tanz, vice president for EMEA Scripted Series at Netflix. “We’re delighted to support the school’s inaugural Series Lab which aims to help exceptional new voices tell authentic local stories that connect globally.”

Top industry professionals will include Series Lab artistic adviser Hagai Levi (the creator of “Scenes from a Marriage,” “In Treatment,” “Our Boys” and “The Affair”) as well as director Daphna Levin (“Euphoria,” “Fifty,” “In Treatment”) and Noah Stollman (“Our Boys,” “Someone to Run With”) to work with the young creators, helping them develop scripted series and assist participants to thrive in the global scripted television market.

Series Lab is open to writers and producers who have already demonstrated their creative potential, including those who may work in other languages, including Arabic, Amharic, Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew.

Hagai Levi and Jessica Chastain on the set of ‘Scenes From a Marriage.’ (Jojo Whilden/HBO/via JTA)

As part of the program, one exceptional project will receive the new Netflix Series Development Award, which includes a grant to allow creatives to focus on developing their project.

There are also the opportunities offered by Grow Creative, Netflix’s flagship global training and development program, in which producer and screenwriter Jill Condon (“Friends”) will lead workshops on script development and mentor the participants. Netflix will also cover the fees for all participants.

ViacomCBS’ VIS Social Impact, which is focused on content that addresses climate, equity and health, will help support the Lab program and the diverse new voices coming from it. The program aims to counteract racism, bias, stereotypes and hate on and off-screen.

“As the leading film school in Israel, we are proud to continue creating opportunities for young Israeli creators making their way in the film and television industry,” said Dana Blankstein Cohen, the executive director of Sam Spiegel. “The launch of this Series Lab is a natural offshoot of our far-reaching and in-depth educational process.”

The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Series Lab advisory board includes producer and writer Alon Aranya (“Tehran,” “Your Honor,” “Hostages”), writer and director Asaf Bernstein (“Fauda,” “The Debt,” “Warrior”), Ananey Studios’ Osnat Saraga, entertainment lawyer Craig Emanuel and YES Studios founder Danna Stern.

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