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‘Your Honor’ Tops 2017’s Series Mania

Variety logo Variety 4/22/2017 John Hopewell
© Provided by Variety

Already snapped up for a U.S. remake deal, Israeli series “Your Honor,” created by Shlomo Mashiach and Ron Ninio, took the top Grand Jury Prize on Saturday night in Paris at the 8th Series Mania, whose vibrance

was a telling reminder of the robust good health enjoyed by scripted show production at large.

“This is truly a new golden age of television and it was one of the highlights of my life to celebrate it by being on the jury for Series Mania, said jury president Damon Lindelof, show runner of “The Leftovers” and “Lost.”

Few who attended Series Mania could not have been struck by the bullishness of its industry events. FremantleMedia, eOne, ZDF and Federation Entertainment all announcing new productions or desired expansive moves and Co-Production Forum attendance up about 110% to just over 900 delegates as the market for foreign – and often foreign-language – TV dramas, though usually still niche in the latter case, continues to expand significantly.

A showpiece for Israeli TV drama, seen particularly in its tightly-wound script, “Your Honor” tracks an upstanding magistrate’s desperate – and increasingly illegal – attempts to protect his son from Israeli mob vengeance. The jury praised “Your Honor” for its “surprising and provocative examination of judgement in modern-day Israel. anchored by riveting performances.”

Fully-financed by Israel’s Yes, the Israeli broadcaster and leading pay TV platform whose hit series “Fauda” is a worldwide Netflix pick-up, “Your Honor’s” U.S. format rights have been optioned for a North America-based remake with King Size Productions and Scripted World producing the remake with CBS Studios. Peter Moffat (“The Night Of,” “Undercover”) is attached to write.

Described as “as intellectual as it is sexy, not to mention incredibly funny,” Amazon Studios’ “I Love Dick,” created by Jill Soloway and Sarah Gubbins, which world premiered at Sundance to an upbeat reception, snagged Series Mania’s Special Jury Prize.

One of Series Mania’s most anticipated titles, it has the eponymous Dick, (Kevin Bacon) becoming an object of obsession for both a filmmaker (Kathryn Hahn) and her academic husband (Griffin Dunne), residents of an artists’ community in Marfa, Texas.

“It’s about taking women who have been the object and turning them into the subject,” star Hahn told Variety Studio at Sundance, a sentiment echoed by Gubbins in Paris when she accepted the award.

Best actress was won by Anna Friel for her performance in Jimmy McGovern’s upcoming BBC One drama “Broken,” where she plays opposite Sean Bean’s parish priest as a single mother of three who loses her job, can’t access social security and skint – broke in Liverpool scouser slang – has to pawn her wedding ring to buy food for her children. Friel’s “heartbreaking and stunning performance leaves no question as to why this show is called ‘Broken,’” said the Lindelof jury, which also included actress Aure Atika (“Mademoiselle Chambon”), directors Agnieszka Holland (“Europa, Europa,” “Spoor”) and Eytan Fox (“Yossi & Jagger,” “Cupcakes”) and French actor Clement Manuel (“Public Enemy”).

Friel is a top British actress, winning praise last year for her performance in ITV’s Netflix early acquisition “Marcella,” a slice of London-set Nordic Noir. Far less known is the best actor winner, Kida Khodr Ramadam, the head of a Berlin-Neukolln mob clan who wants to go straight but, after his hot-head brother is arrested in a police raid, is forced to take up the reins of the family business, which takes in prostitution, intimidation, drugs and money laundering. “Ramadan’s nuanced performance moves between brutality and empathy in the blink of his wounded eyes,” the jury sentenced.

French sci-fi, a burgeoning phenomenon, made much of the running when it came to French series at the 2017 Series Mania awards. An international press jury voted Arte series “Transfer,” a near-future, body-swapping drama-thriller, as best series made out of France. Its protagonist, Ariel Worthalter, took best actor. Made for French pay TV operator OCS, “Missions,” an economical but impressively efficient sci-fi half-hour, its first episode covering all of a Mars mission landing, scored the the Series Mania Series Discovery Award.

The still huge pull of upscale U.S. and U.K. TV series was underscored, however, in the Festival’s Audience Awards. CBS All Access flagship “The Good Fight,” a spinoff from “The Good Wife,” took the Audience Award.

Of the top six most-voted-for series, five were American or British: “The Good Fight,” runner-up “Fleabag,””Downward Dog,” “Big Little Lies” and “Apple Tree Yard.” Only “I Know Who You Are,” a Mediaset España psychological thriller from Filmax, broke this dominion.

Of screenings through Saturday afternoon, the most-attended was Damon Lindelof’s “The Leftovers,” which opened Series Mania on April 18 at the gargantuan grand auditorium of Paris’ Grand Rex, a stunning, art deco 2,800-seat cinema.

Further Series Mania highlights, judged by attendance, were the opening episodes of Season 2 of “Call My Agent!” a France 2 comedy half hour set at a Parisian talent agents, now bound for a U.K. remake from Headline Pictures (“The Man in the High Castle”); and the European continent premiere of “American Gods,” adored by fans of Neil Gaiman, and admired in general for its scale, visuals and performances, led by Ian McShane’s Wednesday;

Fourth most-popular events were Q & As with Damon Lindelof and Julianna Margulies, followed by “Kim Kong,” an Arte-backed charicaturing comedy miniseries, about a French auteur abducted by a preening North Korean-style dictator to shoot a new version of “King Kong,” which marked France’s sole main completion player.

2017 SERIES MANIA, APRIL 13-23, 2017

OFFICIAL COMPETITION

  GRAND JURY PRIX

“Your Honor,” (Shlomo Mashiach, Ron Ninio, Israel)

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE

“I Love Dick,” (Jill Soloway, Sarah Gubbins, U.S.)

BEST ACTRESS

Anna Friel, “Broken,” (Jimmy McGovern, Shaun Duggan, Colette Kane, Nick Laether, U.K.)

BEST ACTOR

Kida Khodr Ramadan, “4 Blocks,” (Marvin Kren, Hanno Hackfort, Bob Konrad, Richard Kropf, Germany)

AUDIENCE AWARD

BEST SERIES

“The Good Fight,” (Phil Alden Robinson, Robert King, Michelle King, Ryan Pedersen, Joey Scavuzzo, United States)

INTERNATIONAL PRESS JURY, BEST FRENCH-LANGUAGE SERIES

BEST SERIES

“Transfers,” (Claude Scasso, Patrick Benedek, France)

BEST ACTRESS

Ophélia Kolb, “On va s’aimer, un peu… beaucou,” (Emmanuelle Rey-Magnan, Pascal Fontanille, France)

BEST ACTOR

Arieh Worthalter, “Transferts,” (Claude Scasso, Patrick Benedek, France)

FRENCH TV CRITICS ASSOCIATION PRIZE

SERIES DISCOVERY

“Missions,“ (Julien Lacombe, Henri Debeurme, Ami Cohen, France)

BLOGGERS’ PRIZE

BEST SERIES

“Juda,” (Zion Baruch, Israel)

WEB AND DIGITAL SERIES PRIZES

BEST SERIES

“Loulou,” (Alice Vial, Louise Massin, Marie Lelong, France)

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