“Normally, we would have chosen a television festival. But we considered that this series was a cinematographic creation and that it needed a film festival,” explained Mr. Leshem in an interview with AFP .
He and “Bad Boy” co-creator Hagar Ben-Asher aren’t the only ones to have had this reasoning. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which has served as a launch pad for many Oscar-winning films, is now also distinguishing itself as a springboard for prestige television, as evidenced by its 2023 lineup.
Netflix unveiled the first episode of its highly anticipated miniseries “All the Light We Cannot See”, a World War II epic based on the novel “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr and featuring on stage Mark Ruffalo.
Amazon’s Prime Video channel also premiered “Expats,” a Hong Kong-set drama exploring the intertwined lives of the city’s rich and poor expats, starring Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman.
According to TIFF boss Cameron Bailey, this expansion of programming is the result of “the growth of series and the real integration between those who make series and those who make cinema films.”
Series “that travel easily”
“Bad Boy”, which is still looking for a broadcaster in Toronto, focuses on the true and surreal story of Israeli comedian Daniel Chen, incarcerated in a juvenile detention center when he was a child.
The series filmed in Hebrew shows that the secrets of his past, 20 years later, constitute a burden and a constant threat.
As Leshem and Ben-Asher explain, the teenager, then known as Dean, learned to use humor to survive behind bars.
“It’s not a dark story. It’s the story of a guy whose talent was revealed in a very, very hard place,” Ben-Asher told AFP.
Mr. Leshem explains that they rejected from the start an offer from an American studio to make “Bad Boy” in English. “We wanted to have the freedom to do it in the most authentic way possible.”
Subtitles no longer sound the death knell for television series: the global success of series like “Narcos” and “Squid Game” demonstrates that audiences are not afraid to consume content in a language other than their own.
“This is the strength of television today. Different stories can travel easily,” said Ms. Ben-Asher.
“All the Light We Cannot See,” which premieres on Netflix on November 2, tells the story of a young blind French girl and a young German soldier whose lives collide in the occupied French town of Saint-Pierre. Malo, and under the bombs.
Director Lulu Wang, known for her film “The Farewell”, chose to reveal the penultimate episode of “Expats” rather than the first, believing that there were “several possible ways to approach a story”.
In the series based on the novel “The Expatriates” by Janice YK Lee, Nicole Kidman plays the role of an American mother who experiences a family tragedy.
“Expats” is scheduled to be broadcast in 2024 on Prime Video.
Nicole Kidman and Mark Ruffalo did not attend the premieres, as Hollywood actors and writers were still on strike.