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Sam Spiegel Film School Bows Series Lab With Netflix, ViacomCBS

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The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School is set to launch a Series Lab with the support of Netflix and VIS Social Impact, ViacomCBS International Studios’ new cause-driven production division. Hagai Levi, the creator of “In Treatment” and “The Affair,” has joined the new program as artistic advisor.

For the last decade, the film school has been hosting a popular film lab which was founded by Renen Schorr and has become a major curator of world cinema gems. Alumni include Hungarian helmer László Nemes, director of Oscar-winning “Son of Saul;” Croatian director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović whose feature debut “Murina” won the Camera d’Or at Cannes; and Nadav Lapid who participated with “The Kindergarten Teacher.”

The program is now branching out to serialized television to help promising creators, writers and producers based in Israel connect with leading industry professionals. Mentors includes Daphna Levin (“Euphoria,” “In Treatment”) and Noah Stollman (“Our Boys”).

JSFL Series Lab takes place in Jerusalem and will culminate in an international closing event where projects will be screened to key industry players. One project will be selected to receive Netflix’s new Series Development Award. The award, sponsored by Netflix, will provide winning creators a development grant. Jill Condon, the writer and producer whose credits include “Friends,” will lead workshops on script development and mentor the participants has part of Grow Creative, Netflix’s flagship global training and development program. Netflix will also cover the fees for all participants.

The JSFL Series Lab is open to all talented creatives with projects written in Arabic, Amharic, Russian,
Yiddish, and Hebrew. “Diversity will be at the heart of the program (…) and there no need to have attended the Sam Spiegel Film School,” said the institution.

“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, Sam Spiegel Film and Television School executive director. She said the “launch of this Series Lab is a natural offshoot of our far-reaching and in-depth educational process.”

Larry Tanz, VP of EMEA Scripted Series at Netflix said “The Sam Spiegel School has a strong track record of developing local creatives.” Tanz added that program “aims to help exceptional new voices tell authentic local stories that connect globally.”

Georgia Arnold, head of VIS Social Impact and SVP Social Responsibility at ViacomCBS Networks International, said “VIS Social Impact is committed to the development and production of premium entertainment that addresses the issues that matter most to our audiences around the world.”

Arnold said she was “proud to partner with the Sam Spiegel School’s Series Lab program to elevate diverse Israeli voices and champion the power of storytelling.”

Zamir, the head of the JSFL Labs Director, said this new Series Lab was “developed with the aim of supporting promising wide-ranging voices from Israel with the belief that local stories have an appeal despite differences of language and culture.