Israeli hit producer Yes Studios and Indian content producer Applause Entertainment are expanding their existing agreement into a comprehensive partnership.
Applause, the content studio of Aditya Birla Group, previously adapted Yes’s “Your Honor” for SonyLIV and “Tanaav”, the reinterpretation of Yes’s “Fauda”, on November 11th on SonyLIV. Applause also has a relationship with Armoza Formats and has adapted its Hostages, La Famiglia as Mind the Malhotras, and the upcoming Honey Badgers. Earlier this year, Sharon Levi, Head of International Sales at Armoza, joined Yes Studios as Managing Director.
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“We just spoke to Sharon about a whole new slate that we’re working with and actually looking to take this business even further developed where we can get in faster and talk more about development at an early stage where we can bring things together and collaborate, co-fund and build content, because I think what everyone needs is a very distinctive way of storytelling, a distinctive way of thinking, stories that are unique and local and authentic but yet universal and that can travel in a way that they can both seen by a wider audience and reinterpreted for different audiences,” said Sameer Nair, CEO of Applause diversity.
Levi added, “The way Applause does business is very unique, their business models, their creativity, the high production value which, coming from Armoza, I’ve seen before in adaptations. And above all, it was just a great partnership, we worked very well together creatively and commercially. And that’s not a given – I’ve been in sales for 10+ years and really value partners who understand creative deals. And I think with applause it was that easy. They know their business very, very well. They know what viewers in India appreciate and what they would like to see. And they are very creative in how they do business and very passionate.”
“Tanaav” is not a co-production but a format license that Applause acquired from Yes. Yes Applause co-productions are planned for the future. The companies take a three-pronged approach of originals, including pure fiction and ideas based on real events, format adaptations, and book adaptations. Yes Studios is the distribution and co-production arm of Yes, a leading broadcaster and streaming service in Israel, and Levi says one of the perks of co-producing is that whatever they develop, it’s also co-produced by a partner, gets a commission and goes on the air in that area.
“Because we’ve had such a good experience with Applause, it makes sense for us to continue this partnership and look at things that we have in development on a larger scale and see how early on we can incorporate Applause into our ideas if.” they are attractive and successful meaning,” Levi said. “And then we can also have a local version made in Israel and Applause made a local version in India. We can sell it worldwide, either as a band or as a format or both, and split the revenue and we can both enjoy that and share the intellectual property.”
Although “Fauda” is now a worldwide hit, it was not easy to transfer the format to India. “It’s not your obvious format – if you watch the original show it’s not clear how that can spread. The fact that Applause is able to find the right story that makes cultural sense is a huge challenge that they handled so well,” Levi said.
“Fauda”, created by Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff based on their experiences in the Israel Defense Forces, follows a military commander and his team as they pursue their opponents and tells the human stories of both sides of the conflict in the region. “Tanaav” tells the story of a covert force and looks at both sides of the tensions in the sensitive region of Kashmir.
“Tanaav” stays true to the original idea, but is reinterpreted. Our context is different – Israel and Palestine versus Kashmir – it’s not really an Indo-Pakistani thing, it’s a Kashmir story, they’re all the same people, it’s something that’s happening inside, not outside, it’s not really about transnational terrorism, and it required skillful writing,” Nair said. “Cashmere is very different. It’s a complex mix of the people, the country, the religion, the state and then the center [central government]. One of the early conversations with Avi and Lior was about this – this is supposed to be a major show and so it should be treated like a major show. And it’s not just another crime action thriller. We tried that.”
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