In April last year, Keshet Media Group launched feature development and production division, Keshet Films, under its Keshet International subsidiary Keshet Studios and headed by award-winning producers Mandy Tagger and Adi Ezroni. Making a first trip to the Cannes Film Festival, the pair visited Deadline’s Cannes Studio this week to discuss being a gateway to the bigger Keshet family and what types of projects they’re looking for. Check out the video above.
Tagger in New York and Ezroni in Tel Aviv oversee the development and production of features budgeted between $15M-$20M for the U.S. and international markets, with the unit also looking to finance some of the films.
Tagger and Ezroni joined from their New York-based Spring Pictures label, where they developed, financed and produced a string of independent films.
Ezroni says the division is a “gateway to the world of Keshet, meaning that if content comes in, could be as a film, might work for a series, or a web-digital thing, that’s great. We’re a gateway to that. If it’s a series that we can adapt to a film, that’s great. We could be those producers.”
Tagger says the trip to Cannes is “about reintroducing ourselves to people as part of Keshet. We’ve been independent producers based out of New York for longer than I’d like to admit… We’re looking for talent, and we’re looking for projects. Both on the development side. For the writer, directors, it’s really for development to look at talent that we’re interested in and kind of pursue the next thing. Look and see what they’re interested in. Maybe we want to bring them into the family and also on the production, financing side.”
They’re also hunting source material, says Ezroni, “Source material can be a book, a play, an article. It could also be a film that’s already been made, maybe in another language. That’s definitely something that we’ve been looking at as well.”
Ezroni is also an award-winning actress who appeared in Keshet’s Prisoners Of War, the original Israeli source of Showtime’s Homeland. Making the move to producing was to “feel in control of finding the material that I find interesting rather than waiting for someone to call. Then as I became a more prolific producer, I realized that I need to wait for the actor. It’s just a cycle. It’s just different. I think that my acting experience allows me to read scripts in a different way and see them through those eyes.”
But, she adds, “Between Prisoners Of War that spawned Homeland and 30 other adaptations of it and (Keshet’s) The A Word, which is a UK show, you could see that we really have a range that’s on the television side but I think the DNA carries to the film side.”
For Tagger, “It’s any genre. There’s no limitation. There can be really smart, elevated horror. There can be a really smart comedy. There can be really quality, character-driven drama.”
In terms of production financing, the sweet spot is films in the $15M-$20M range. Says Ezroni, “It’s absolutely a financial play. But, of course, if we’ve developed, produced, or there’s some sort of added value that we can see for the company as a whole that’s not just bottom line, that could also skew that decision as well… Then, in terms of development, for us coming from New York, independent filming king for many, many years, being able to have development budget is like being in a candy store. ”
Adds Tagger, “To be able to find interesting writer-directors that we’ve always wanted to work with and be like, ‘So, what do you want to do? We’re here. We can support the feature. We can support the series. We can support the limited. We can support all of these things.’ It’s such a luxury.”
Keshet Films has a number of projects that are in different stages in the pipeline including a crime drama based on an LA Magazine article about a real sheriff who disappeared as well as a sci-fi thriller and more.