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"I filmed a series in Morocco without favors from Bibi, and before he made an agreement just to glorify his name" - Walla! culture

2021-01-23T21:25:29.343Z

After "For Her Flying Heroes", producer Eitan Mansouri presents his ambitious project so far - the international series "No Man's Land" (HOT). Interview



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"I filmed a series in Morocco without favors from Bibi, and before he made a deal just to glorify his name"

After "For Her Flying Heroes", producer Eitan Mansouri presents his ambitious project so far - the international series "No Man's Land" (HOT).

In the interview, he explains why the Americans were angry that he created a series about ISIS and the Kurdish fighters and how his encounter with Miri Regev revealed the decay of the entire government

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  • Ron there

  • For her flying heroes

  • Foxtrot

  • No Man's Land - Series

Avner Shavit

Sunday, 24 January 2021, 00:43

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Trailer for the "No Man's Land" series (Hollow)

Eitan Mansouri is a man hidden to the tools, but has quietly established his status as one of the most prominent producers in Israeli industry over the past decade.

Among other things, his record includes "Foxtrot", which picked up the Silver Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival and provoked an almost unprecedented storm, as well as "For Her Flying Heroes", a series that was a great success in Israel and also internationally resonated, and the list goes on.



Now, Mansouri has signed on for his most ambitious project to date, and this time not only as a producer but also as a creator.

This is the "No Man's Land" series, which he created with Ron Leshem and Amit Cohen ("Lock Hour") and Maria Feldman ("Doubles").

Despite these names, and even though it was directed by the Israeli Oded Raskin as well, it is a completely international project that has almost no Hebrew or Israeli characters, and was produced by the American streaming giant Hollow and also broadcast on it, and was screened in dozens of other countries.



Last weekend, the series also aired in Israel - exclusively on HOT.

Thus, the local audience will also be able to follow the story of a heroine, a young Frenchman played by Felix Moati, who was convinced that his sister had been killed in the Middle East, until he thinks he noticed her in a news report from Syria, and goes to locate her in the midst of civil war.

His campaign will bring him face to face with ISIS forces, as well as with the militias of Kurdish women fighting in the organization.

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Journey to the Heart of Darkness.

From "The No Man's Land" (Photo: PR, courtesy of HOT)

"It's not obvious that in such a cynical and digital age, people are leaving everything they have and going to fight for ideology."

"Maria and I used to work as producers on another project, we became friends and we were looking for a long time for something we could do together," Mansouri says in an interview with Walla!

Culture on the occasion of the broadcast of the series in Israel.

"Everyone had their own idea that he brought to the project. I was interested in the story of crossing borders, and Maria was interested in a story about a man convinced to see a ghost. It came from the fact that she immigrated to Israel with her mother, and her father stayed in Russia. She saw him before he died, and from then on she was sure she saw him on the street and in all sorts of places. "



"Another influence was our meeting with Itai Engel, who showed us crazy things he photographed in Syria. Exposure to these substances made us curious to deal with the question of who the people who are going to ISIS are. It is easy to mark them as monsters, but you have to go through some process." "You were not born that way. We started developing this idea, and it was important to us that the protagonist be someone who comes from the quiet and relaxed Europe and then makes it all the way to Syria, so that there is a journey here to the heart of darkness."



I guess you probably did some research ahead of the filming.

What most surprised you to find out?



"First of all, the degree to which ISIS is organized. We may be imagining a bunch of savages, but everything about them is very conscious and prepared. I was also surprised by the amount of foreigners who joined this war, on both sides of it. It reminded me of Hemingway's stories about the Spanish Civil War. Otherwise, and it is not obvious that in an age so cynical and digital, people are leaving everything they have and going to fight for ideology.



"The story of the Kurdish fighters is also very interesting.

This is a very patriarchal society, but the military allows for complete equality for women.

If they stayed at home, they would have to stay in the kitchen, but once you enlist you get a new name and a new status, and you can not marry or start a family. "



" Itai showed us a video of a warrior with a sniper rifle firing, and another woman standing next to her making noises .

"ISIS fighters believe that if a woman kills them, they will not reach heaven, so as soon as they hear that female voice, they grab their legs and run away."

Man is hidden to the tools, but is actually at the heart of the industry.

Eitan Mansouri (Photo: PR, Uriel Sinai)

"I did not imagine where the politics of identities in the United States is. A place that has lost itself in knowing."

Unsurprisingly, the American media did not like the fact that Israeli and Jewish artists allowed themselves to tell a story about a Syrian civil war and Kurdish fighters, and accused the "no man's land" of cultural appropriation, patronage and the like.

"I did not imagine where the politics of identities in the United States is," Mansouri says.

"We approached the story because it fascinated us, and we did as in-depth research as possible, but the reviews just weren't willing to accept it. They were extreme and unequivocal - there was no room for discussion, and the whole reference was specific to this issue. I consider myself a very liberal person. "But I think the wheel here has turned into a place that has lost itself in knowing. What do you want, that no one will talk about anything that is not himself?"



The funny thing is that according to Israeli identity politics, you are actually fine, because your parents are Iranian.



"I grew up and served in the army in a completely Ashkenazi environment, and I did not think about this issue at all, until I came to film school. Only then, I began to interpret back childhood experiences, for example I did not want my mother to speak to my aunt in Persian because I was ashamed of my Ashkenazi friends. "It's not something that stopped me as a creator or made me do things differently. By the way, today I am developing an Iranian series with an Iranian creator."



Of course Mansuri can still not shoot in Iran or Syria, so the war scenes in the "no man's land" were filmed in Morocco.

"We chose to shoot there and not in Israel because of the value we receive for the money," says the producer and creator.

"In Israel there are no tax benefits and no attempt to encourage productions, and the costs are very expensive. In Morocco, the system works for you."



And at the beginning of each chapter appears the stamp "In support of the Moroccan royal house."

You can always tell that you were the producer of the King of Morocco.



"I was received very kindly, and all that happened before Bibi sold the Sahara to the Moroccans and closed a few more arms deals to the Americans. Praise him for the agreement with Morocco? I will not apologize. Is this agreement the most important thing that could have been done now? No. "A cynical move designed to glorify his name ahead of the election, the fourth in number in the last four years? Yes. My faith in the prime minister and in the political system strives for zero, so I am equal in the face of these things. It is a cynical tactical move by a man in a war for survival."

Tower of Babel.

From "The No Man's Land" (Photo: PR, courtesy of HOT)

Mansuri describes the production as the Tower of Babel - "an Israeli director, Israeli and French producers, a Moroccan team in part, French and British actors and more," he says.

"We talked about the set in English, French, Kurdish, Hebrew and Arabic in different dialects. I found myself an interpreter, not necessarily of languages ​​but of cultural differences."



Alongside Felix Moati, the series also features excellent French actresses such as Melanie Thierry and Suhilya Jacob.

"I think the French players, being French, like to talk," Mansouri replies when I ask about the cultural differences between the Israeli and French game worlds.

"In Israel, we come from a culture of hunger. There is no time to stop during the filming and think about what the character thinks, so come up with the answers in advance. The French tend to gossip and philosophize, and that is a very noticeable difference."



Beyond the reviews in the United States, did you get any comments on the series that moved you?



"I have no presence on social media so it is not so easy to reach me, and it excites me that someone is making efforts to write to me. For example, a man who was a Kurdish fighter and was wounded and then fled with family in Germany, bothered to locate my email and wrote to me. "On screen, it excites me more than any review in Le Monde or any other prestigious newspaper."



You created "The No Man's Land" with Ron Leshem and Amit Cohen, and it comes to us only a few weeks after the end of the first season and a spoken word of "lock time" from scratch.

Where does Ron and Amit have time for everything?

And what is the secret of their success?



"I think they are very sophisticated in the ability to work together and complement each other. I do not know many people who do such successful ping pong. They are very broad-minded and very curious, and perhaps most importantly - they are not just talented, but know how to get reviews. "Talented people who are not able to receive constructive criticism, but they like it, they like to read comments and take points for improvement."

Kurdish fighters against ISIS.

From "The No Man's Land" (Photo: PR, courtesy of HOT)

"Emotionally, I'm somewhere between the joy of having more time with the kids, and the uncontrollable rage over this government and its conduct."

Amit Cohen lives in Los Angeles.

Ron there in Boston and Maria Feldman in New York.

Mansuri is the only producer of the series who lives in Israel, and spent the various closures at his home in Tel Aviv, with his three children.

"Emotionally, I am somewhere between the joy of having more time with the kids, and the uncontrollable rage over this government and its conduct," he says.



If it weren't for the Corona, we would have had the privilege of seeing on the screens here in the past year three new films he produced as part of his excellent company, Spiro Films, which he co-directs with Jonathan Dovek - "I was born in Jerusalem and I am still alive" by Yossi Atia and David Ofek Lavie ("Zero in Human Relations") and "Here We Are" by Shai Avivi.



Like other producers, and during which he drew criticism and even ridicule in the media, Mansouri decided not to release these films in streaming, and to wait for the cinemas to open, assuming it ever happens.

“Beyond the financial investment, these films are like children for us,” he says.

"We are not an American studio operating on net economic considerations. The cinema is the perfect place to see all three and we hope that the optimistic predictions come true and it will happen soon, but of course we are also very apprehensive."



How do you look back on the Foxtrot affair?



"Like a hallucination, but I thought so in real time. How can it be that in a country that defines itself as democratic, Sarah will go against a film without seeing it? In retrospect, I can only add that today there is a broader perspective on power in Israel, because the corona flooded "All the systems. Today we understand that everything is rotten, and the story is bigger than the storm around the film."



"On a practical level, this storm has only done us good. It was the best option one could get, but of course I would have preferred culture to speak for itself, not because Sarah uses it as a political tool."

"Ron Leshem is successful because he knows how to accept criticism."

Eitan Mansuri (Photo: PR, Hagar Ben Asher)

And two questions about "for her flying heroes."

First of all, the similarity between its plot base and that of "No Man's Land" cannot be ignored.



"I was aware of that, but it's completely coincidental, because these are things that were developed separately. I will just say that for me, a journey following someone who has died or is considered dead is always an interesting journey and a successful plot base."



Is there any chance for a second season?



"No. They really wanted us to do a second season and we also tried to develop it, but we felt we had to put in a lot of effort to come up with a story for the characters that would hold them, so that would not happen."

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Source: walla

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