Fauda creators Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff are attending the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa for the world premiere of the fourth season of the show. Since the first season started streaming on Netflix, the Israeli political thriller has built up a huge following in India, and also has a Hindi-language remake, produced by Applause Entertainment for local streamer SonyLiv.
“When Netflix first bought the show, we started to notice on social media that we were getting so many followers in India,” says Raz, speaking to MovieSlay on the sidelines of the festival. “We didn’t know what was happening, but we started to understand that we have a good relationship with the Indian audience.”
That relationship is something they want to take further as part of a push into producing international content through their Tel Aviv and Los Angeles-based Faraway Road Productions, which was recently acquired by Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Candle Media. Raz and Issacharoff are looking at several Indian or India-themed projects, and are currently developing a spy thriller revolving around an Indian character who grew up in Delhi but moves to the UK.
“India offers us a huge market, but also creativity, with people who are interested in creating content and that’s what we’re looking for,” says Issacharoff. “We want to bring our content to India and we want to take Indian content to the outside world as well.” Raz continues: “Here they love the action and espionage of thrillers, but they also like to explore emotional relationships, and a combination of the two could result in some good TV shows being created here.”
Issacharoff says they are also exploring developing content in other parts of the world, including with Arab countries that have peace agreements with Israel. This international expansion has become possible following the deal with Candle Media, which has enabled the duo to build out their development runway.
Another project in development is a film based on real events in the U.S. during the Second World War. “It’s a huge American story that no-one has made a movie out of before,” says Issacharoff. “We decided to develop it independently. We’re working with a US writer and will hopefully sell it to one of the big studios.”
Also being developed at an international level is an upcoming action heist film for Netflix, based on a true story set between Africa, Israel, the U.S., and the United Arab Emirates. The duo are also developing a new series for Netflix after last year expanding their overall deal, which in addition to Fauda, has also included action thriller Hit & Run.
“Our strength is mostly about making things more on the international level, we don’t necessarily need to be in the U.S. or Israel,” says Issacharoff. “Our stories are character-driven and we can take them to different places.”
While all these projects are at the development stage, Raz and Issacharoff have already wrapped a new four-episode mini-series for Showtime. Set to launch in 2023, the as-yet-untitled series is a spy thriller based on events in the U.S. and Middle East involving the fight against terrorism.
Meanwhile, Tanaav, the Hindi remake of Fauda, which transplants the action to the troubled Kashmir region of India, has started streaming on SonyLiv to strong reviews. Issacharoff says a UK company optioned the show for a remake set in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. But considering Fauda’s international success and the global demand for local-language content, shouldn’t there be more remakes out there by now?
“It’s actually very hard to crack this,” says Raz. “In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, everything that happens is very close to home. While Americans went to Afghanistan or Iraq to fight, Israeli homes were only twenty kilometres from the war zone. So we were quite unique in this respect and it’s difficult to find a similar setting.”
Ahead of the IFFI premiere of the first episode of Fauda Season 4, Raz and Issacharoff took part in an ‘In Conversation’ event with Hindi actor Rajkummar Rao and Netflix India VP of content, Monika Shergill.
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