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August 12, 2020 4:52 pm

‘Fauda’ and ‘Shtisel’ Actors Star in New Israeli Period Drama ‘The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem’

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Michael Aloni as Gabriel, Hila Saada as Rosa and Swell Ariel Or as Luna in a photo from “The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem” production. Photo: Yes Studios.

“Fauda” actor Itzik Cohen and “Shtisel” cast member Michael Aloni star in a new series by Israel’s Yes Studios called “The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem” that began production on Tuesday, The Algemeiner has learned.

Adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name by Sarit Yishai-Levy, the series is set in the early-to-mid 20th century in Jerusalem and “unravels, recreates and brings to life the story of a family set against the backdrop of the Ottoman Empire, The British Mandate and Israel’s War of Independence,” according to Yes Studios.

The show focuses on “the loves, heartbreak, jealousy and pain of the three Armoza sisters — Luna, Rachelika, and Becky — their parents, grandparents and children,” the production company said, adding that it is “a colorful, passionate and tragic series interwoven with Judeo-Spanish traditions and the history of a nascent country.”

The series will film across Israel — including in Jerusalem, Safed and Acre — and will feature Hebrew, English, Ladino and Arabic. Yes TV has already commissioned two seasons for the show, with the first set to air in early 2021, according to Deadline.

The Algemeiner obtained behind-the-scenes photos from the show’s production.

Behind the scenes of filming “The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem.” Photo: Yes Studios.

The period drama is the biggest investment to date for Yes Studios, which is also the producer-distributor of “Fauda” and “Shtisel,” and will be one of the most expensive series’ to come out of Israel.

Danna Stern, managing director of Yes Studios, said: “We have all fallen in love with the story of the Armoza family and cannot wait to see it materialize on screen. The initial two-season order is a show of confidence in the story-telling abilities of all involved. This series is a big departure from our usual fare as this is one [of] the only period pieces ever produced in the country, but we are hopeful that audiences worldwide will feel the same as we do and join us on this adventure.”

The show’s cast includes Hila Saada (“The Baker & The Beauty”), Yuval Scharf (“McMafia”) and newcomer Swell Ariel Or, who will play Luna Armoza, the “beauty queen of Jerusalem.” The producers are Dafna Prenner and Shai Eines from Artza Productions.

Prenner, co-CEO of Artza Productions, said, ”After years of watching with envy costume dramas from around the world, we feel lucky to be able to produce a period drama that will bring to the screen the rarely seen sights and sounds of early 20th-century Jerusalem. From acquiring the rights to Israel’s best selling book of the last decade and the formation of a brilliant dream-like creative team, this has been a surprising, emotional and inspiring journey — and we can’t wait for what will come next.”

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