Israelis Win Coveted Acting Awards at 2023 Series Mania Festival in France
by Shiryn Ghermezian
Israeli actors and actresses took home a slew of honors at the French television competition Series Mania in Lille, France, last week.
Israelis actresses Rotem Sela and Gal Malka shared the Best Actress Award in the International Panorama competition for their performances in A Body that Works, a television drama currently airing in Israel about a couple who struggle to get pregnant and turn to a surrogate to help them grow their family. In the eight-part series Sela stars as Ellie, who has had many miscarriages in her efforts to conceive, and Malka plays Chen, a single mother who is struggling financially and agrees to help Ellie and her husband.
A Body That Works, known in Israel as Guf Shlishi, was one of 12 dramas that premiered as part of this year’s International Panorama Competition at Series Mania.
“It is so meaningful to me that we share this honor,” Sela said in her acceptance speech at Series Mania. “Ellie and Chen’s story is woven together and only together they bring life into this world.”
Non-professional actor and former police officer Eran Naim took home the Best Actor Award at Series Mania in the Palmares International Panorama competition for his role in Innermost, the debut television series from multi-award winning Israeli director Yaron Shani, who also cast Naim in his debut feature film Ajami.
The six-episode drama highlights individual but also intersecting stories that are portrayed by a cast of non-professional actors. Naim stars in the show as a soon-to-be father and experienced police officer whose reputation is at risk. Innermost “dives into a multi-layered reality of violence and grace, storming under the calm blanket of modernity in contemporary Tel Aviv, and discovers how different fates intertwine in the fabric of life,” according to a synopsis of the show provided by Black Sheep Productions.
The series had its world premiere on March 21 in the Panorama International category and Naim was on hand to accept his award during the Series Mania Awards gala on March 24.
“It’s a great honor to win the best actor award at a festival on such an international scale as Series Mania. I am proud as an actor and as an Israeli,” Naim told The Algemeiner. “I am thankful for the opportunity and proud of the series. Innermost was made with much love. I had the honor to perform the role of Rashi and bring myself onto the screen to the viewers. I hope the show will reach a broad audience who can be as excited as I was to participate in the show.”
Yehuda Levi, who won Best Actor at Series Mania for his performance in Fire Dance last year, was a member of the International Jury this year at Series Mania. The 2023 festival screened 54 unreleased series, with 32 world premieres and 10 international premieres.