EXCLUSIVE: Netflix led an Israeli charm offensive late last month, with EMEA Vice President, Head of Original Series, Larry Tanz, spending five days in the nation speaking to talent, execs and key funders in what is becoming a regulatory battleground.
Alongside a delegation including Anna Nagler, Director of Local Language Originals, Central and Eastern Europe, Deadline understands Tanz, who is based in Netflix’s office in The Netherlands, was in Israel from April 28 to May 3.
The visit was primarily focused on Netflix’s work supporting young Israeli talent but featured some tough conversations around regulation and potential streamer quotas, which Deadline revealed last month is a hot topic in Israel.
Producer trade bodies in the country that made Fauda and Shtisel are working on gamechanging draft legislation that they hope to send to the government shortly, which would include streamer quotas for local programing and the ability for indies to retain 50% of the rights to their own shows.
However, sources close to the streamer feel that requiring the U.S. players to commission a certain amount of local content would be overly restrictive and may have unintended consequences. Since it launched in 2016, Netflix has had more than 100 Israeli/Hebrew films and TV shows through a mixture of self-produced, licensed and co-produced content.
Several European countries such as France, Italy and Switzerland are in the process of implementing legislation akin to what Israeli producers are proposing but there are none outside Europe.
Netflix did express full support for the new 25% rebate for international TV and film productions in Israel during the trip, it is understood.
Tanz and Nagler faced tough questions on these topics but used the visit to underscore Netflix’s commitment to investing in Israeli content, talent and the local ecosystem, according to those present.
The duo of senior execs met with a range of producers, writers, directors and key funders and delivered a fireside chat to more than 150 people about the power of authentic storytelling, which was moderated by Fauda director Assaf Bernstein.
They also focused on work being done to support the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School’s Series Lab, a four month incubator program for six-to-eight Israeli creatives looking to break out globally.
Netflix is sponsoring an award for one exceptional project and is sending Friends writer Jill Condon to the School to helm a masterclass on script development and mentor participants.