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Yes Boards ‘Red City’ From Lupin’s François Uzan

TOLEDO, Spain — Israeli broadcaster Yes TV and production arm Yes Studios have boarded development on “Red City,” from ‘Lupin’ co-creator François Uzan and Ofer Seker, behind HBO Max’s “Uri & Ella.”

Yes joins Morgane Le Moine who produces “Red City” for Paris-based production house First Love, which backed admired Series Mania project “Dust and Coal.” 

“Red City” weighs in as one of the hottest projects at this week’s Conecta Fiction, not only because of the talent behind it, but also its setting: Israel’s southernmost settlement of Eilat in 1957, described by the series makers as “a godforsaken place, lost in the desert and filled with misfits, new immigrants…but also a very special kind of criminal: Holocaust survivors that the authorities were reluctant to lock up and decided to ship out to the other side of the country.”

As the nine-year-old state of Israel still battles for survival, Elisheva, a young Tel Aviv cop, is assigned her first murder case, in Eilat. Teaming up with Michel, a Moroccan immigrant, she will “unravel the truth about this city, the corruption that undermines it… and the terrible secret surrounding her past,” the synopsis runs.

Good series often juggle plot, characters and world building. In “Red City’s” case, “the germ of the idea really came from the sense of place because this is a truly unique story. Once you have this world, it implies certain types of characters and people and certain kinds of dilemmas and questions afterwards,” Seker explained.

“Red City” is a noirish crime thriller. In terms of storytelling, “the procedural is really appealing when you want to enter an unknown world. You have an investigator which takes you into this world with them,” added Uzan who, as the son of North African Jewish immigrants, immediately related to the story.

A murder investigation, “Red City” is more than that. When Elisheva arrives, she discovers what Eliat is – and this is historically accurate – a primitive township, with no water nor electricity nor phones, backed by stark mountains. Inevitably, “Red City” becomes a neo-Western, invoking “a sense which is common to a Westerns, the formation of civilisation,” said Seker. 

This has huge implications. “The story of Eilat is the untold one of the establishment of the land of milk and honey,” said Le Moine.

“‘Red City’ is about identity, and belonging. It’s also a story about misfits and facing the truth,” said Seker and Uzan. “In our day and age, as Israel faces unparalleled internal and external crisis, we believe it is essential to delve into its origins, the secret stories that hide behind the Zionist myth,” they added.

Uzan and Seker will pitch “Red City” for the first time in public at Conecta Fiction. A bible and a pilot script are ready. They and Le Moine are looking for an international distributor and an anchor platform or broadcaster. 

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