“Three,” a socially relevant, teen musical drama that celebrates diversity is the latest production from Paramount’s Israeli shingle Ananey Studios.
Making its debut at Mipcom and sold internationally by Beta Film, the show follows three 16-year-olds in Tel Aviv from very different cultural backgrounds: Yasmin, an Arab Muslim girl; Ella, a Jewish girl and daughter of a notorious criminal; and Dalina, the daughter of asylum seekers from Eritrea.
Together, they form the band Talatha (Three in Arabic), pooling their diverse talents and backgrounds to create original music.
Series creators Michal Cooper Keren and Lior Yaron came up with the series after they were invited to conduct a writing workshop in Jaffa, in a mixed residential neighborhood that is home to Arabs, Jews, and asylum seekers from Africa.
“While there, we met a group of talented teenage girls who were studying singing and songwriting for free at a local youth club,” they explain. “The girls all dreamed of breaking out of their difficult surroundings through singing and writing songs but were facing immense hurdles due to race, legal status, ethnic backgrounds, and socio-economic difficulties.”
Cooper Keren and Yaron found this “to be a great basis from which to create a story about talent, ambition and female friendship as agents of personal growth and social change.”
Diversity and social change are challenging issues in Israel, where cultural diversity in particular is under threat.
“This is the most challenging time to create such a diverse and socially aware show,” Cooper Keren and Yaron add. “And therefore — it’s the most important time to do that.
“These are troubling times for teens in Israel and all over the world. They are experiencing a clash between their own identity and the forces around them that are trying to suffocate their aspirations and unique voices.
“Accepting ourselves as we are, and accepting people around us, no matter how different they are, is never an easy task. Our show offers a much-needed message of hope, humanity and friendship which many of our viewers need now more than ever.”
Shirley Oran, Ananey’s head of Kids & Family division, says “Three” characterizes the kinds of young adult series that Ananey produces.
“While being unique in many ways, ‘Three’ also shares many similarities with the rest of Ananey’s YA shows. All of our YA content has high production value and unique storytelling, and features a diverse ensemble of teenage characters, with many of the shows emphasizing strong, intelligent, and plot-driving female characters.”
Oran adds, “As Gen Z, our target audience is an exceptionally informed generation with deep social awareness. We must offer them content with real value. Our YA shows, even those that have elements of fantasy in them, address real-life issues that our viewers care about, both on a personal and on a social level. ‘Three,’ for example, has both a strong suspense storyline and an emotional storyline focusing on the characters’ relationships, struggles, and inner worlds.
“Like ‘Three,’ many of our shows have a musical component that is an integral part of the series and helps reinforce its messages,” Oran explains.
“All in all, our shows deal with universal matters that are relevant no matter where you live, and because of that, our teen and YA shows have been successful not only in Israel but also with viewers around the world.”
Cooper Keren and Yaron’s credits also include teen-targeted Israeli series such as sci-fi show “Infinity,” family drama “Exceptional” and the hit action-adventure series “Spyders.”
Disclaimer: The interview with Michal Cooper Keren, Lior Yaron and Shirley Oran was conducted before the attack by Hamas militants and Israel’s subsequent bombardment of Gaza.