Series Mania-Bound ‘Innermost’ by Israel’s Yaron Shani Reveals First Look (EXCLUSIVE)

Israel’s Yaron Shani, best known for his feature debut “Ajami,” nominated for the Best International Feature Oscar in 2010, is presenting his debut television series, “Innermost,” at Series Mania.

Variety is unveiling an exclusive first look at the series, which world premieres March 20 at the prominent television event unspooling in Lille, France over March 17-24.

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The six-episode limited series, world premiering in Series Mania’s International Panorama section, follows three characters whose lives intersect. Among them is a police officer, played by Eran Naim, a former cop himself, who first appeared in “Ajami.” The second is an upcoming writer who struggles to recover from a traumatic experience, while the third is a young aspiring musician who chafes against his parents’ wish to do his duty and join the military service, mandatory in Israel.

“ ’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,” the synopsis goes.

The series is created, directed, and written by Shani who since “Amaji” has worked exclusively with non-professionals, working closely with his carefully selected cast for over a year before the cameras start to roll. “We basically build a fictional universe where together they go into this magical space and they live the life of the characters,” he told Variety.Principal photography took over a year as well.

“They live it, they experience it, it comes out of their subconscious,” he added. As in his other features, with the exception of his 2013 documentary “Life Sentences,” Shani explores the boundaries between fiction and reality.

Yaron Shani
Yaron Shani

He stated: “Three things determine our emotional involvement with the drama on the screen – the intensity of the character’s emotions, the intimacy we experience with him, and our belief that his emotions are real.”

“Authenticity is the Achilles’ heel of fiction, since it is based on performers putting an act according to a scripted plan. The emotions in ‘Innermost’ come from the genuine personality of the non-actors. They arise spontaneously and truthfully because the non-actors don’t follow a script,” he continued, adding: “They live as someone else in a chronological ‘playground.’ It enables them to explore the dangerous edges of the character’s life, protected by the fictional nature of a television production. And we are there with our cameras to catch it.”

“Innermost” is produced by Israel-based Black Sheep Productions and its German outpost Electric Sheep GmbH, in co-production with The Post Republic.

“Black Sheep is run by two exceptional producers, Saar Yogev and Naomi Levari, who have been courageous enough to support my work,” said Shani.

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