At the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit, held February 15 in Jerusalem, there were whoops of excitement when the opening notes of the Netflix hit TV show Fauda were heard.
And walking out on stage were Lior Raz, who plays IDF special forces agent Doron Kabilo in the show, and his writing partner and cofounder of their production company, Faraway Media, Avi Issacharoff.
Fauda has been wildly successful – the current fourth season is the number one show not only in Israel but in Lebanon of all places. In January 2022, Raz and Issacharoff sold their company to Candle Media for $50 million, in a deal backed by the investment capital firm Blackstone.
“We were the Startup Nation,” Raz told interviewer Yossi Medved, CEO of Tale Runners during the afternoon plenary, “but now we’re becoming the Content Nation” with plenty of potential new investment opportunities.
The process is similar, Raz noted. “You start with an idea, raise some seed money, then find a bigger backer,” in this case, a broadcaster. And like in the startup world, you have to be prepared for nine out of your 10 shows to fail, as happened with Raz and Issacharoff’s latest, Hit and Run, which was canceled by Netflix after just one season.
If you’re raising money for a content venture, what should you look for in an investor?
“Someone who will be passionate about what you’re working on,” Issacharoff stressed.
And what passion projects are the pair working on now with their new Blackstone backers?
Raz revealed that the two of them are big fans of romantic comedies. Doron Kabilo as the lead in a rom-com may be a bit hard to imagine, but it’s one of 15 projects the pair have in development.
And yes, some of them, like the upcoming film “The Siege of Bethlehem,” are still Middle East/action-oriented dramas, including a planned fifth season of Fauda, in case you were concerned.
“The most important thing is that whatever we make must have some truth inside,” Raz noted. “It has to be something that can happen in real life. And it has to be driven by the dialogue and the characters.”
Medved asked Raz and Issacharoff what differences they’ve noticed between working in Israel vs. the United States.
“In Israel, when you have differences of opinion, people shout at each other,” Issacharoff said. “Overseas, if something is boring, people will say, ‘’That’s interesting.’”
Raz recalled one time he and Issacharoff were arguing in a restaurant in Los Angeles. They were going at it, raising their voices. “The team was shocked. They were sure we were about to separate,” he said.
But the two got up from the table, embraced and everything continued as normal.
Is that the key to keeping Israel content competitive in the media space?
“It’s all very interesting,” Issacharoff concluded with a wink as the Fauda theme blared once again.