‘Red Sky’ creator Daniel Shinar’s journey from big tech to the small screen


In Israel’s Tel Aviv-centered television industry, it’s unusual for a rising star to travel to Jerusalem for an interview, but that’s one of the new TV series star Daniel Shinar’s case. Red sky (which started running on Reshet on June 19) stands out.

Snar, executive producer Red sky The author of the best-selling novel of the same name, on which the series is based, has an unusual day job: He is the founder, managing partner and CEO of Clatech, which invests hundreds of millions of dollars in Israeli technology companies. But as we spoke, Sanaur, who grew up in Jerusalem and walked into our interview with his parents, was focused on Red Sky, his favorite project.

“It’s a story about friendship, about best friends becoming enemies and finding themselves on opposite sides of the conflict,” he said.

Set during the Second Intifada, the series tells the story of two best friends, Saar (Maor Schweizer, one of the line stars in Valley of Sand and Tears), a young Israeli from a troubled family, and Ali (Amir Khoury, who starred in The Little Drummer Girl, Image of Victory and Beirut). Ghost (starring), they become friends when they work together at a restaurant as teenagers.

Ali comes from a warm family in the West Bank and embraces Saar in the way he so desperately needs, and the two share a love of video games, which he designs. She has one daughter, Jenny (Annie Shapero). American photojournalism is what they both love. But as they move into their early 20s and Ali, now a medical student, is about to resume his studies at Harvard, the Second Intifada erupts and the two young men find themselves on opposite sides of a war they never saw coming.

Maor Schweitzer as Saar and Amir Khoury as Ali in ‘Red Sky’ (Credit: EYAL ZARFATI)

Sanaor’s novel became a meaningful experience for him because of his participation in the Seeds of Peace program for Israeli and Palestinian children and teenagers in the mid-1990s during the height of the Oslo Accords.

“After the first few days, after difficult conversations, you start to relax and you become friends, you talk about your hopes, about girls, about what you want to do with your life; and politics becomes a very small part … That’s the main thing in that kind of place, for kids to play together and become friends.” And the idea is that in 20 years they will be friends and maybe leaders.

One of the highlights of the program was the peace talks in Jordan, hosted by no less than King Hussein, in which the Israelis held the Palestinians and vice versa.

Friendship between Israelis and Palestinians was not that unusual, he said. Sanaor spent time with his friends on the program, the peace process failed.

But he went to the army and served as an intelligence officer in the 8200 high division, just as the second intifada broke out, describing himself as “in the right place at the right time, or in the wrong place at the wrong time, as a parasitoid.” How do you see it?”

At just 21 years old, he was in charge of intelligence on terrorism by secular groups, among them the Al-Aqsa Brigades.

“It’s the biggest job I’ve ever seen, a bigger job than a hundred million dollar investment,” he said.

Sanaor lost his relationship with his friends of peace during those years. He later learned that many people had been killed in peaceful demonstrations.

The novel’s plot began to take shape in his mind, but he put it in a virtual bottom drawer as he went on a trek to Latin America and built his tech investment career.

When his son was born, he experienced a “mid-life crisis” and returned to the book, which was finally published by Yediot in 2018 and became a bestseller, as did its sequel, Pagoda House. but find Red sky It was not easy to publish, because they had to pass military censorship. “We have good news and bad news,” he said when he came to the meeting. The good news was that they loved the book. The bad news was that they needed so many changes, he wasn’t sure it would ever be published. Finally, he went back in and after several months, came out with a publishable manuscript.

From literature to television

He didn’t set out to become a tech entrepreneur and bestselling novelist, he wanted his book adapted for television and sought out the best collaborators he could find. In addition to Senar, who executive produced the series, Red Sky’s creators are Ron Lesheim (Euphoria, No Man’s Land), Daniel Amsel (Valley of Tears) and Amit Cohen (No Man’s Land, False Flag). And the director is Alon Zingman (Shtisel). Early series created by these television professionals have aired on HBO, Hulu, Netflix and other international networks. Red Skies is directed by Yoav Gross (Carthage, Maniac) with Len Blavatnik and Danny Cohen, executive producers for Access Entertainment, who also executive produced the recent Cannes Grand Prix winner Zone of Desire.

Additional writers include Ali Wakd (Bethlehem), Ala Dakka (actress), Noah Mannheim, and Tamar Key. Some of the best actors in Israel have been able to play, including Currie and Schweitzer, as well as Alona Saar (Farewell), Yaakov Zada-Daniel (Carthage) and dozens of others. Sanaor would have liked to have spent the bulk of the interview singing the praises of the film’s actors and behind-the-scenes collaborators.

He said they thought about it once they all signed it. Red sky It will be smooth sailing on TV screens. But even when all the stars seemed aligned, shooting such a complex project with over 140 actors and crew (huge by Israeli standards) was no easy task.

“When you’re doing a show, every day is a sinking ship, every day is a crisis,” he said. To emphasize this point, a cat and a dog in the outdoor cafe where we were sitting got into a fierce battle that was impossible to ignore and we paused as they sat down.

Sanaor returns to describe some of the crises the production has faced.

“One day an editor is sick, another time you run out of space and have to rush to find another space… It’s a big operation and there are a lot of opinions and a lot of people.”

The setting for Saar and Ali’s encounter is changed from a peace camp to a hotel kitchen because there is not enough money in the budget to hire a group of children, for example. The scenes in the peace camp were important to Senor as a writer, but as an executive, he understood why they had to be cut.

Given the long road ahead to bring Red Sky to the screen, the world premiere at the prestigious Serie Mania tournament in France in March was very exciting for him.

“After the wedding, it was the closest thing to a wedding for me. It was a red carpet event, there were 2,000 people and there were two shows,” he said.

“I’m worried, I was watching and nobody left and then there was a big round of applause… Until you show up, you don’t know how it’s going to go. It was very emotional.”

When he started getting emails from major streaming services and networks, he was excited in the following days and the producers are currently exploring different options to show Red Sky abroad.

Senaor is happy that the series is now on television in Israel and looks forward to seeing how audiences here respond.

“They’re taking a risk on a big project like this, they’re giving away control,” he said. But his technology training helped him succeed.

“A start-up is not that different from a TV series,” he teases. “You need experts and funding.”

At the end of the interview, Sanaor seems to be at peace with that long and strange journey Red sky He took it. The fighting cat and dog napped in the sun on the way back to Tel Aviv as he headed for the car.


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