(JTA) – A new independent production company aims to “ensure Jewish tradition lives on” in television and film, as Jewish stories continue to be hot property in Hollywood.
Leviathan Productions will specialize in developing content based on Jewish history, literature and folk tales, as well as stories about Israel, Deadline reported. Leviathan is founded by Ben Cosgrove, a film and TV producer whose credits include Oscar-winning “Syriana” and the recent remake of “Black Christmas”; and Josh Foer, journalist and co-founder of the adventure travel brand Atlas Obscura as well as the online repository of Jewish texts Sefaria.
Foer is also one of the people behind a new “Jewish Tavern” in the Boston area, which, like the projects on the Leviathan dossier, aims to locate Jewish content in a space accessible to Jews and to non-Jews.
The company moved quickly to acquire a number of upcoming projects with Jewish themes, including planned adaptations of “Photography 51,” a play by Anna Ziegler about Rosalind Franklin, the British-Jewish chemist who played a pivotal role. in the discovery of the molecular structures of DNA. , RNA and viruses; “The Secret Chord,” a novel by Geraldine Brooks about King David; and “The Pledge,” a 1970 documentary book by Leonard Slater about the United States’ role in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.
“Jewish stories have incredible resonance because they explore universally identifiable ideas,” Cosgrove told Deadline. “Everyone knows what it’s like to be the underdog, the foreigner or the immigrant. Jewish stories address these ideas with humor and drama, and people around the world see themselves in our stories.
The launch of Leviathan Productions comes shortly after the launch this summer of Reboot Studiosa Jewish entertainment fundraising initiative that bills itself as “The Sundance Labs of the Jewish World.”
Both projects are concurrent with a notable increase in Jewish content on major streaming platforms. Netflix is preparing an American remake of its hit Israeli import “Shtisel”, in addition to an upcoming reality show, “Jewish Matchmaking”, both joining a series of Jewish-themed programs that include “The club,” “Heirs of the Earth”, “My Unorthodox Life”, “13: The Musical” and “The beauty queen of Jerusalem.”
Additionally, HBO Max is developing content based on Hasidic rapper Nissim Black and Chelm’s Yiddish Folktales; Hulu recently acquired the Israeli series “Hazarot” (Repetitions); Amazon recently produced “Yosi, the Regrettable Spy” in addition to her ongoing hit series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Apple TV+’s Israeli spy series ‘Tehran’ is in its second season; and two recent European period dramas, “Ridley’s Road” on PBS and “Parisian Police 1900” on MHz boast strong Jewish themes.