Netflix has bought the Israeli documentary series “Shadow of Truth,” about a notorious 2006 murder case in northern Israel, for international distribution.
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The series is about the murder of 13-year-old Tair Rada in the bathroom of her school in the Golan Heights. The program originally aired on the HOT cable company last year.
It was made available to all Netflix subscribers on Friday, in Hebrew with subtitles.
The distribution agreement, worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, was coordinated by series producer Ben Giladi and Josh Braun from the U.S. distribution company Submarine.
A four-part series, “Shadow of Truth” raised a public storm when it aired in Israel last March, due to its claims about the murder and subsequent investigation and trial.
The fourth episode, for example, revealed details about a witness identified as “A.K.” – who had previously been largely unknown to the public. The series suggested that A.K. might have been Rada’s real killer rather than Roman Zadorov, the man actually convicted of the crime.
The series was a huge success, with hundreds of thousands subsequently watching it either on YouTube or on HOT’s video-on-demand service. It also became one of the 10 most popular Hebrew search terms on Google last year.
Nevertheless, the series also had its critics in the corridors of power. State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan termed it “a real danger to democracy,” because it sought to undermine faith in the prosecution and the courts. Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, meanwhile, added that people should be wary of “alternative trials” that took place on their TV screens.
Either way, its purchase by Netflix is a badge of honor for the three Israeli creators – Yotam Guendelman, Ari Pines and Mika Timor – since Netflix has positioned itself as a market leader in the field of documentary series based on true crimes.
Its best-known series in the genre is “Making a Murderer,” about Steven Avery, which became last year’s most discussed small-screen documentary.
Netflix purchased several Israeli productions last year, including the documentary films “Presenting Princess Shaw” (about a New Orleans singer and her online collaboration with Israeli musician Kutiman) and “Oriented” – about three gay Palestinian friends in Tel Aviv.
It also purchased the acclaimed political thriller “Fauda” and “Hamidrasha,” about a group of Israeli agents training to work for a Mossad-esque espionage agency.