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Ron Leshem, Amit Cohen Thriller to Spearhead Anton, WestEnd TV Series Slate

Sebastien Raybaud (Left) and Maya Amsellam (Right)

Courtesy of Anton/Dana Copel

Sebastien Raybaud’s production and financing company Anton, which co-financed shows like “His Dark Materials” and “McMafia,” and sales and production company WestEnd Films are to co-fund a development slate of television series.

The first project will be a thriller series from television writers/producers Ron Leshem (“Euphoria,” “No Man’s Land,” “Beaufort,” “Allegiance”) and Amit Cohen (“False Flag,” “No Man’s Land,” “The Gordin Cell”), currently in development.

WestEnd most recently partnered with Leshem and Cohen on Israel’s biggest budget television drama series to date, “Valley of Tears,” which was part of Series Mania’s 2020 official competition, and has recently been sold worldwide to HBO Max.

Anton co-finances an on-going high-end drama fund with the BBC that includes productions such as “Gentleman Jack,” and Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials.” They have also self-commissioned a short-form drama series with the BBC and Clerkenwell Films. Anton recently announced a collaboration with producers Sherry Marsh and Julie Gardner of Bad Wolf America to develop global thriller “The Red Lotus,” from bestselling author Chris Bohjalian into a high-end drama series with Kate Brooke as showrunner. The company has financing agreements with leading European studios including Federation Entertainment and TF1-owned Newen.

The deal was negotiated by Anton’s head of business development, Celia Meirow, and WestEnd Films’ managing director Maya Amsellem.

Leshem and Cohen, who already have an established working relationship with WestEnd, will divide the lead writing responsibilities and executive produce the first project.

Leshem and Cohen are two of the most respected writer-producers in the global television arena. Leshem previously created the original Israeli drama “Euphoria” and went on to develop HBO’s successful English-language adaption starring Zendaya, on which he serves as executive producer, now continuing into Season 2. Zendaya won an Emmy for the role.

Leshem picked up and oversaw the development of “Prisoners of War” (from which “Homeland” was adapted), “The A-Word,” “The Baker & the Beauty” and other critically acclaimed shows. He is a bestselling author, published in 20 languages and a winner of Israel’s top literary award.

Cohen created, wrote and executive produced the top-rated Israeli thriller series “False Flag,” aired worldwide by Fox Networks International, and which Apple is now in production on an English-language series, starring Uma Thurman.

Amsellem stated: “WestEnd has launched its TV arm WeSeries a year ago and we are thrilled to be working with Anton to develop and produce high-end dramas. Our combined expertise and knowledge will be devoted to finding and curating unique stories that will resonate with an international audience.”

Raybaud added: “Ron and Amit are visionary creators whose storytelling speaks to global audiences. We are delighted to be partnering with our talented friends at WestEnd Films to support the development of some ground-breaking new shows.”

Variety's Leo Barraclough contributed to this post.

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