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Director Alma Har’el signs first agreement with Amazon – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studios has struck a first-look TV deal with award-winning director Alma Har’el (Honey boy) and his new production company, Zusa. As part of this pact, Har’el will work with the studio to develop and create new TV series to stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.

The pact formalizes Har’el’s existing relationship with Amazon on the feature film and television side. His film Honey boy for Amazon Studios earned him the 2019 Sundance Jury Special Achievement Award for Craft & Vision. And on International Women’s Day, Amazon Studios announced that Har’el was developing a series of scripted anthologies, Women of the Year. Based on the Time 100 Women of the Year initiative designed by Har’el, the television series will feature a selection of visionary women who have played a pivotal role in the company’s greatest achievements. The Har’el executive is producing the project through her company, Jellywolf.

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Aanch Khaneja
Courtesy of Zusa Productions

At Zusa, Har’el recently appointed Aanch Khaneja to lead TV / Film Development. Khaneja previously developed several feature film projects for Noah Hawley’s 26 Keys and began her career at UTA in the film literature department.

“Alma is a creative force, who brings the same kind of passion to storytelling that she does to uplift the voices and achievements of others,” said Jennifer Salke, director of Amazon Studios. “We are delighted to continue our relationship with Alma and to collaborate on more exciting projects.”

Award-winning documentary and music video maker Har’el made her debut as a narrative feature filmmaker with Honey boy, which received four Independent Spirit Award nominations, including Best Director, and made Har’el the first woman to win the DGA Award for First Feature. She is also the first woman in DGA Awards history to be nominated for both Commercial Director (2018) and Narrative Director (2020).

Limited edition adaptation of Har’el, Lady in the lake, was ordered directly in series by Apple TV +. Based on the eponymous novel, Lady in the lake will play Natalie Portman and Lupita Nyong’o. Har’el created the series, which she will co-write, direct and also produce via Zusa.

Additionally, Har’el is the founder of the nonprofit Free the Work initiative, which launched as Free The Bid in 2016, a searchable database of under-represented creators.

“I’m really grateful for the support Jen Salke has shown me and Free The Work over the years,” Har’el said. “As an immigrant who is finally able to hire artists I admire, I am committed to finding ways to include more global stories and international filmmakers in Zusa’s future endeavors. Being offered a platform to produce, write and direct stories that capture my imagination is a scary dream come true.

Har’el is replaced by WME, Range and Gang Tire Ramer.

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