When Heroes Fly soared Wednesday night at the inaugural CanneSeries awards, with the Israeli drama taking the top prize for best series at the event’s closing ceremony.
The show from Hostages creator Omri Givon follows a group of war veterans who reunite in the Colombian jungle for a personal mission.
The jury was headed by Safe and The Five creator and showrunner Harlan Coben, who opened the ceremony saying that after watching the competition series this week, “we are indeed living in the golden age of television, no question about it.”
Safe star Michael C. Hall presented the award to Givon, who thanked the cast and crew alongside star Moshe Ashkenazi, who also took the stage. “This show deals with a lot of things, but it does deal with the consequences of war and the price of it. So from up here, if I can just say, let’s make art and not war,” Ashkenazi said to cheers from the audience.
The jury was rounded out by German actress Paula Beer, The Wire star Michael Kenneth Williams, television composer Cristobal Tapia De Veer (Black Mirror), French screenwriter Audrey Fouche (The Returned) and Turkish actress Melisa Sozen, who starred in the Palme d’Or winner Winter Sleep.
The 1960s-set Norwegian drama State of Happiness was the first winner of the night, taking home the best screenplay prize during a loose and funny ceremony peppered with jokes and skits about Friends, Game of Thrones and Lost.
State of Happiness also received best music honors later in the evening.
The special performance prize, given to a cast or ensemble, went to another Israeli drama, the adoption culture-clash story Miguel created by In Treatment writer Daphna Levin and Tom Salama.
The best performance acting honor went to Francesco Montanari for Italy’s mafia drama The Hunter (Il Cacciatore). The actor joked that his agent told him he would be onstage at Cannes in five years, “and here I am! It’s only been three!”
French actress Audrey Fleurot and Borgen star Sidse Babette Knudsen were among those who handed out the awards, with Knudsen performing a very funny skit about not wanting to give away spoilers. The resulting restrictions eventually left her standing on stage speechless.
Among the 10 series in competition were Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Killing Eve, starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer; Gael Garcia Bernal’s political family drama Here on Earth (Aqui en la Tierra); Netflix’s Belgian/Dutch drug drama Undercover; South Korean foster family drama Mother; Germany’s missing-person drama The Typist; and Spanish mystery Felix.