New York Festivals Television & Film Awards Grand Jury Spotlight Interview profiles prominent award-winning Broadcast executives from around the globe. As industry leaders, they understand the elements that go into creating compelling award-winning nonfiction content.
Grand Jury member Michal Itzhaki is Acquisition Manager of Armoza Formats. She started her career working on productions for Keshet, Reshet and HOT, and later went on
to manage local adaptations for a popular Israeli children’s channel. Prior to joining Armoza, Michal also worked at HOT, the Israeli cable platform, managing local and international channels.
Most recently she worked at an Israeli start-up company that creates cross-media experiences for global broadcasters, working closely with channels from Latin America, Europe and Asia to help connect their programming to digital interactive products.
Michal joined Armoza Formats in 2015 as Sales Executive for the Nordic region and Africa and in 2016 she was appointed to her current position as Acquisition Manager.
NY: What are the new creative opportunities for production available and what are you excited about?
Michal Itzhaki: We have been seeing for a while now an increase in demand for content, stemming from a rise in new platforms, and this is providing new opportunities for creators to reach audiences in ways that were not possible just a few years ago.
And although all these new outlets and all the content being made to fill it should lead to more things to get excited about, more often than not it means that there is a lot more of the same. So when I find content that breaks the mold, that is unique in one way or another, it’s very exciting. Whether in the way that the story is told, in the story itself, or in the way it is produced, it’s exciting to see something that stands out from the rest. The last time I saw something like this was with Instababe – this is a new short form teen drama that was “broadcast” in Israel only on Instagram. Both the story and the way in which it is delivered was incredibly relevant for teens, and the series reached 97.2% of Israeli teens on Instagram, showing just how important this content can be and that we can reach the younger audiences if we deliver content in the right way.
NYF: How will storytelling continue to evolve to keep pace with today’s audiences viewing habits?
Michal Itzhaki: I think one of the biggest changes that we will be seeing is in short-form storytelling. With technology playing a bigger part in our lives (for better and worse!) and instant gratification a huge factor in our viewing choices nowadays, content needs to be at our fingertips and must become more innovative and sophisticated to target decreasing attention spans. Short-form will therefore continue to find its rhythm and make its way more into the mainstream, both in regards to the platforms on which we watch content and in the ways in which we tell the story.
NYF: Who has influenced your career either as a mentor or as an inspiration?
Michal Itzhaki: I’m mostly inspired by the strong women who take a lead in empowering themselves, both in and out of our industry. It’s great to see women like Issa Rae, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Reese Witherspoon – who have all broken out of their mold to create
new opportunities for themselves – this is incredibly inspiring to me.
NYF: What goes into your creative process?
Michal Itzhaki: In my role, the creative process revolves around identifying unique stories and voices, and connecting that to what I believe will resonate with our buyers on a global scale. To do this, I first look to connect to the content as both a viewer and avid TV fan. Once I find something that portrays a real truth that will speak to audiences (across any genre), I take it to the next stage, where we as a company cherry-pick only the projects that we fall in love with to take to the international market.