Producer Dafna Prenner on Creativity, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, and the First Lady of Israeli Television, Who Happened to be Her Mom

Dafna Prenner, center, with actor Michael Aloni and actress Irit Kaplan on the set of “The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem.” Photo by Nati Levi

I didn’t know this fact. You probably didn’t, either. Israel sells more scripted TV shows than any other country in the world except for the United Kingdom. I learned that when I visited Dafna Prenner.

On her office wall at Artza Productions is an axe.

Really, an axe?

Because she is tall and blondish, the writer of “The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem” nicknamed Prenner “The Viking” and presented her with an axe as a gag gift.

Prenner’s walls are also covered with classic movie memorabilia, photos of her family and friends, and a row of trophies for various TV shows her company has produced (“There are a lot more of them but these are the ones I keep here,” Prenner explained.)

Dafna Prenner next to some of Artza’s trophies. Photo by Diana Bletter

Along with her partner, Shai Eines, the 52-year-old has produced shows like “Miller’s Crossing,” “Stockholm” and the movie “Kicking Out Shoshana,” which was the Israeli movie debut for Gal “Wonder Woman” Gadot.

During my recent visit to her office in Tel Aviv, far from the city’s trendy shops, cafés and skyscrapers, Prenner was getting ready to shoot the second season of “The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem,” which debuted on Netflix in May to rave reviews.

Dafna Prenner in the costume room at Artza Productions with clothes for “The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem.” Photo by Diana Bletter

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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4 Responses to Producer Dafna Prenner on Creativity, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, and the First Lady of Israeli Television, Who Happened to be Her Mom

  1. Janet Schwarzer says:

    Great article! Here in Florida where we live , I have subscribed to two Israeli televion and movie apps so that I can watch Israeli TV. Thats the only TV basically that I watch. The comedies are histerical and the movies and dramas ate quality entertainment.

    Keep up the good work! (I was just in Israel for 10 days for a family wedding, then we got covid and were stuck in a tel aviv hotel for another 5) Janet Guttenplan Schwarzer

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Jackie Bennett says:

    I read your interview with Dafna Prenner and enjoyed it very much, and we have resolved to watch the series on Netflix. Thanks, Diana. XO, jackie

    Sent from my iPad


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