Barkat Planning International Film and TV Studio for Jerusalem

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Chasing demons in the Old City of Jerusalem, in 'Dig.'Credit: Ronen Akerman

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is planning to build a major film and TV production studio in the capital in order to attract international productions to the city, the Variety website has announced.

He will present his plan to the government on Jerusalem Day in 10 days' time.
The projected production complex is said to have been in planning for the past six years at a cost of at least 50 million shekels ($13 million) in municipal funds.

Variety quoted Yoram Honig, director of the Jerusalem Film Fund, as saying that the production studio will have three goals: working with the Israel Broadcasting Authority on attracting local productions; a potential partnership deal with Hollywood’s Culver Studios; and serving as a magnet to bring more foreign productions to Israel.

Barkat is a major proponent of making Jerusalem a film and television powerhouse. He partnered with Keshet to bring the annual INTV confab to the city and has introduced tax exemotions to lure international film crews to Israel.

His work has begun to pay off. The American series “Dig” was shot in Jerusalem, and Hollywood actress Natalie Portman chose to shoot her directorial debut “A Tale of Love and Darkness” in the city as well.

In addition, Richard Gere arrived in the capital in March to shoot scenes for Joseph Cedar’s film “Oppenheimer.”

“After Richard Gere and Natalie Portman made Hollywood films in Jerusalem, and NBC filmed here last summer for the series ‘Dig,’ now it’s time to move to the next stage in the development of the film industry in the capital,” Barkat said in a statement.

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