Written by on May 8, 2015. Posted in On Location

Jerusalem Mayor plans new film studio

The Mayor of Jerusalem has announced plans to develop a film studio in his city to help boost the local economy. Jerusalem recently hosted productions from Natalie Portman and Richard Gere, and was also the initial filming location for the US drama series Dig.

Mayor Nir Barkat plans to build a 5,000 sq m studio facility that he says has been six years in the planning.

Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem and filmed her directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness in the city last year. Richard Gere, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Dan Stevens are among the cast of upcoming political drama Oppenheimer Strategies, which also shot in Jerusalem.

“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.

The Dig production team ended up relocating to Croatia and New Mexico when violence flared between Israel and Gaza last summer.

Israel and the ancient Middle East remain popular settings for international productions, but Malta has now largely become the filming location of choice for these stories. Even before last summer’s conflict prompted security concerns for productions considering a Jerusalem shoot, Brad Pitt chose to double Malta for Israel for a major action set piece in his zombie drama World War Z.

Over the past year shoots including classical period pieces The Dovekeepers and Clavius have doubled Malta for the ancient Middle East. The BBC filmed biblical drama The Ark in Morocco, as did TV movie Killing Jesus.

The Jerusalem studio plan will be submitted to Israel’s Prime Minister later this month.


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