Israel’s production profile could expand under new film incentive plan
MK Michael Oren, Israel’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Policy, has announced a three-part plan to expand the country’s production profile and entice more foreign productions to shoot on location.
Labelled ‘Holy-wood’, Oren’s three objectives are as follows: establish a film body within the Finance Ministry to oversee filming permits, provide production grants between 25-35% on the basis of locally incurred expenditures, and implement a new insurance policy to cover productions that are forced to relocate due to security issues.
The last section of Oren’s plan directly addresses the widespread concern that Israel is an unsafe location to shoot in.
Detailing his ambitions, Oren explains: “I have a Hollywood background: I was an assistant to Orson Welles; I worked for some Hollywood productions and I understand the business. I never understood why Israel isn't an international film centre as we seem to tick all the boxes to be one. We have a large range of terrain conditions such as desert, mountains, cities and villages, all within short driving distances... teams skilled in photography and editing, and great hotels that are more than suitable for hosting stars.”
He continues: “I think there is diplomatic value to this project. If Brad Pitt comes here and not Malta, it's a serious blow to the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. If a movie says 'Made in Israel', it's great public diplomacy and an advertisement for Israel.”
Israel hasn’t hosted a major international project since 2016’s Norman, which was shot on location in Tel Aviv. Produced by Blackbird and Cold Iron Pictures, the film stars Richard Gere, Michael Sheen and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
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