Jerusalem to become film & TV hub to attract international filmmakers

Noting major Hollywood projects by  Richard Gere & Natalie Portman in Jerusalem, Mayor Barkat says time has come to incorporate the Jewish capital into a global production destination.


On the heels of several high-profile Hollywood productions filmed, or filming, in the capital, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced on Tuesday his intention to build a major film and television complex in the city to attract more international filmmakers.

Old city of Jerusalem – Photo: IsraelandStuff/PP

“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.

Portman filmed parts of her directorial debut about celebrated writer Amos Oz in Nachlaot last summer, while Gere began production for a film in Jerusalem in March.

The initiative, Barkat said, is part of his five-year plan, created with world-class economist Prof. Michael Porter, to overhaul Jerusalem’s foundering economy by 2020. He added that more details will be revealed on Sunday at an Israel Museum gala.

On May 17, the mayor said he will submit his plan in its entirety to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the meantime, Barkat said the municipality and Development Authority have begun the process of scouting a location in the city that is suitable to house the 5,000-square-meter state-of-the-art production complex.

He added that City Hall has already received interest from the US’s Culver Studios, among others.

According to Barkat, NIS 50 million of the municipal budget has been invested over the last six years to develop a major film studio, adding that such a studio would offer numerous economic incentives for the capital’s residents.

“Beyond the fact that we will see Jerusalem on screens around the world, investment in the film and television industries is important to the city in terms of employment,” he said. “Now we are taking this successful step forward, and with the establishment of the studio, will create hundreds of jobs.”

Barkat said research has determined that there is great demand among international studios to film in the city.


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