Jerusalem to build film and television complex to attract international productions

Noting major film projects by Natalie Portman and Richard Gere in capital, Barkat says it’s time to make city a global production destination.

May 5, 2015 22:18
1 minute read.

A view of the Old City of Jerusalem.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

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

“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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Portman filmed parts of her directorial debut about celebrated writer Amos Oz in the city’s Nachlaot neighborhood 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 worldclass 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 suitable to house the 5,000 sq.m.

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 past 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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