Perhaps inspired by Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman’s directorial debut currently filming in downtown Jerusalem, the city’s municipality announced Thursday that it will invest NIS 22 million to encourage more film and television production within the capital.
“We will strengthen the television and film industry in Jerusalem and bring numerous investments to the city, creating new employment opportunities and attracting more investments and productions,” the municipality said in a statement.
“Additionally, the branding and advertisement of Jerusalem and the State of Israel in the world will bring increased state revenues and to the city, tourism, culture and commerce.”
However, in an important caveat, the city added that the only way projects can qualify for funding is if a minimum of NIS 25m. is invested into the country in return, with an additional NIS 4m. to be spent exclusively in Jerusalem.
Additionally, the municipality is insisting that the main plots of all stories filmed in Jerusalem feature the capital.
The television series Dig, which is co-written by Gideon Raff of the hit Showtime series Homeland and produced by the Israel-based Keshet Media Group, will be the first production to benefit from the initiative, the municipality said.
In a statement, Universal Cable Productions, which produces the program, lauded the agreement as a “true collaboration between the ministers of Economy and Tourism, the deputy minister of finance as well as the Mayor of Jerusalem to foster the expansion and diversification of Israel’s economy.”
Indeed, the municipality said that courting production here will help infuse the economy with hundreds of additional jobs and millions more in added income.
“Worldwide investment will create new employment opportunities and, of course, be a huge branding and advertising opportunity for Jerusalem and Israel, which will lead to growth in tourism, culture and commerce,” the municipality said.
“Thanks to the government ministries of Finance, Tourism, Economy and Diaspora Affairs, who without their great support, this would not have happened.”
Meanwhile, Portman is scheduled to continue filming her directorial debut of Amos Oz’s autobiography A Tale of Love and Death in the capital for the next several weeks.