Ayalon asks Hollywood execs to make movies in Israel

Deputy foreign minister meets with delegation, including Michael Rotenberg, in attempt to show democratic, open society.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
November 23, 2010 20:35
1 minute read.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon

Danny Ayalon 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon met with a delegation of senior Hollywood executives on a tour of Israel Tuesday for a conversation about regional politics, making movies in Israel and Ari Ben Cnaan, the fictional Jewish pioneer played by Paul Newman in the 1960 flick Exodus.

The group of silverscreen heavyweights included the likes of Emmy-winner Michael Rotenberg, founder of 3 Arts Entertainment whose credits include Reign Over Me with Adam Sandler and popular US TV shows such as It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia; Doug Robinson, Adam Sandler's producing partner, and David Weber, a prominent entertainment Attorney.

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"It is vitally important that a group like this came and saw Israel with all the complexities and facts for themselves," Ayalon said. "This will help our story to be told and this could become a great tool to brand Israel." The film industry professionals were guests of the Los Angeles Federation which took them to see places like Sderot, the Qassam-stricken town in the south.

"The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles has a steadfast commitment to the state of Israel and to Israel advocacy," Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles President Jay Sanderson said in a statement. "This mission is one of many the Federation sponsors to bring key Hollywood leaders to Israel to support this commitment. " In Israel's early days Hollywood produced several movies depicting the nascent state it in a positive light including Exodus, starring a young Paul Newman as a benevolent Jewish pioneer.

In response to a question by Ayalon whether they would consider shooting movies in Israel, some of the executives said local taxes made making films in the country too expensive.

"Israel should become an attractive place for movie-making and we hope to compete with other locations worldwide," the deputy FM said.

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One of the participants even found time to conduct business during his stay. Adam Berkowitz, who runs the Television Department at CAA, one of the biggest talent agencies in the world, signed Reshet, a local production company, as one of his clients last week.

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