What Next for the Jerusalem Film & Television Fund?

By Goodfellow, Melanie | Screen International, July 31, 2018 | Go to article overview

What Next for the Jerusalem Film & Television Fund?


Goodfellow, Melanie, Screen International


Director Yoram Honig tells Screen why actions speak louder than words for the support body.

Nathan Goshen & Joy Rieger in ‘The Other Story’

The Jerusalem Film & Television Fund may have marked its 10th year of activity in June, but its longtime director Yoram Honig is not one for breaking out the champagne. Asked whether the organisation is planning any celebrations to coincide with this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival (JFF), Honig says: “Nope, actions speak louder than words.”

Honig, who has been at the helm of the fund since its launch in June 2008, says he is more excited about the buzz surrounding the Jerusalem-set festival opener The Unorthodox - which is among a growing list of successful feature productions supported by the fund.

“What is really special is the producer, director and main actor all hail from Jerusalem,” he says. “Most of the Israeli films that come to shoot in the city are from Tel Aviv or outside. This one is truly homegrown.”

As well as supporting the feature financially, the fund also helped the production with location scouting and permissions for the production, which ended up shooting around Jaffa Road.

“That’s one of the services we offer,” says Honig. “The film has a 1980s look and the area around Jaffa Road was the best match for what they needed. It’s a busy area but people in Jerusalem are usually pretty open about film shoots. They’re not as used to them as in Tel Aviv so they still get excited.”

The Unorthodox is among 80 Israeli films and TV series to have shot against the backdrop of Jerusalem and been supported by the fund. It can invest up to $274,000 (ils1m) in local productions, which must in turn then spend $0.35 (ils1.3) in the city for every $0.27 (ils1) provided.

To put this into context, before the fund was created just 30 out of the 700 Israeli films made in the country since 1948 had been shot in Jerusalem.

Other recent recipients include: Amichai Greenberg’s The Testament, which premiered at Venice Film Festival last year and went on to play in arthouse cinemas worldwide; Ofir Raul Graizer’s The Cakemaker, which debuted in Karlovy Vary last year; and local box-office hit Maktub, a recent Netflix acquisition that was released globally in July.

Jerusalem will also hit the big screen worldwide this autumn with Avi Nesher’s The Other Story (previously titled Pilgrim), exploring the tension between secular and religious Judaism in Israel through the intertwined lives of two women from either side of the divide.

Yoram Honig

The film shot on location across Jerusalem last July amid a flare-up in tension in the Old City after an attack around Temple Mount. According to Nesher, the fund helped the production stay on track. “The fund’s people were a joy to work with and their support was far greater than just a financial one,” says the filmmaker. “We shot during a very difficult period and it’s a tribute to the cast and crew’s determination that we were able to complete the film amid the ongoing violence. …

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