Wednesday, July 11, 2012

L.A. Jewish Journal Launches Campaign for Woody Allen to Film in Israel


Actor/Director/Comedian Woody Allen has been making a film every year, most recently in London, Barcelona, Paris, and this year in Rome. When he's asked in his interviews why he picked those cities, the answer is always the same: they give him money to make the films.

So Rob Eshman, Editor and Publisher of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, came up with an idea. Why not start a campaign and collect funds for Allen to make his next film in Israel?

The Woody Allen Israel Project was launched on July 4 with an editorial written by Eshman in the Jewish Journal and a YouTube video featuring Israeli actress/director Noa Tishby making a direct appeal to Allen to visit Israel and make his next film there.

As Eshman put it in his editorial,
A few weeks ago, Julie and Steve Bram hosted a dinner in their living room for 35 Hollywood movers and shakers and the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat. Between the salad and the salmon, the marketing maven Gary Wexler led a very frank discussion on what it would take to get more American movie production in Jerusalem and, more generally, in Israel.
The discussion dove deep into the intricacies of tax breaks, production incentives, post-production facilities.
“This is very competitive,” one entertainment lawyer said. “You have to be very sophisticated about it.”
It’s competitive because movie production means revenue, jobs and, most important, image. A successful movie shot in your country shapes the way people around the world see that country. “Imagination rules the world,” Napoleon said — and he would know; he tried to rule with cannons and carbines.
But it’s true: There is something powerful and indelible about movies that transcends news and politics.
The New York Times Hollywood reporter Aljean Harmetz once told a story of the time Paul Newman was in Israel filming “Exodus.” Newman was being driven through an Arab town, the site of anti-Israel protests. A barrage of stones hit his car, and angry villagers soon surrounded it. Newman’s minders told the driver to race away, but the actor ordered him to stop. Newman got out of the car. And instantly, the angry mob clamored for photos and autographs of Hollywood’s leading star.
That kind of power is what prompted Israeli President Shimon Peres to meet, on his last visit to Los Angeles, with film industry titans to encourage them to make movies in Israel.
The project is soliciting funds through the crowdsourcing website jewcer.com. Jewcer is a platform that allows project managers (innovators) to finance their ideas through small pledges collected from many funders (jewcers). A project on Jewcer must meet its monetary goal by the deadline set forth by the project innovator, otherwise the project does not get funded. This all-or-nothing funding model reduces risks for all parties involved (project innovator and jewcers) and helps to insure that the project will be able to be completed by the project innovator.

With a goal of raising 9 million dollars by August 23, so far they have pledges for $16,000. Will they reach their goal in time? Stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the Noa Tishby video.

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)



(A tip of the kippah to Esther Kustanowitz for bringing this story to our attention.)