The grant allocations are designed to develop the film industry in the capital and to bring Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular to millions of TV and movie screens around the world.
According to the Tourism Ministry, this will strengthen the local TV and movie industry in Israel and bring significant investment into the areas where the shooting will take place, creating new employment opportunities and attracting investment and other productions.
The Ministry estimates that the series will make a significant contribution to revenue from incoming tourism and will positively affect the numbers of visitors to Israel.
The initiative involves an unprecedented partnership between the Tourism, Finance and Economy ministries, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Film and Television Fund in the Jerusalem Development Authority, bringing the capital into line with other major international cities that work to promote the movie industry and their international image.
The first slice of the grant – up to NIS 14 million (about $4 million) – will be shared accordingly: The Finance Ministry – NIS 4 million; the Tourism Ministry, Economy Ministry, Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Ministry - NIS 3 million each; and the Jerusalem Municipality – NIS 1 million.
In the second round of the grant, worth up to NIS 8 million, the split is as follows: Finance Ministry – NIS 1.9 million; Tourism Ministry, Economy Ministry, Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Ministry - NIS 1.7 million each; and the Jerusalem Municipality – NIS 1 million.
'Ideal set for filming international productions'
According to the agreement, the main storyline will take place in Jerusalem and the production company must invest at least NIS 25 million in Israel, of which NIS 4 million will be invested in Jerusalem. The maximum level of the grant will be 25% of all production costs in Israel.
The first company to benefit from this initiative is the American NBC network, which will begin shooting the detective series "Dig," with an investment of tens of millions of dollars. The series, which will be co-written by Gideon Raff ("Homeland"), will take place in Jerusalem.
The Tourism Ministry noted that the "filming of a series of this caliber is expected to make a significant contribution to tourism in Israel, having a positive influence on public opinion and increases the exposure of Israel on an international scale."
Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau said, "Israel offers the ideal set for filming international productions. The country offers every type of set backdrop that a director could wish for.
The grant allocation is consistent with the intensive marketing activities the Tourism Ministry undertakes to promote Israel as a location for international productions."
A similar example is the recent filming of a Chinese movie blockbuster in Israel, with the support of the Tourism Ministry, which is also expected to increase the number of tourists visiting Israel from China.
Israeli-born Hollywood actress Natalie Portman is in Israel at the moment, filming her directorial debut, an adaptation of the Amos Oz novel "A Tale of Love and Darkness."