×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Israeli-Palestinian Fighting Puts Entertainment Biz on Edge

Tensions are running high across Israel as the worst fighting in years between Israelis and Palestinians shows no signs of abating, and relentless rocket fire from Gaza has sent citizens of every major city, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, routinely running for cover. The entertainment industry is starting to feel the sting.

At the start of the Jerusalem Film Festival last week, new fest director Noa Regev had no choice but to kick things off by announcing where the bomb shelters are located in the Jerusalem Cinematheque complex.

The JFF, which was banking on 2014 as a comeback event after a handful of difficult years, has seen attendance dip by as much by 20%.

“The screenings have not been empty by any means, but clearly they were hoping this was going to be a great year, and it hasn’t been,” said Jordan Hoffman, a New York-based film writer attending the festival.

Fest’s outdoor opening-night screening was pushed back one week due to the fighting; as the conflict drags on, execs are now saying that the event, rescheduled for Thursday, will have to be held inside.

SEE ALSO: Festival Notebook: Jerusalem Keeps Its Cool Amid Rocket Attacks

Earlier this week, Tel Aviv officials scrubbed a much-anticipated Neil Young concert, also planned for Thursday, citing the 40,000-person outdoor event as too much of a security risk.

Dig,” the upcoming USA drama lensing in Jerusalem, is on a pre-scheduled hiatus, and execs at Keshet Media Group, which developed the program, insist filming has not been affected.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat would not formally comment on how the conflict is affecting film productions in Israel’s capital, instead directing questions to Yoram Honig, director of the Jerusalem Film Fund, who said, “There are no changes to any of our productions. Everything is on schedule as it should be.”

But “Dig” creator Gideon Raff showed some doubts. Speaking at the Summer TCA Press Tour on Monday at the Beverly Hilton, Raff, a Jerusalem native who also executive produced Showtime’s “Homeland,” admitted the conflict had caught him and his team off guard.

“We chose to shoot in Jerusalem because of all the history it has and the secrets buried underground,” he said. “We are assessing and the network and the studio are looking at all options.”

Raff also created “Tyrant,” the freshman Middle East-set drama currently airing on FX from Fox 21, FX Productions, Keshet and Teakwood Lane Productions. Fox 21 recently released a statement saying that the show has temporarily relocated production from Israel to Turkey for safety reasons. Production on the show’s remaining two episodes was scheduled to wrap on July 28, but that date will likely change.

Barkat and Keshet together campaigned furiously to bring “Dig” to Jerusalem, going so far as to create a special 22 million shekel ($6.2 million) production grant to help sweeten the deal. The show, which focuses on an American FBI agent who stumbles on a conspiracy theory while investigating a murder in Jerusalem, is intricately tied to the city and its ancient archeology; should production have to be moved to an alternative location, its creators would be devastated.

“Hopefully everything will calm down and we’ll go back to what we planned,” Raff added at TCA. “If not, we’ll sort it out.”

On Israeli television, the conflict has also started to seep onto the smallscreen. Last week, the producers of Israel’s “Big Brother” — which traditionally imposes a total media blackout on its cast — had to make the decision to inform its cast members of the deteriorating security situation after sirens wailed in the “Big Brother” house’s Jerusalem neighborhood and members were sent scurrying into bomb shelters.

Nearby at the Jerusalem Film Festival, one screening held minutes after an air raid siren went off was almost completely empty, but press and guests alike, Hoffman said, are trying to take it all in stride.

“You know, you go to Sundance and you’re worried you’re going to slip on the ice. And this whole situation is in a whole different category,” he said. “So we’re a little anxious, but trying to joke about it.”

 

 

More Biz

  • Tan FranceUnforgettable Gala, Inside, Los Angeles,

    'Queer Eye' Star Tan France to Host Audiobook Audie Awards

    “Queer Eye” resident style expert Tan France is taking on a slightly different project next month as he hosts the Audie Awards, which honors the best releases and achievements in audiobooks over the past 12 months. The ceremony, which takes place on March 4 in New York, is an annual event organized by the Audio [...]

  • Obit Obituary Placeholder

    Shelly Saltman, Former Fox Sports President and Promoter, Dies at 87

    Sheldon “Shelly” Saltman, the sports promoter behind the Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs tennis match and Evel Knievel’s Snake River Canyon jump, died Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 87. The original president of Fox Sports, Saltman started his career as a sports announcer before moving to promotions at media companies like the Gillette Cavalcade [...]

  • Arista Records, Mogul Vision Launch Joint

    Arista Records, Mogul Vision Launch Joint Venture

    Arista Records and Smokepurpp/ Lil Mosey manager Josh Marshall today announced the launch of Mogul Vision Music, a new joint venture label focused on “breaking extraordinary talent and building artist careers through innovative A&R, branding and marketing strategy,” according to the announcement. Based in New York with Marshall (pictured above left, with Massey) as its CEO, the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Faces Prison, Career Ruin if He Lied About Attack

    Jussie Smollett is facing prison time and the implosion of his career if it turns out he lied about being the target of a hate crime, legal and public relations experts say. “The best thing that Jussie can do is pray and pray a lot,” said Ronn Torossian, founder of 5W Public Relations. “If he [...]

  • Gerrit Meier Variety Strictly Business Podcast

    Listen: Red Bull Practically Invented Branded Entertainment. What's Next?

    With memorable moves like sponsoring Felix Baumgartner’s jump from outer space in 2012 to achieve the world’s farthest ever-parachute drop, Red Bull has been a pioneering force in branded entertainment. While known best for its line of energy drinks, the beverage maker has eschewed traditional marketing for content that blurred the boundaries between advertising and [...]

  • Martin Bandier to Be Honored at

    Martin Bandier to Be Honored at Songwriters Hall of Fame Ceremony

    Martin Bandier, outgoing chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, will be awarded the Visionary Leadership Award at the 50 th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner. The ceremony will take place on Thursday, June 13 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. According to the announcement, the Visionary Leadership Award “acknowledges a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame Board [...]

  • Hong Kong Disneyland Remains in the

    Hong Kong Disneyland Remains in the Red but Reduces Losses

    The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort theme park remained in the red for the fourth straight year, but there are signs of improvement. For the financial year to end-September 2018, HKDL reported $769 million (HK$6 billion) of revenue from 6.7 million visitors, an increase of 8%. Net losses fell from $32 million (HK$291 million) to $6.92 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content