×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Israeli Film Industry Furious Over Proposed Funding Changes

Representatives of the Israeli film industry are furious over proposed legislation that would drastically change how government funding is distributed, amid ongoing controversy over movies, such as award-winning “Foxtrot,” that politicians say portray Israel in a bad light.

Until now, government backing for movie projects has been distributed through a series of independent film funds. But a series of amendments to Israel’s Film Law, proposed by conservative Culture Minister Miri Regev last week, calls for the establishment of a body of script readers selected by and subordinate to her ministry. According to Regev, the film funds would be forced to hire 70% of their own script readers from this body.

The bill has passed its first reading in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, and could pass into law as early as this week. But in hearings that have been held ahead of voting, industry representatives have expressed their disgust and anger over the proposed changes.

On Monday, members of the Israeli Director’s Guild stormed out of a hearing on the bill in protest. Assaf Amir, chairman of the Israeli Producers Assn., said that lawmakers were seeking to pass a bill “that will destroy the film industry, and are telling us that it will save the film industry.”

A representative of the Israel Democracy Institute also spoke out against the proposed legislation, saying that it would create “political and government intervention” and could lead to “self-censorship and restrictions in the freedom of expression.”

On Sunday, Katriel Schory – the longtime executive director of the Israeli Film Fund, who was honored at the Berlinale earlier this year – slammed the proposals in a Knesset meeting. Schory warned that if the changes were to be approved, Israel could end up “with an image like [autocratic Turkish leader Recep] Erdogan,” which would scare away outside investors.

Regev, who has served as culture minister since 2015, has long been openly and harshly critical of films and projects she disapproves of. Some of her strongest criticism was directed towards last year’s “Foxtrot” by Samuel Maoz, which won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was shortlisted for the foreign-language Academy Award. Angered by the film’s depiction of Israel’s army, Regev vowed last year that films like “Foxtrot,” which “display contempt for the state and its symbols…and play into the hands of our enemies,” would not receive any government funds in the future.

Indeed, Regev said last week that her proposals for reforming the film industry do not go as far as she would like. “If I was at the beginning of my term as minister,” she said last week, “I would have just closed down all the film funds and replaced them with a National Film Institute.”

More Film

  • Karlovy Vary Honorees

    Karlovy Vary Fetes Julianne Moore, Patricia Clarkson, Vladimir Smutny

    The Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival Honorees JULIANNE MOORE, Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema An actress, author and activist, Moore has long earned accolades on her diverse career path. The North Carolina native won a Daytime Emmy with her first major TV role on the soap opera “As the World Turns,” [...]

  • CLOSE QUARTERS – In Disney and

    Korea Box Office: ‘Toy Story 4,' ‘Aladdin’ Share Weekend

    Two Disney releases, “Toy Story 4” and “Aladdin” ruled the weekend box office in Korea. Opening on Thursday, “Toy Story 4” earned $8.54 million from 1.12 million admissions over its four opening days. The animated family adventure film accounted for 32% of the country’s total weekend box office. May release “Aladdin” slipped to second from [...]

  • Lendita Zeqiraj Agas House Movie

    Karlovy Vary Embraces New Voices From the East

    When Karlovy Vary Film Festival’s East of the West competition opened to submissions from the Middle East two years ago, festival artistic director Karel Och noted it was “about time to abandon the political definition of the ‘East of the West’ countries,” long determined by the geographical boundaries hemming in the former Soviet bloc. Though [...]

  • Let There Be Light Movie Marko

    Tough Competition in Spa Town Festival

    When the curtain rises June 28 on the 54th edition of the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival, there will be a conspicuous absence among the 12 titles selected for the main competition: Czech directors. It’s just the second time this decade that the host country has failed to field a single entry in competition, a [...]

  • Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp Join Edgar

    Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp Join Edgar Wright’s ‘Last Night in Soho’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho” has rounded out its cast, with veteran actors Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp among the stars signing on for the latest movie from the “Baby Driver” director. Stamp can currently be seen in Netflix hit “Murder Mystery” with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. Rigg’s recent roles include Olenna Tyrell [...]

  • Zhang Zhao LeEco film

    Zhang Zhao, Chief of Le Chuang (Formerly Le Vision Pictures), Resigns

    Zhang Zhao, the chairman and CEO of Le Chuang Entertainment, formerly known as Le Vision Pictures, has resigned for “personal reasons,” the firm said.    Zhang’s resignation was announced in a statement posted to the firm’s official social media account Monday, which thanked him for his service. “Le Chuang will carry on as before, using [...]

  • Bob Berney

    Bob Berney to Leave Amazon Studios' Head of Marketing and Distribution Position

    Bob Berney, Amazon Studios’ head of marketing and distribution, is stepping down, Variety has confirmed. Berney was hired by Amazon in 2015 and recently reached the end of his four-year contract. His last day will be Friday. During his time at amazon, the film veteran oversaw a number of successful films including “Manchester by the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content