×
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

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Box Office: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Soars Toward $35-40 Million Debut

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is swinging into theaters on a high note. Sony-Marvel’s latest output is launching to $42 million from 3,813 North American locations in its debut, though other more conservative estimates place that number at $35.5 million. The animated superhero story picked up $12.6 million on Friday, easily leading the pack for the weekend. [...]

  • Ventana Sur : Cinema226 Closes Four

    Cinema226 Announces Four Intl. Co-Productions, Hints at More (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexico’s Cinema226, run by Marco Antonio Salgado and Sam Guillén, is driving into a raft of Mexico, Argentina and Spain co-productions, playing off the current vibrancy of Mexican film production funding and distribution outlets. Among the projects are titles which have been standouts at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, the next film by Mexico-based Argentine filmmaker [...]

  • Ventana Sur Debates Gender Parity in

    Ventana Sur Debates Gender’s 50/50 in 2020 for Argentina Film Industry

    BUENOS AIRES — Despite recent gains, namely the equality pledge towards 50/50-2020 signed at the Mar del Plata Film Festival on Nov. 12, producer Magalí Nieva, pointed out that no representative from INCAA was present following the apparent resignation of its vice-president Fernando Juan Lima. “We are left without an interlocutor to discuss gender policies [...]

  • Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass

    Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass Attendance, Structural Growth

    BUENOS AIRES — Celebrating its 10th anniversary with a huge hike in attendance to over 4,000 accredited delegates, the 2018 Ventana Sur will go down in history on multiple counts: Sales and pick-ups on movies which combined social comment and entertainment value, increasingly the new foreign-language movie standard; new sections, led by a Proyecta co-production [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content