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12 foreign productions win government incentives to film in Israel

In a long-awaited step forward for Israel’s movie industry, 12 foreign movie productions will be filmed in Israel, with government support of NIS 23 million (around $6.5 million) in total.

A committee made up of members of multiple ministries including economy, culture and tourism approved grant requests of 12 production companies, submitted within the first round of the program in Israel.

“The program puts Israel in line with most countries of the world that provide assistance and incentives to encourage film production in their territory,” said Shlomo Attias, director of the Economy Ministry’s Investment and Development Authority who heads the committee that selected the winning productions.

A total of 19 requests were received, totaling NIS 51 million (around $14.5 million), more than twice the budget allocated to the new program.

The production companies involved include Mediawan, Fremantle Media, Warner Bros. (WB), Emjag Productions, Viacom Showtime and other production firms from Canada, the US, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy and other countries. All the foreign production companies are working with local Israeli production firms.

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The production companies had until the end of August 2022 to send in their proposals for the first round of tax incentives that were offered for the next two-year period.

The government ministries partnering in the project believe the tax incentives will positively brand Israel throughout the world as a center for foreign movie and series production. The program will also offer additional employment opportunities to Israeli professionals working on various productions.

While Israel offers dramatic locations and small geographical distances between sites, any change in the security situation can impact local productions, forcing crews to cancel days of filming or create tension on sets employing both Israeli and Palestinian crew members.

In May 2021, during the weeks of violence in mixed Israeli cities amid a war with Gaza, season 3 of Keshet International’s espionage thriller “False Flag” was being filmed in a hospital outside of Tel Aviv. The crew had to cancel several days of shooting due to the fighting.

A spokesperson for the Tourism Ministry said that participating productions would be covered by insurance for such circumstances.