He was born and raised in the central Israeli city of Rishon Lezion but is soon traveling to outerspace – in the movies at least.
Israeli producer Ram Bergman, who has become a rising star in Hollywood in recent years thanks to his production of a series of high-quality films like “Looper” and “Don Jon,” has been chosen to produce two of the next three episodes in the “Star Wars” saga, American media reported over the weekend.
“Star Wars: Episode VII,” the film opening the latest trilogy in the epic space series, is shooting in London with the stars of the original trilogy, under the direction of J. J. Abrams, who helmed “Lost”, “Super 8″, and the “Star Trek” reboot.
Abrams, a successful Hollywood director, was expected to direct the next episode in the new and highly anticipated trilogy, but the Deadline Hollywood blog revealed over the weekend that the Walt Disney Studios, which hold the rights to the space saga, had decided that the next two episodes would be written and directed by Rian Johnson (“Brick,” “The Brothers Bloom,” “Looper”).
Johnson is considered one of the most prominent directors in the American independent film industry and all his films have been produced by the Israeli Ram Bergman.
The Walt Disney Company was likely impressed by the success of “Looper,” a science fiction thriller starring Bruce Willis, which was produced with a modest budget and generated more than $176 million around the world, and decided that Johnson and Bergman were ready to move up in Hollywood.
Bergman, 45, traveled to the US after completing his military service and gradually became involved in the world of film production. His decision a decade ago to produce a small independent film called “Brick” based on a script written by Johnson, who was a completely anonymous director at the time, boosted both his and Johnson’s careers.
These days, Bergman is producing actress Natalie Portman’s first film as director, “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” which is based on a 2002 book by Israeli writer Amos Oz and was shot in Jerusalem several months ago.
Tel Aviv is celebrating Gay Pride week this week, culminating in the 16th annual pride parade on Friday through the streets of the city. Pride has expanded greatly in recent years – a parade of several hours has turned into a solid week of celebrations and happenings throughout the city.
The day of the parade will start with an event at Meir Park at 10am. The parade kicks off 1pm, and will proceed through the city along Bograshov and Ben Yehuda Streets, through to Tel Aviv promenade, where the parade ends and the beach party begins.
This year, the parade will end in a new place – Charles Clore Park and the adjacent beach. Dana International, Mei Finegold, Ninet and many more will perform on the main stage at the park. The event will be hosted by international model and actress, Moran Atias.
Various events are going throughout the week leading up to the parade and some even running through to the week after. Ynetnews has compiled some of the hottest and most interesting events – and they are all free of charge. Most of the parties, happenings and cultural events are also open to the general public.
Tel Aviv Cinematheque is hosting the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival for the ninth time.
Some 100 films from around the world will be shown at the festival. And as part of the festival, the “Q Hotel” club will be holding parties and other events every night of the festival.
From noon to sundown, Tel Aviv’s gay beach, the Hilton beach, will be holding free parties, with some of the city’s the best DJs, including a huge party for tourists on Tuesday night.
Head over to the Dizengoff Center from Sunday to Thursday from 10am to 10pm for events including a fashion market and lectures on topics of interest to the LGBT community and the Israeli public.
Seven theatre groups, including the successful drag group “Vintage”, will put on performances at the Gay Center in Meir Park.
On Thursday, June 12, the eve of the parade, a panel called “Pride Cocktail” will be held at Meir Park, and will deal with the LGBT community’s struggle for equal rights. An open discussion for the general public will be held with the participation of ministers and Knesset members.
With a surge of gay-friendly events taking place across the city, culminating on Friday with the famous pride parade, it is no wonder Tel Aviv is known as the gay capital of the Middle East.
Israel may not have had a film in the game this year, but for one Israeli in the industry Oscars 2014 will indeed be a year to remember.
Niv Adiri, from Kfar Vitkin in central Israel, was one of a team of four sound engineers who picked up a golden statuette on Sunday night for his work on the multi-award winning “Gravity.”
The technologically ground-breaking sci-fi blockbuster stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as two astronauts stranded in outer space when their space station is destroyed in a freak debris storm.
“It was a perfect evening,” Adiri told Army Radio on Monday morning. It is an honor to hold that statue. When I heard my name, I couldn’t believe it. I cannot describe the feeling.”
“The movie is so different and so unique, that it gave us a certain edge,” he told the radio. “In space there is no sound so that made my work a little different… the sound needed to add to the movie in a different way.”
“It’s like a dream,” he said, “but apparently it’s real.”
Adiri won the Best Sound Mixing Oscar along with colleagues Skip Lievsay, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro. The team also picked up the British academy award, the BAFTA, for his work on the movie.
“Gravity” took home a total of seven Oscars on Sunday night, including the Best Director award for Alfonso Curaon.
Israel’s Tourism, Finance and Economy ministries, together with the Jerusalem Municipality, have approved a grant to encourage the shooting of mega-budget movie productions and an international TV series by the leading NBC network in Jerusalem.
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.
Benjamin Millepied, French dancer and choreographer married to Oscar-winning Jerusalem-born actress Natalie Portman, announced he will convert to Judaism.
The couple is currently in Israel with their two and a half year old son Aleph, as Portman does casting for her first movie as director, an adaption of Israeli author Amos Oz’s “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”
In an interview with Yedioth Aharonoth Wednesday, the couple said they will be here till the end of March, and Millepied, who said he already “fell in love with the country,” is looking forward to getting to know Portman’s family and the country better. This is only his second time in the country.
He told the paper he is in the middle of the conversion process and looks forward to becoming Jewish.
The two married in a small Jewish ceremony last year in California. They met on the set of the movie Black Swan, where Portman played a self-mutilating ballerina and Millepied was a choreographer and actor.