Israel is the New Hot Spot for Hollywood Producers


Coming to America

March 11, 2011

By Amy Chozick and Joshua Mitnick


WSJ. 'Homeland,' Showtime. Based on: 'Hatufim,' about Israeli prisoners of war who return home after being held in Syria for 17 years. Translation: For the U.S. version, Showtime cast Claire Danes as a CIA agent and made the POW an American taken captive in Iraq in 2003.

But as the world gets smaller, and original ideas harder to come by, Hollywood producers and agents are looking elsewhere, and they say they’ve found signs of a Promised Land. Israel, though faraway, isolated and war-weary, is culturally more aligned to American TV tastes than almost any other country. The nation’s small, but highly educated, technologically advanced work force largely speaks English and has grown up on U.S. shows and movies, even if their own shows are in Hebrew.

WSJ. The scene on bohemian Shenkin Street, a hangout for movie and TV people in Tel Aviv

“Israel is becoming Hollywood’s cheat sheet,” says Noa Tishby, a celebrity actress and producer in Israel who was born in Tel Aviv and now splits her time between there and Los Angeles. She first took “Be Tipul,” an Israeli drama about weekly therapy sessions, to a U.S. production company and helped broker a deal to sell it to HBO. The result: “In Treatment.”

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