January 21, 2019

Jerusalem film program focuses on young, aspiring cineastes

Los Angeles may be the home of filmmaking, but Israel isn’t far behind. In recent years, movies made in Israel have been nominated for Oscars in the foreign-film category, and works coming out of that country are being included in film festivals worldwide. 

This summer, young aspiring filmmakers will be able to travel to Israel for the first-ever Jerusalem Film Workshop, a four-week-long program — July 6-31 — for participants ages 18 through 26. The workshop will include filmmaking master classes; lessons on how to use camera, sound and lighting equipment; and will allow students to direct their own short films as well as tour the country and meet with influential directors and producers. Students will reside in the Hebrew University dorms in Jerusalem and attend classes at the Ma’aleh School of Television, Film & the Arts. 

“The history, culture and inner conflicts that exist [in Israel] serve as inspiration for storytelling like few other places in the world,” said Gal Greenspan, operations director and creator of the Jerusalem Film Workshop. “There is really no better city and country to learn this craft.”

Greenspan, CEO of GREENproductions in Israel, started the Jerusalem Film Workshop with his colleagues Roi Kurland and Kate Rosenberg. The three of them have brought in some of the country’s top film professionals, including cinematographer Yaron Scharf of the Oscar-nominated movie “Footnote,” to teach the courses. 

Guy Myerson, a screenwriter and instructor with the program, spoke of Israel’s diverse terrain as ideal for shoots: “We have deserts, forests, beaches, urban settings and ancient walkways, all within a couple hours’ drive from each other, and that really doesn’t exist in many places outside of Israel. We’re also a ‘pro-film’ environment, with the government and authorities working to make our city and country attractive to both local and foreign filmmakers.”

The Jerusalem Film Workshop is for beginners and young filmmakers just starting out. The four-week program costs $6,150 ($5,900 if applicants register before March 8) or $4,550 ($4,150 before March 8) for two different two-week courses focusing on documentary and feature films. Twenty to 30 applicants will be selected.