What’s in a name?
If you like movies with cities in their names, Israel says Woody Allen could do worse than Jerusalem
E’S had Manhattan, Midnight in Paris, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and To Rome with Love – and now Israeli officials are trying to persuade legendary US filmmaker Woody Allen to set a movie in the Holy City of Jerusalem.
Both Israeli President Shimon Peres and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat are part of the effort, their offices say, with Barkat even holding a pow-wow with Allen and his one-time muse Diane Keaton this year.
‘‘President Peres always encourages producers and directors to come and make films in Israel,’’ an official says.
‘‘When President Peres met with Woody Allen in New York in March this year, the issue was raised and he encouraged Woody Allen to come and make a film here.’’
Barkat’s spokesman says the mayor also sat down with Allen and Keaton in Manhattan to try to draw him to Jerusalem.
‘‘The mayor met Woody Allen a few months ago at a restaurant with Diane Keaton in Manhattan,’’ municipality spokesman Barak Cohen says.
‘‘He invited him to come to Israel, but also told Woody that we would love for him to entertain the possibility of filming in Jerusalem and would do everything possible to facilitate him coming here.’’
Cohen says the bid to lure Allen came in the context of a larger project to persuade directors and producers to consider filming in Jerusalem.
‘‘Not only is it important to show Jerusalem for all of its beauty and normalcy around the world, but also there’s a well-documented history of films creating name recognition for places around the world,’’ he says.
He acknowledged Jerusalem’s film fund, which provides up to $US400,000 for projects filmed in the Holy City, was unlikely to meet the budget of an average Woody Allen film.
He says tax incentives and the availability of equipment and facilities could draw Allen nonetheless, and that Barkat planned to follow up with the filmmaker in the US.
‘‘The message that we received very clearly is that it’s under consideration,’’ Cohen says.
‘‘Before the end of the year we’ll be back again and we hope to sit down and try to move the process forward.’’
Woody Allen directs the stars of