What’s in a name?

If you like movies with cities in their names, Is­rael says Woody Allen could do worse than Jerusalem

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY MOVIES -

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

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