It is not every day that downtown Jerusalem is featured in international films. But several weeks ago, a Chinese film production drew local attention, as movie scenes for what is expected to be a blockbuster movie in China were shot along the busy Ben Yehuda Street.
Israeli actress Odeya Rush may be just 15 years old, but she can already mark a major achievement in her career.
Rush, who has been dividing her life between New York and Los Angeles in recent years, has earned a Young Artist Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 2012 feature film “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” directed by Peter Hedges.
The Annual Young Artist Awards ceremony, which will be held in Los Angeles on Sunday, is considered a great starting point for youth performers in Hollywood. Past winners include actresses Winona Ryder and Drew Barrymore.
Rush, who is represented by the ADD agency, has made guest star appearances in television series “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Law and Order: SVU.” In 2012 she was cast as young Mary in “Mary, Mother of the Christ.”
How was the shoot?
A lot of fun, and I got a workout! I was in six-inch heels on a treadmill. That’s a workout. I don’t care what people say.
Pain & Gain is about a couple of bodybuilders who get involved in a kidnapping plot that goes awry. Have you had any run-ins with the law?
Why would I tell the world about my illegal enterprises? I am Russian-Israeli, and I take the Fifth. That’s what I’ll say.
You play Sorina, an exotic dancer who came to America dreaming of fame. Did you have any stripper training?
I did. I got with a pole dancing teacher. It’s hard work! I had to wear knee pads because I’d get so bruised from the pole. I have a new appreciation for dancers.
Are you ready for the massive fame that comes with being a “Bay girl”? It’s kind of like being a Bond girl.
It’s better! The madness still hasn’t hit me. But I have started getting e-mails with love poems. Guys compare me to the sun and the moon, bless their hearts.
There’s a scene that involves a white powdery drug, Dwayne Johnson, and your rear. How many takes was that?
Not that many! Why does that scene leave such an impression on men? It’s literally a split second in the movie!
Hmm, we’ll have to think about that. So how was giving lap dances to Dwayne and Mark Wahlberg?
Awkward! I did the scene with Mark one of the first days. It was like, “Hi.” “Hi.” And I’m flipping my hair in his face.
The guys in the movie lie to your character to impress you. Has a guy ever lied to get your attention?I was at Rite Aid with a runny nose getting cold medicine, and this guy comes up and says, “Hey, I’m doing this movie with Megan Fox now. You should be in it.” I’m like, “Yeah, OK.” It never works.
And that guy was Michael Bay!
The latest film by Israeli director Ari Folman will open the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes International Film Festival next month, organizers said on Friday.
Folman, whose film “The Congress” will be screened on May 16, is no stranger to Cannes.
His anti-war film “Waltz with Bashir” was one of the films selected to compete for the top Palme d’Or prize in 2008.
Adapted from the sci-fi novel “The Futurological Congress” by Polish author Stanislaw Lem, Folman’s latest film is described as part animation and part live action film starring Robin Wright, Paul Giamatti, Jon Hamm, Harvey Keitel, Danny Huston and Frances Fisher.
“Waltz with Bashir”, an animated documentary, told the story of Folman’s bid to unlock his repressed memories of his presence at the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres of Palestinian refugees by an Israeli-backed Christian militia.
The other films in the Directors’ Fortnight will be announced on Tuesday.
The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 15 to 26.
In 2009, the Toronto International Film Festival put a spotlight on Tel Aviv. A group of anti-Israel activists tried to boycott associated films because they were made in Israel. Breslin, who believes that art should be used to bring people together, found this shocking.
“Mark really saw that the best way to fight discrimination and censorship of art by anti-Israel activists is through art itself,” said Igal Hecht, Director of A Universal Language. “He set out to foster dialogue and a deeper understanding among Canadians of Israel and the Middle East through the power of comedy.”
A year later, while planning a tour of Israeli comics at Yuk Yuk’s clubs across Canada, Breslin realized that, at the age of nearly 60, he had never visited Israel. At the suggestion of colleagues, Breslin decided to travel to the Holy Land and bring Yuk Yuk’s to Israel.
Breslin contacted the Israeli embassy and, with the help of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), he led a group of six Canadian comedians on an uncompromising and uncensored tour that aimed to bridge years of conflict through the common medium of comedy. Participants included comics Aaron Berg, Nikki Payne, Jean Paul, Sam Easton, Rebecca Kohler and Mike Khardas.
Directed and produced by Hecht and his company Chutzpa Productions, A Universal Language documents the exciting journey that Yuk Yuk’s founder Mark Breslin and six Canadian comedians have taken. For eight days the cameras documented their exploration of faith, history, and politics. In bringing together Arabs and Jews, the comics demonstrated that laughter is indeed a universal language.
A Universal Language will have its world premiere in the Toronto Jewish Film Festival on Sunday, April 14 at 8:30pm at the Bloor Cinema. To buy tickets, click here.
To view a demo of A Universal Language, click here.
A well-known Chinese production company is set to shoot scenes in Israel this month for a Chinese epic called “Old Cinderella,” which is expected to be a blockbuster movie thanks to stars such as Zhang Jingchu (“Rush Hour 3”) and director Lu Chuan.
More than 15 of the 95 minutes in the movie are expected to feature scenes shot in Israel. During a recce in Israel in January, the production team chose Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea as their locations.
Twenty-two members of the production team and cast will arrive in Israel on April 16 for a week of filming, assisted by a local film production company.
The Tourism Ministry is investing over NIS 300,000 (about $82,300) in the promotion of the movie. Given the influence of the movie industry on the Chinese public, it is thought that the effect of a blockbuster movie shot in Israel will have more significant impact than other alternative marketing activities.
Similar activities in other destinations have generated significant increases in visitor demand to those countries. According to a survey, in 2012 eight million Chinese selected their tourist destination according to those countries they had seen in movies.
The Tourism Ministry offices in China are working in cooperation with the production company to promote tourism to Israel, including a competition whose first prize is a vacation in Israel.
Other marketing activities in March and April include campaigns on Weibo, China’s most popular social website as well as hosting journalists from leading Chinese media in Israel. CNN recently broadcast an interview with the director about the film and another item is scheduled to be broadcast on the making of the film.
China is a significant source of world tourism, with an increase of 20% in outgoing tourism between 2010 and 2011. Some 20,000 tourists have visited Israel from China in the years 2011-2012.
The Tourism Ministry has invested about $500,000 in promoting tourism to Israel, including seminars, marketing agreements and support for wholesalers and tour operators.