Israeli tech helps ‘Jungle Book’ snatch Oscar
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Israeli tech helps ‘Jungle Book’ snatch Oscar

Yokne'am Illit-based Mellanox provided the bandwidth technology for the live action remake

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

The live action remake of 'The Jungle Book' won a 2017 Oscar for its visual effects, and with some help from Israel's Mellanox Technologies (Courtesy 'The Jungle Book')
The live action remake of 'The Jungle Book' won a 2017 Oscar for its visual effects, and with some help from Israel's Mellanox Technologies (Courtesy 'The Jungle Book')

The live action remake of “The Jungle Book,” a 1967 Disney classic, won the Oscar for best visual effects at the 89th Annual Academy Awards Sunday night in Los Angeles.

The film, a huge success at the box office, relied on computer generated imagery, known as CGI, to recreate the tale of Mowgli, the orphaned human boy who is raised by animals.

It also used Mellanox Technologies, an Israeli supplier of data center server and storage system solutions, which offers the bandwidth necessary to stream and distribute films like “The Jungle Book” and previous blockbusters, such as “The Martian,” “Gone Girl,” “X-Men,” “Godzilla” and other films that grow in complexity and pixel-density each year.

“Resolution and effects are getting more complicated,” said Eyal Waldman, founder, CEO and president of the NASDAQ-traded Yokne’am Illit company. “You need telecommunication that is faster; you need more bandwidth to watch movies.”

To highlight the animation and special effects nominees that use Mellanox, the company, known for some of its popular, unconventional online ad videos, made a special tribute video to what the 89th Academy Award nominees would have looked like without technologies like the one it offers.

It’s been about eight years since the film industry began using Mellanox for data storage, said Waldman, contributing to some of the industry’s best work on the screen, including “The Hunger Games,” “Spectre,” “Gravity,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “and “Night at the Museum.”

“We’re very dominant in this market,” he said. “The resolution of movies is just getting better and better and they need us in movies and TV in order to help get that information across faster.”

Waldman is fairly sure that most film companies aren’t aware of Mellanox’s Israel connection; the company is generally present in computers supporting databases, such as financial services companies, banks and artificial intelligence firms.

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Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story credited Mellanox with providing its technology to more than 10 Academy Award-nominated films this Oscar season. A Mellanox spokesperson said the company had made an error in its previous statement.

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