Is $18 million enough to bring Woody Allen to Israel?

Noa Tishby, the Israeli star and activist, shot a video pitching the Woody Allen Israel Project, which needs to crowdsource half the capital

Woody Allen (Photo credit: Colin Swan/CC-BY-SA)
Woody Allen (Photo credit: Colin Swan/CC-BY-SA)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Woody Allen has single-handedly boosted tourism through his cinematic paeans to London, Barcelona, Paris and now Rome, so what would it take to have Allen shoot next movie in Israel?

Rob Eshman figures that for about $18 million, the filmmaker, who patented the persona of the New York Jew, could be persuaded to shoot his next annual production in Israel.

Eshman, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, hit on the idea after reading interviews with Allen following release of his latest movie, “To Rome, With Love.”

Why, reporters asked, did the man who once saw no good reason to ever leave Manhattan start shooting pictures in Europe?

“Well,” Allen told The Wall Street Journal, “the Italians call and say, ‘We’ll pay for it.’” So did Britain, Spain, France and even Russia, but not Israel – so far.

Eshman is serious about his “not-so-crazy” idea, and, with the backing of his staff, is taking the first steps to turn it into reality.

He has enlisted Jewcer, an Internet “crowdfunding” platform to finance projects and ideas “benefiting the global Jewish community and Israel.”

Jay Firestone, the Journal’s webmaster, has produced a video with Noa Tishby, in which the glamorous Israeli star and activist pitches the Woody Allen Israel Project.

Still for all the enthusiasm, the parameters set for the project are pretty daunting. By August 23, at 11:59 p.m., Pacific Time, pledges totaling $9 million must be on hand, and credit cards will not be charged if the total falls short. But if the goal is reached, Eshman is confident that he can find a big Hollywood name to match the popular subscription for a total of $18 million.

As an inducement to less affluent givers, the Jewish Journal has set up a ladder system of awards, ranging from a name mention in the print and online editions of the Journal, to cocktails with Tishby for a $36,000 pledge.

In boosting his project, Eshman argued that the Allen movie “will enable Israel to enter the world’s imagination in a way a billion dollars of hasbara (public relations/propaganda) couldn’t possibly buy.”

Allen reportedly has never been to Israel and he has given no indication how he feels about the newly launched campaign.

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