Once upon a time, in a HOLY land far away... Disney to produce animated series in Jerusalem

Published March 29th, 2015 - 04:00 GMT

The Walt Disney Company is reportedly seeking to produce an animated series in Israel.

The Calcalist newspaper reported that the animation giant was working with Israeli Snowball Studios to open a production facility in Jerusalem.

Snowball confirmed it had applied for a tender with the Jerusalem Film and Television Fund and was working with the municipal government to get favorable tax conditions. It would not confirm the role of Disney due to confidentiality agreements.

“We need to expand and are deciding whether we do it in Israel, in Jerusalem, or expanding the front office in Toronto to a full production facility,” said Snowball Studios founder and general manager Yoni Cohen.

The tender would provide a 35 percent rebate on labor costs, according to Calcalist, which said that Snowball, Israel’s largest animation studio, was already working with Disney, but at a loss.

Winning it “would enable us to build our next branch in Jerusalem and keep the brains from leaving Israel,” Cohen said.

Jerusalem, for its part, is trying to encourage start-ups and industry of all sorts to diversify its economy. The fund is turning to animation – a hi-tech, artistic endeavor – to further that goal.

According to Calcalist, winning the tender could lead to a NIS 5 million ($1.26 million) investment from the Walt Disney Company to produce animation for a new brand. If the work is picked up for US television, it could lead to further inflows from NIS 8m. to NIS 10m. ($2-2.5 million), the financial daily said.

The Jerusalem Post did not independently confirm these figures.


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