Culture minister Regev demands closer examination of film funds

Israel’s Ministry of Culture is asking Israeli film funds to provide detailed information about the approval process for films, in an apparent attempt to clamp down on those that portray Israel in a negative way.

Apparently led by controversial culture minister, Miri Regev — known for her threats to cut state funding for cultural productions and organizations that appear to be disloyal to the Jewish state — the review will examine how funds approved and rejected film proposals, and the officials involved in making those decisions.

Most film funds receive a significant portion of their budgets from the state.

According to reports in the Hebrew press, the New Fund for Cinema and Television was required to supply information about the approval process for documentary series “Megiddo,” which tells the story of Palestinians in Israeli prisons for security offenses.

“Megiddo” director Itzik Lerner spent years getting permission to film in Megiddo prison, and the result is his three-part series, currently being screened on the YES documentary channel this month.

A source close to the funds said that several film funds have been undergoing a significant audit process over the last few months and were required to supply detailed information to the ministry, in order to have the governmental portion of their budgets approved in January.

The ministry then said they wanted a deeper look at what the funds’ film approval process, going as far back as five years.

“They wanted to know why each film was chosen, and who said yes, and who said no, and why,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The source said the three film funds under question are the Yehoshua Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts, the New Fund for Cinema and Television and the Gesher Multicultural Film Fund.

All three are independently funded and also receive budgets from the Ministry of Culture.

Several recent films that came under Regev’s…

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