The Sha’ar Hanegev region, which is known to all of us, is an area including mostly kibbutzim which engage in agriculture, industry and tourism. This region also includes Sapir College, which trains B.A and M.A students in the field of communications and media.
A new initiative developed by the Western Negev Cluster (a joint office for 11 cities and local councils in the western Negev) and Sapir College to characterize the region as a place for developing modern media in the fields of documentary, feature film, commercials, etc. About two weeks ago, I was invited to visit an exhibition of the film festival that took place in the city of Sderot (neighbor of Sha’ar Hanegev). About 300 filmmakers participated in this festival, alongside students, and a “crop” of wonderful films was presented. It turns out that the collaboration yielded joint works of local creators and creators from the center of the country for the production of several films, commercials, children’s films and animation. Alongside the artistic activity, I was interested in the economic side of the media industry, it turns out that only in the past year the entrepreneurs managed to raise NIS 15 million for various productions. As a result of this activity, about 35 new jobs were created, some of them full-time positions (director, screenwriter, etc.) and some as production workers (most of the production workers are students from the Sapir College). It turns out that it was the right decision of the ICA and the Ness Fund to invest and encourage this activity.
At the national level, the government decided to encourage international production through tax refunds for foreign productions, and a database of locations for filming and productions was established. The next time we visit the western Negev, I will be happy to share with you this angle of recent development.