Ishai Golan talks about the Israeli broadcasting scene and his work

The broadcasting scene in Israel is developing very fast and exports itself abroad. One of the most important example is the series Hatufim (Prisoners of War), directed by Gideon Raff. Hatufim is about three Israeli soldiers who have been kidnapped while in mission in Lebanon and are released seventeen years later, after tough negotiations. Back in Israel, they have to face their new life and live with what they underwent while prisoners. This show inspired the American show, Homeland.

Ishai Golan, is one of the most famous actors in Israel. He starts being known worldwide thanks to Gideon Raff’s series but also with its role in The Slut by Hagar Ben Asher and as the presenter of the documentary series, Street Food Around The World, produced by Ananey Communications. For instance, what does he think about the place of Israel, concerning its movies and its original programs?

How do you feel about Gideon Raff wanting to make a third season of Hatufim?

Ishai Golan: “Well, I can’t wait! I hope it will really happen because I don’t know for sure. I mean, I know that he wants to and I know that everyone wants to. But Gideon Raff is a very very busy man, working on a few projects simultaneously. Hatufim, Prisoners of War, changed my life, it’s one of the things I feel the privileged to be proud of. So I would be overjoyed to do another season!”

Have you seen Homeland?

I. G.: “Yes, of course! I saw the first season!”

Compared to Hatufim, do you think it’s well adapted?

I. G.: “I think it’s very very well adapted! I think that the brilliant thing is that it really is an American series. They managed to adapt the intentions of the series to the American viewer. Which is a different kind of viewer than the Israeli one. And I think they’ve become two different series even though they come from the same “mama” or “papa” or egg. But it’s two very different children who came out of the same parents. But I know that in most of Europe, both series were broadcast. Homeland and Hatufim. And most of the critics really loved and prefered Hatufim over Homeland!”

You act in movies: do you think Israeli movies will export more in the coming years in Europe or in the United States?

I.G.: “For the past four years I think, every year, an Israeli movie was nominated for an Oscar! One of the five nominations reached the Oscars themselves! I think Homeland and Hatufim have changed the world’s perception towards the Israeli TV together. And the fact that Hatufim was broadcast in Hebrew in many countries. Australia, England, Danemark, Holland, they’ve all seen Hatufim in Hebrew and it opened up the world to see drama in Hebrew. In Israel, it has been creating its reputation in TV, all over the world. So the audience is very curious.

But all the movies we made in Israel, quite a few, they were attached to the Cinema Law (חוק הקולנוע). The government passed the law to enforce a budget for the Israeli cinema. Now, this law has been cancelled, and so I don’t know if we will continue to make that many films in the future.”

You act in movies, in series, in the theatre, and in documentaries like Street Food Around the World: what do you prefer?

I.G.: “Woow! That’s a very tough question. Hatufim was the greatest experience of all, to do. But actually, I’m very privileged because I love my work and I love what I do. All of them are different experiences and they all feel different in me. I’m very happy with all of them.

Street Food Around the World starts being famous all around the world, why do you think it works so well?

I.G.: “Well, I think it’s a combination where, it has to do with the Israeli innovation of TV but it doesn’t have Israeli characteristics. And the fact that it’s in English, makes it possible for it to be broadcasted in 140 countries in the world and otherwise it would have never done that. And because of that, everyone can relate to it. You know, I get emails or Facebook messages from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saoudi Arabia, you know, all around the world. Because Street Food kind of breaks all of those nationality barrier. And so I think it’s a combination of having a show that is funny that combines food and it kind of unites humanity. Something that everyone loves, which is food.”

What are you plans?

I.G.: “Most of them are secret but I hopefully will be presenting Street Food 3 very soon and I don’t know. I hope that Hatufim will be made as well. Concerning the movies, it’s in progress, but there’s nothing I can talk about right now.”

For further information:

Street Food around the World has been nominated for ‘Best International Program’ by the fifth annual Taste Awards!

Moreover, as Ishai told me, the Israeli broadcasting scene is developing like it never did and it is creating original and new formats. Lots of professionals talk about it in a video published by Jewish News One. Among them, Sigal Shaldag, Executive Director of the International Business Development at Ananey Communications.

© Natalie Akopian, graphic designer

Ananey Communications develops programs abroad. Lately, they produced Visages d’Israel, depicting Israel in four 52 minutes episodes and recently released Destination Israel both hosted by Karine Lima, and the later, now airing on the French channel, Voyage. The program is divided into three episodes: the history, the nature and the good deals.

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