President Reuven Rivlin welcomed to his residence today, (Sunday), Israel’s Consul General to Los Angeles, Sam Grundwerg together with a delegation of leading figures from Hollywood led by Adam Berkowitz, Co-Head of the television department at the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and Daniel Grover, Talent Agent at CAA; John Landgraf, General Manager of FX Network; Christophe Riandee, Vice CEO of Gaumont International Television; Doug Herzog, former President of Viacom Music and Entertainment Group; Michael Rotenberg, co-founder and Partner at 3 Arts Entertainment; writer ; and writer and director Gary Alazraki.
The President spoke of the history of television and film in Israel, about his childhood in Jerusalem and the introduction of television to Israel. He praised the great breakthroughs Israelis were making in the industry, and said, “For many years we have been watching your shows, and now you are also watching Israeli shows. We even have Israeli superheroes.”
Mr. Berkowitz spoke of his appreciation for the growing cooperation between the Israeli entertainment industry and Hollywood. He thanked the President for welcoming the delegation, and asked him about his hopes for the future of Israel and the region. The President spoke of the importance of building understanding between all the different communities in Israel.
“We have to face reality,” he told the group, “we are living together here, and must stop feeling we are doomed to live together and understand it is our destiny to live together.”
When asked about the recent award for the Israeli film “Foxtrot” at the Venice Film Festival, the President said, “I did not watch the film but I’m going to watch it, I do not know if I will like it, but I will watch it as I try to watch every Israeli film.”
“In general,” said the President, “I am a great fan of Israeli cinema, which is a symbol of freedom of expression and the strength of Israeli democracy. Israeli cinema is one of the most important ambassadors of Israel in the world because of its quality, and because of the way it reflects different aspects of life in Israel, with all the challenges and magic within it.”
The President concluded by stressing the great responsibility the delegation held in their ability to shape the opinions of people across the globe. He urged them to be partners in building understanding and mutual respect between all peoples.
Photo credit – Mark Neiman (GPO)