One frequent question I get asked is how the state sponsorship of popular culture (especially movies and TV) works in other countries aside from the US, since most countries don’t have formal entertainment liaison offices within their government branches. The most common answer is through the use of film commissions and ministries of culture, who provide funding, promotional support, distribution assistance and – sometimes – script consultancy.
I recently wrote a piece for PressTV on Israel’s culture ministry and the wider Israeli state involvement in the 2019 spy thriller The Operative, about Mossad infiltrating Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Essentially, the film is based on a book by a former intelligence officer, and the plot takes the story of Arnon Milchan’s work for LAKAM in the 1970s and 80s, acquiring and smuggling nuclear triggers for use in Israel’s nuclear weapons program, and projected it onto Iran. The film version received funding, script development help and consultancy from Mossad agents.
I also put together a binder of documents from the Israel Film Fund, which details the process applicants have to go through in order to win support, as well as the international co-production agreements between Israel and the UK, Argentina, France, Germany and over a dozen other countries.