High Flying in the Holy Land

New movie shows Jerusalem as you've never seen it before.
Israel and the West Bank have never looked this good.
Aug 3, 2011
Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.

Jerusalem and the Holy Land have been the subject of countless books and films over the years. But a new documentary, filmed especially for giant IMAX screens, shows these famous sites like you've never seen them before. The filmmakers even secured permission for an unprecedented aerial shoot throughout Israel and the West Bank.

Jerusalem—which is scheduled for release in 2013—promises to offer new insight into an area that has inspired awe, devotion and conflict for thousands of years. 

You can check out the trailer—which has already been viewed by more than 300,000 people—along with TakePart's interview with Executive Producer Jake Eberts, after the jump:

TakePart: What can audiences expect to see? Where does the film take them?

Jake Eberts: Jerusalem seeks to be an immersive and eye-opening portrait of a city and a land most of us know only through our imaginations. Audiences will experience rarely seen aspects of daily life and high points of the Jerusalem calendar (Sukkot, Pesach, Easter, Ramadan) through the eyes of real-life charismatic young Jerusalemites and their families. The film assumes four distinct perspectives/voices: Jewish, Christian, Muslim and secular. It will also include material that will help place Jerusalem into an appropriate historical and geographical context, including footage from the Galilee, Bethlehem, the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, the Judean desert, the Mediterranean coast and the Sinai.

TP: How extensive were the flyovers of Israel and the West Bank?

JE: For several days during Passover and Easter 2010, we were granted unique permission to film at low altitudes over key sites in both the Old City of Jerusalem, as well as neighborhoods in West and East Jerusalem. In addition, we filmed material along the Mediterranean coast (the cities of Jaffa and Caesarea Maritima), as well as other key sites in the historical and biblical pantheon: Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, Mount Tabor, Jericho, the Jordan River, Masada, the monasteries of Wadi Kelt and Marsaba, Herodium, the Dead Sea and Qumran. 

TP: Why is a film like Jerusalem important? What do you hope audiences take away from it?

JE: Nearly everyone—scientist or historian, student or teacher, Jewish, Christian or Muslim—approaches this crossroads of the world in a different way and with different expectations. The film seeks to increase public understanding and appreciation for Jerusalem’s exceptional historical, spiritual, cultural and artistic uniqueness, as well as some of the surprising intersections between the Abrahamaic faiths. It seeks to do this in an inclusive way, across political, academic and religious lines. Through the unrivaled beauty and visceral nature of the IMAX 3D format, as well as unprecedented access to the Holy sites and little-known parts of the city, audiences will be inspired to reconsider their assumptions about this vital part of the world.

TP: Why do you think Jerusalem, as a place, still inspires so much passion and interest?

JE: For thousands of years this small hilltop city was considered the center of the Earth, a coveted prize of empires. As the crossroads of Eastern and Western civilizations, it changed hands nearly 40 times. Its status as one of the oldest cities in the world has made it a treasure trove for archaeologists, yielding exciting new finds each year.  For most Jews, Christians and Muslims, it is the ultimate meeting place between man and God, and where the world will eventually come to an end. As the heart of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, it demands our continual attention from every media outlet. Finally, perhaps more than any other place on Earth, it is a city that has never lost the power to stir the imagination, whether through oral, biblical, historical or political narratives. It teems with stories.

TP: When we will see Jerusalem in theaters?

JE: We plan to complete the film in late Spring 2013 and release in the Fall of 2013 to IMAX and other Giant Screen 3D cinemas.

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