Productions Of The World – Tel Aviv, Israel

Words and Photos by Sivan Askayo

When people who have never been to Israel find out that I am from Tel Aviv, they tend to think I am from a provincial Middle Eastern city filled with slow-moving camels, armed soldiers, and ancient Biblical monuments. I don’t even know where to begin to prove them wrong. Tel Aviv is in fact a stylish, modern Mediterranean metropolis with chic and bustling cafes, an exciting culture scene, trendy boutiques, and a roaring nightlife. But the real appeal of Tel Aviv is in its people, who love the good life. Ever-crowded cafes buzz with laughter and conversations almost 24/7, and crowds spill out of theaters, music halls, and nightclubs late into the night. The city feels self-confident, even hedonistic at times, but it’s mostly simply alive. Tel Aviv has been developed tremendously in recent years—new high-rise buildings went up, while old buildings have been restored. The contrast of new vs. old, chic vs. conservative, or local vs. international, will make your visiting and shooting experience a successful and enjoyable one.

Geography

Tel Aviv is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline. Immediately north of the ancient port of Jaffa, it lies on land that used to be sand dunes.

Tel Aviv is a 11-12 hours flight from New York and daily direct flights are available. Ben Gurion Airport (www.iaa. gov.il) is close to the city (30 minutes by car or train), with a reliable taxi service available 24/7.

Tel Aviv Israel Geography

Climate

There are barely any days in the year without sunshine, even during winter. Avoid shooting outdoors during summer as humidity and heat start early in the morning and quickly become unbearable.

Tel Aviv Israel Climate
 

Locations

Beaches

Tel aviv’s shore is 14 km long; a new boardwalk runs along the beach from Bat Yam in the south up to Herzliya in the north. The beach was ranked among National Geographic’s world’s top beaches. www.telaviv4fun.com/beaches.html

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Neighborhoods

Jaffa

Jaffa,is one of the oldest port cities in the world and a unique location for photo shoots. The white Jerusalem stone used for the buildings and streets echoes the past, while the galleries, large squares, gardens and quiet alleys make it a perfect setting for romance. The old area of Jaffa includes the ancient port, various historic sites, restored buildings dating back to the Ottoman period, and upscale restaurants, galleries and boutiques. The flea market is buzzing, especially during the weekdays, and crowded with some interesting characters, deals and steals. Take a hike to St. Peter’s Church to see the Tel Aviv skyline.

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Neve Tzedek

Neve Tzedek, the city’s oldest neighborhood, is a colorful oasis with an atmosphere that evokes an artists’ colony. It’s spotted with colored old houses and has lots of great restaurants and wine bars. It’s a beautiful area, both day and night.

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Hatachana

Hatachana is a renovated area next to Neve Tzedek and is home to outdoor restaurants and wine bars, designer boutiques and galleries.
www. hatachana. co.il

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Rothschild Blvd

Rothschild Blvd is a showcase of Bauhaus architecture, with numerous historical buildings beautifully restored. A tree- lined boulevard dotted with benches, outdoor coffee kiosks, and chess tables, this is one of the most charming places to stroll and hang out kerem hateymanim is a small, crumbling neighborhood, which was recently discovered by bohemian Tel Avivians looking for inexpensive housing. The area is now home to boutique hotels and upscale restaurants.

For modern architecture, head over to the diamond district, Azrieli towers, and the southern Kirya.

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Ports

Tel Aviv has three beautiful ports: Jaffa with its fishermen, hidden coffee shops, and large business center; the Gordon Marina has sailboats and yachts docked against the long Tel Aviv beach boardwalk and Gordon pool; while the Tel Aviv port is being renovated to become a cultural center and one of the main hubs of the city’s nightlife.

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Parks

Tel Aviv is rich in parks and green avenues, but its most popular park is the vast Yarkon Park, which boasts lakes, green lawns, wildlife, bike and running paths, and sports facilities.

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Squares

Many squares in Tel Aviv would be perfect locations for a photo shoot. Take for instance the New Train Station’s Square surrounded by coffee shops and boutiques; the Culture Square, located near the opera house and the new Art Museum; or Bialik Square with its beautiful Bauhaus buildings.

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Markets

The bi-weekly arts and crafts market of Nachlat Binyamin has artists selling their creative fares, while the bi-weekly market of Dizengoff square offers foreign and Israeli antiquities. The Carmel Market is the largest outdoors market in Tel Aviv, and sells everything from toiletries and clothes to meats and produces.

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Outside Tel Aviv

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Jerusalem

(45 minutes from Tel Aviv). Stay in Tel Aviv and go to Jerusalem for the day. The birthplace of three major religions, the city is steeped in history and arcs back to the beginning of civilization.

Dead Sea

(1.5 hours away). The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth and a geological phenomenon. Against a backdrop of towering desert mountains, the white, turquoise, blue and green shades of the minerals on the lake present a unique location for photographers.

Sea of Galilee

(2 hours away). The largest freshwater lake in Israel, the Sea of Galilee is surrounded by the Golan Mountains. The nearby city of Tiberius is famous for its promenade, filled with restaurants and hotels.

Golan Mountains

(2.5 hours away). The Golan Heights combine large plateaus covered with farms and wineries, and mountains full of rivers and springs. Its altitude is high enough for the mountain to be covered in snow during winter.

Mount Hermon

(3 hours away). The highest peak in Israel has a winter ski resort that becomes a hot spot for hikers during the remainder of the year. The view is exquisite: on a clear day, you can see the entire north half of the country from there.

Forests

The closest and largest forest is Ben Shemen, located 20 minutes from Tel Aviv. You can also go to Little Switzerland (1.5 hour away), or Park Canada (30 minute away).

Deserts

Two main deserts constitute the southern half of Israel: Judea (1 hour drive from Tel Aviv) and Negev (2 hour away). Their respective landscapes are very varied, from round hills flowing as far as the eye can see, to rugged, sharp cliffs and deep canyons concealing the ancient ruins of Masada or Wadi Kelt.

Virgin Beaches and Sand Dunes

Gaash, Michmoret, Palmahim are only 20 to 30 minutes away from Tel Aviv.

Arab Villages

Abu Gosh, Jaser A-Zarka, Dalyat El Carmel are all less than an hour away.

Reefs

(5 hour drive from Tel Aviv or a 30 minute flight). The southern tip of Israel dips into the Red Sea, where you will find the Eilat coral reefs—a breathtaking location for scuba diving, snorkeling, and underwater filming.

Transportation

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Bus
Egged – www.egged.co.il
Dan – www.dan.co.il
Kavim – www.kavim-t.co.il

Taxi
Each city and almost every town will have its own taxi stations. You can call the station to order a taxi or hail one on the street. The main stations in Tel Aviv are Habima Taxis, Hayarkon Taxis, Hatzafon Taxis, and Nordau Taxis. Most taxi drivers speak at least a few words in English.

When traveling in-town, ask the driver to put on the meter. When taking a taxi out of town, negotiate a set fare.

Bicycle Sharing System
In 2011, Tel Aviv launched Tel-O-Fun, in which 150 stations of bicycles for rent were installed within the city limits and 100 kilometers of bike lanes have been built.

Sherut /Sharing Taxi
“Sherut” are 10-12 seater vans that follow major bus routes and operate between cities. Fares are a set price and are similar to public bus fares, but Sherut go faster and tend to be less crowded. Their operating hours extend longer into the night, but, as they leave only when full, you may be in for a wait. Additionally, their stops are pre-determined and they do not get off route for individual drop offs.

Car or Van Rental
Most rental companies can be found at the airport. During the summer and holidays, you need to book your car well in advance, even as much as a few months ahead.

Make sure to get a weekly rental, as it’s a cheaper option than renting per day. And rent the car in a non-Israeli’s name if possible—you’ll save 15.5% of VAT tax.
Avis – www.avis.co.il
Eldan – www.eldan.co.il

Hertz – www.hertz.co.il
Shlomo Sixt – www.shlomo.co.il

Israel Railways
www.israrail.org.il

 

Internet/Communications

Tel Aviv is quite a wired city. In almost every coffee place you can ask the waiter for their wi- fi info. Most hotels also offer free wi-fi.

Wireless spots in Tel Aviv: www. telavivguide.net/Tel_ Aviv_Overview/Useful_ Information_A-Z/ Wireless_%28wi- fi%29_spots_in_Tel_ Aviv_20060928355/

 

Resturants And Hotels

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Belle & Antoine – http://www.jpost.com/ ArtsAndCulture/FoodAndWine/ Article.aspx?id=264925

Hotel Montefiore – www.hotelmontefiore.co.il

The Varsano –  www.varsano.co.il

Nina Cafe Hotel – www.ninacafehotel.com

Neve Tzedek Hotel –  www.nevetzedekhotel.com

Art Plus Hotel – www.atlas.co.il/art-hotel-tel-aviv

Brown Tel Aviv –  www.browntlv.com

Dan Hotels – www.danhotels.com

Coffee Bar YadHaruzim – www.coffeebar.co.il

Manta Ray – www.mantaray.co.il

Oh Yona – www.yona.be
Dr. Shakshuka – www.drshaksuka.rest-e.co.il

Catit – www.catit.co.il 

Container – www.container.org.il

Messa – www.messa.co.il

Kitchen Market – www.kitchenmarket.rest-e.co.il

Online City Guides

City guide Tel Aviv
www.cityguidetelaviv.com

Time Out Israel
www.digital.timeout.co.il

Phaidon Wallpaper City Guide
Tel Aviv 2012 shows you all the hype places to be and see, with its iPad app out in the next few months.

Additional City Guides
www.telavivarchitecture.com
www.tastetlv.com
www.visit-tlv.com

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Things Not To Forget

Video -PAL

Electricity –  220V with two-pin wall sockets, so an adaptor is needed.

Time – GMT + 1 Hour

Language – Hebrew and Arabic. People often speak English, especially in touristic places like museums, hotels, restaurants and bars.

Timetables for Meals

Breakfast 7-10am

Lunch 12-4pm

Dinner 7-midnight

Office Hours

From 8am- 5pm or 9am-6pm with a one hour lunch break, usually between 12-2pm. Most businesses close on Friday afternoon and re-open on Sunday morning.

Store Hours

From 9 or 10am to 8pm or so. On Friday, stores are open till 3 or 4pm, while they are closed on Saturday. Sunday is a regular weekday.

Cafes and Restaurants

Most stay open for the weekend, although there are many exceptions so it is always wise to check before going out.

Nightclubs/ Bar Hours

Pubs and bars are usually open from 7pm till 2-3am. Nightclubs are open from 10pm

Budget

Exchange rate with the $

US $1= 3.7 Israeli shekels

Where are the best places to exchange money?

Banks can be found on almost every street, especially in shopping areas. While banks are closed from Friday afternoon till Sunday morning, ATMs still work. There are money exchange booths in touristic streets, such as Hayarkon Street, Alenbi Street, or Ibn Gvirol Street.

Tipping Policy:

Tipping in restaurants and cafés is common and in fact, quite expected. The norm is
to leave between 12-15%. For taxis and bars, round up the cost and leave the change.

Visa Requirements

All visitors must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date they are departing the country. Visitors can stay in Israel up to three months from the date of their arrival, in accordance with the conditions of the visa issued to them.

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CREW

The best and easiest way to find your crew is to hire a local production company or a producer, as they can recommend the right people based on your needs and budget.

Most people in the industry work together and know each other well. They often rely on word of mouth, which explains the occasional lack of website.

Some recommendations:

Producer
Doron Lahav – www.doron-lahav.com
Eyal Wand – www.facebook.com/eyal.wand
Mulla Productions – www.mulla.co.il

Location Scout
Idan Bardach, ILocation – www.ilocation.tv/about_en.php

Stylist Agency
Solo Agency – www.solo-agency.co.il
View Agency – www.view-agency.com

Wardrobe Stylist
Maayan Goldman – www.maayangoldman.com
Tal Shiri – www.facebook.com/tal.shiry
Limor Zohar Shavit – www.facebook.com/people/Limor-Zohar-Shavit/611489373
Aviv Avramov – www.avivavramov.com

Mazal Hasonwww.mazalhason.com

Hair Stylist:
Sagi Dahari – www.facebook.com/sagi.dahary
Roy Sych – www.roysych.co.il
Yaniv Katzav – www.yanivkatzav.com

Makeup Artist
Nirit Hirschmann – www.nirithi.com
Shimon Ben Harush – www.sbh-makeup.com
Michal Fussmanwww.facebook.com/michalfs
Avivit Mugrabi – www.facebook.com/avivit.mugrabi

Photo Assistant
Alex Pergament – www.facebook.com/alex.pergament

Photo Equipment Rental
Utopia Camera Services – www.utopiacam.com
Broadcast – www.broadcast.co.il

Studio and Equipment
Jugend – www.jugend.co.il

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