Hostilities Put Israeli TV Production, Concert Schedules in Question

11:21 PM PST 07/09/2014 by David Caspi
Patrick Harbron/FX
"Tyrant"

A rocket fire warning saw "Big Brother Israel" contestants ushered into a safe room, while Lana Del Rey and Lady Gaga are among the musical acts with upcoming dates in the country.

Following the announcement by Jerusalem Film Festival organizers Wednesday that opening night would be postponed, local productions are feeling the strain of Operation Protective Edge by Israeli Defense Forces, which was launched Tuesday.

FX's freshman series Tyrant is in production outside of Tel Aviv, which has been the the target of rocket attacks from the Hamas governed Gaza Strip. The roughly 300-person crew on the Middle Eastern drama, from Homeland's Gideon Raff and Howard Gordon, is continuing to film, according to a rep for studio Fox 21. (Raff's other venture, USA's upcoming limited series Dig, is also filming around Jerusalem, but the production is already in a pre-scheduled hiatus and has not been affected.)

The majority of local productions are still running, too, as rockets are being successfully intercepted. In most cases, affiliated personnel has been formally advised about nearby shelters in case of an attack.

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Also currently filming outside of Jerusalem in Neve Ilan is Big Brother Israel, which is halfway through its sixth season, dominating as the highest rated show this summer. On Wednesday night's episode of the Keshet adaptation, viewers got to see the house guests being evacuated to the safe room in the studio complex once a regional alarm in the area of Jerusalem was set off by authorities, alerting that a rocket attack was imminent. Big Brother calmly guided the 12 remaining contestants to seek shelter, and later revealed that security tension had risen, provoking tears and anxiety among them.

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The situation is professionally considered a nightmare for upcoming music events, with the industry bracing for incredible losses. Hoping to prevent a repeat of the great disappointment caused by 2006's last minute cancelation of Depeche Mode's long awaited concert in Tel Aviv, local promoter Shuki Weiss released a statement to local media Tuesday asserting that next Thursday's scheduled concert by Neil Young and Crazy Horse "will happen as planned."

Depeche Mode's decision to cancel in 2006 was prompted by The Second Lebanon War which broke on July 12 that year. As promised, the band kicked off its 2009 tour in Israel, and returned again in 2013. San Francisco based rock band The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s local concert is also still set to take place early next week.

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The summer of 2014 has been the busiest ever for the country in terms of high-profile concerts, with The Rolling Stones, Justin Timberlake, The Pixies and Prodigy among the notable acts who performed in Tel Aviv during the past two months. Upcoming acts still schedule to arrive in Israel in the coming weeks include Paul Anka, Lana Del Rey, Cee Lo Green, Lady Gaga and Backstreet Boys, who’s immediately sold out concert at the end of July prompted two additional shows, which sold out as well.

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