Chinese Movie Star Graces Downtown Jerusalem
It is not every day that downtown Jerusalem is featured in international films. But this past Friday a Chinese film production drew local attention, as movie scenes for what is expected to be a blockbuster movie in China, were shot along the busy Ben Yehuda Street.
The film, The Old Cinderella, is a romantic comedy directed by Lu Chuan that will feature more than 15 minutes of shots depicting Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and the Dead Sea. It stars Chinese film star, Zhang Jingchu known for her role in Rush Hour 3, and top actors Kenji Wu and Pan Yueming.
This was Zhang’s second visit to Israel. The actress visited in January with the rest of the movie production team, which came to scout the country for suitable filming locations.
”The local Israeli production company is very professional and the improv scenes have been amazing thanks to everyone’s support,” said Zhang in the middle of her Friday shoot, referring to Jerusalem’s De Masa café, which provided its venue and waiters for an impromptu scene shot for the film.
Aryeh, one of the café waiters, was asked to play the part of the waiter in the movie. ”I woke up this morning, came to work and did not imagine that I would be playing a role in a Chinese film,” he recalled, smiling.
This is the first Chinese film to be done in collaboration with Israel, with the Israel Ministry of Tourism investing approximately $80,000 to promote the film.
In 2011 and 2012, more than 20,000 Chinese tourists visited Israel. A global survey released in January showed that last year 8 million Chinese selected international tourist destinations according to the countries that they had seen in movies.
The U.S. and Russia are Israel’s largest sources of tourism, with a combination of over 1 million tourists in 2012. Other countries with significant numbers of tourists visiting Israel include France, Germany and Britain.