Avatar – the Israeli angle

January 6, 2010 - 3:22 PM by

avatarWherever you look these days, it’s ‘Avatar’ this and ‘Avatar’ that. I’m sure it’s a spectacular film, and one of these days, I’ll get around to seeing it. For a posting on the film, see Brian’s earlier entry.

As I was sitting with my cornflakes a couple mornings ago, I got to wondering about whether there was any Israeli connection to the James Cameron blockbuster. With the Israeli presence so ubiquitous in Hollywood and in technology, I figured that an Israeli had to have taken part in some aspect of the 3-D visual celebration.

As an exercise, sort of like 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, I found a list of credits to the film online, and started scrolling down – like in the old days to see if there’s a Jew on the baseball team roster, but this time it was looking for a ‘Mizrahi’, ‘Oded’, or ‘Liav.’

Sure enough, about two thirds of the way down the list of hundreds of names doing countless tasks (what is a chief gaffer anyway?), I came across the heading of Chief Animators, and under that list of some 30 names, there he was – Shahar Levavi. No mistaking him for a Mormon.

A quick search on Google, and I found myself in Shahar’s web site. It turns out that the 34-year-old native of Korazin, a small moshav in the North, has been working as an animator for 11 years in the US, and most recently in New Zealand at Peter Jackson’s studio where he made Lord of the Rings.

It was there, three years ago, that he signed on to be one of the animators for Avatar, after having honed his skills on films like The Chronicles of Narnia and Garfield.

Now, having moved back to Israel and ready to take on the Israeli animation world, Shahar is enjoying the accolades Avatar is receiving around the globe. With an animated achievement like that under her belt, he should be able to write his own ticket.


4 Comments on Avatar – the Israeli angle

  1. Nicky on Thu, Jan 7th 2010 9:13 AM
  2. Nice find!

  3. kate zh on Wed, Jan 13th 2010 2:03 PM
  4. I saw “Avatar” in Haifa! excellent work! Special effects amazing! 3D is a highly

    [...] The blog Israelity reports that one of Avatar’s chief animators was Shahar Levavi, “34-year-old native of Korazin, a small [...]

  5. Scorpio on Fri, Feb 5th 2010 8:36 PM
  6. What is even more important is the infantile anti-Americanism of this visually stunning film.
    The villains of this story, the dispoilers of the “paradise,” are earthlings, identifiably Americans. It’s the usual poisonous crap about the close-to-nature natives confronted by “greedy”, “insensitive and unspiritual” invaders.
    These simpletons (excuse me, Hollywood “geniuses”) have been befouling their own millionaires-row nests for a generation. I wish somebody would force them to start making an honest living.

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