Avatar – the Israeli angle
Wherever 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.