EXCLUSIVE: Writer/directors Doron and Yoav Paz are moving forward on a sequel for the horror fan favorite JeruZalem — with a twist. This time around, the filmmakers are incorporating an extensive virtual reality component in which viewers can immerse themselves in the film. Financier and distributor Epic Pictures Group, headed by CEO Patrick Ewald and Co-Founder Shaked Berenson, greenlighted the film with those elements in place.
This comes as other filmmakers and financiers are looking to virtual reality as the next big thing. Google and IMAX announced last month that they were developing a VR camera and IASTE Local 600 (international cinematographers guild) are talking among themselves about lighting, new factors in blocking and composition and camera and rig choices. Epic also met with possible VR partners at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) which is taking place in Los Angeles.
“There is a trend right now in Israel within the vc world that is doing investment in the VR space,” said Berenson. “The first film when we started working on it was when Google glasses were being talked about and used that. For the second film, we are going to have the virtual reality element which will allow fan an immersive world on VR platforms. The intention of the first movie was to show city of Jerusalem through the eye of the tourist. This one will allow audiences to experience Jerusalem truly first hand.”
JeruZalem was a big festival favorite and an award-winning Israeli point-of-view horror film released by Epic Pictures in January 2016. The film, like the first one, will be shot on location in Israel. The first film featured extensive point-of-view footage from the perspective of smart eyeglasses worn by protagonist Sarah.
The Paz Brothers commented, “The team at Epic Pictures helped us realize our dream of scaring the shit out of people all over the world! We’re thrilled to partner them again for JeruZalem 2 – this time with a virtual reality element that opens up a whole new world of creative opportunities for us as filmmakers.”
Released theatrically in major markets and on digital platforms, the original JeruZalem quickly developed a cult following. The film followed Rachel (played by Jane the Virgin star Yael Grobglas), and her friend Sarah (Danielle Jadelyn), two American girls on vacation in Jerusalem. The two follow Kevin (Yon Tumarkin), a mysterious and handsome anthropology student, into the heart of the Old City. The party is cut short when a biblical prophecy comes to pass on the night of Yom Kippur and Jerusalem’s gate to hell is opened, releasing an epic apocalypse. Trapped between the ancient walls of the holy city, the trio must survive long enough to find a way out as the fury of hell is unleashed upon them.
JeruZalem also did exceptionally well on the film festival circuit, screening at over 23 festivals. The film won the Best Editing and Audience Award and was nominated for Best Israeli Feature at the Jerusalem Film Festival 2015, won the Grand Prize at the Dracula Film Festival 2015 and won the Special Prize of the Jury at the Gerardmer Film Festival 2015.
Additional casting and plot details for JeruZalem 2 will be announced at a later date.