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HomeEntertainment‘Succession’ Actor Ashley Zukerman, Shekhar Kapur & LevelK Behind ‘Song Of Songs’;...

‘Succession’ Actor Ashley Zukerman, Shekhar Kapur & LevelK Behind ‘Song Of Songs’; Pic Among Slate Of Jewish Australian Projects Backed By New Fund

Andreas Wiseman

EXCLUSIVE: Succession actor Ashley Zukerman is among cast of new feature Song Of Songs, which will be exec-produced by Elizabeth director Shekhar Kapur.

The Anita Lester-directed identity drama, developed by Screen Australia and sold by LevelK, is one of three development projects being backed by a new fund for Jewish Australian features, launched by producer Jamie Bialkower of Jump Street Films.

A second project, called Shoshanna, will star Israeli actors Yael Abecassis and Shlomi Elkabetz, and is being sold by M-Appeal. Scroll down for details on funded projects.

The privately supported fund will go towards stories that advance the depiction of Jewish Australians on screen, by Jewish Australian creatives, with emphasis on authenticity and visibility, explains Bialkower. Financial terms of the backing was not revealed.

The producer says the fund is needed due to a “lack of Jewish narratives being financed in Australia, the lack of support that Jewish artists are receiving at structural and institutional levels, and to counter antisemitism through representation of Jewish stories on screen”.

Jump Street Films is calling for entries from both emerging and established creators and expects the funding capacity to grow in coming months. Bialkower also wants to provide opportunities for Jewish Australian crew at all levels of production.

Jump Street Films is coming off a co-theatrical release in Australia and New Zealand of Anthony Hopkins drama Freud’s Last Session with Sharmill Films. The film has taken AU $850,000 at the local box office to date.

The company says it is also committed to providing more opportunities for female directors. In addition to Lester, Bialkower is currently in development on feature films with directors Miranda Nation, Neasa Hardiman and Romi Trower. 

The company’s new fund will initially support the following three projects:  


Over the seven days of mourning following her grandmother’s death, Miriam forms a forbidden connection with a young Rabbi that sets in motion the unravelling of a complex family reckoning with their identities. The debut feature from acclaimed multidisciplinary artist Anita Lester has been developed with support from Screen Australia, with LevelK on board for international sales. Ashley Zukerman is set to star amongst an all-Jewish cast, with Shekhar Kapur as executive producer.


Hasidic woman grapples with a burgeoning desire for the woman she hires to help care for her ailing husband in Justin Olstein’s debut feature. Winner of the Australian Writers’ Guild Monte Miller Award for Best Feature Screenplay and shortlisted for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, Israeli actors Yael Abecassis and Shlomi Elkabetz are attached to star and Elkabetz will co-produce alongside Galit Cahlon and lead producer Clea Frost. M-Appeal have boarded for international sales. 


Anita Lester’s second feature follows Australian painter Lola Cohen, whose controversial exhibition leads her to accept an invitation to spend a month in Israel’s Golan Heights with renowned American Jewish artist Ivan Moshinsky. As Lola enters the orbit of her invisible mentor, the arrival of Ivan’s son Rene sparks an unlikely love triangle, leading to a poignant exploration of opportunism, conflict and unattainable love, underscored by the enduring power of art. The film will shoot between Australia and Israel.

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