The camera is rolling on a fun new online video network about ordinary Israelis and the unique stamp they put on pop culture, from microbrewers to expat American football players, to Tel Aviv’s fashion designers.
Spearheaded by Hollywood producer and ISRAEL21c board member Jonathan Baruch, the new 21see network complements thousands of articles and videos about life in Israel that are available every day on ISRAEL21c’s website.
“We live in a visual world where stories are told through visual media,” says Baruch, founding partner of Rain Management Group/StoryBy Entertainment in Santa Monica, California. “We’ve built a beautiful digital magazine at ISRAEL21c with a lot of great video content, but we wanted to create a new series of films with a different look and feel that would entertain and educate our audience, and give them a chance to experience and engage with Israel in a whole new way.”
The new shows, which launch this week, will uncover Israel’s most unique stories, happening scenes and unconventional characters in the areas of food, fashion, football, social activism and more.
21see will launch three online series this spring, with plans for additional content later in the year.
Baruch has previously produced a range of films, Broadway shows and top-rated television programs — including “Stitchers” and “How to Be a Vampire” – earning a reputation for his special ability to produce and package original content for the digital space.
21see pairs up Baruch’s personal passion for Israel with his professional expertise working with artists, writers, directors and producers to make television shows, movies and digital content.
“As someone who’s been to Israel many, many times, I’ve been fortunate enough not only to see the country but more importantly to meet the people, and I’ve learned that we have a lot of shared values — whether we’re Jews, Christians, Muslims or Druze — that can bring us together,” Baruch says.
“I wanted to do something that looks at all the good things I have gotten to experience, and share them in a way that is fun and interesting and maybe challenges some misconceptions. I want people to learn something they don’t know, while being entertained.”
To create the new 21see video network, Baruch recruited a global team of talent from America, Israel and Australia. Filmmaker-producer Haim Silberstein, director of photography Eyal Sella and video editor Shahar Beeri collaborate with on-screen presenters Kathy Cohen, originally from Australia, and Yogi Roth , a PAC 12/ESPN football analyst, best-selling author (Win Forever) and media personality.
In 21see with Kathy Cohen, the host explores the Israel often not seen at first glance by visitors or in the media – from underground adventures like Midburn (Israel’s version of Burning Man), to colorful characters in Israel’s thriving community of microbrewers, to the country’s high-fashion scene, led by designers such as Ronen Chen.
Yogi Roth hosts two 21see shows, including “What Does it Mean to Love?” in which he searches for the meaning of love among diverse residents of the Holy Land, and “We All Speak Ball,” which follows the lives of players in the Israel Football League.
“What really makes our new films different is the level of talent involved and the global narrative perspective we’re taking. Each video is like a stew, and each of us makes it taste better,” says Baruch.
in Los Angeles, and lived in Australia, France and California before returning home to Israel.
“For instance, the beer scene is crazy here; there are so many boutique labels. And I didn’t know there’s a seventh-generation tattoo artist in Jerusalem. We’re showing the Israeli spin on trends that exist in other places, connecting to a lot of niche things that people like.”
In Israel, six degrees of separation shrink down to one or two, and this project is no exception. Cohen, who works in high-tech and social media and also volunteers for the Israel Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, is a second cousin of Silberstein. He met her only when she moved to Israel from Australia, but he knew she was the right person for the job.
“I did other auditions and didn’t find the right energy in anyone else. Kathy has a lot of energy, she’s very friendly, and she is very inquisitive and game for anything,” he says. “Every episode she finds out new stuff and is amazed about it, and passes that excitement along to the viewer.”
The network will be featured on ISRAEL21c channels, including its website, email newsletter, social-media pages, educators program and Spanish-language site, ISRAEL21c Español.
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