The Israel Innovation Fund’s (TIIF) flagship program Wine on the Vine—which works to promote and connect people to Israel through Israeli culture and the Israeli wine industry—has just released a new short film series titled ‘Wine with Adam.’ The series features prominent, high-profile guests in conversation with TIIF CEO Adam Scott Bellos over wine from the organization’s partner wineries.
The newly formatted pilot episode of ‘Wine with Adam’ was released on February 12. Filmed in a Jerusalem garden, the episode features Natan Sharansky—famed Israeli politician, human rights activist, and author who spent nine years in Soviet Union prisons during the 1970’s and 80’s—and Professor Gil Troy, a prominent American historian, author, and Zionist thinker. Together with Bellos, the trio drinks a bottle of Gush Etzion Winery’s Spring River Red Blend and delves into a discussion about the new book Sharansky and Troy have recently co-authored, ‘Never Alone.’
While the filmed conversation touches on serious topics such as Jewish peoplehood and the power of identity, Zionism and intersectionality, freedom and slavery, culture versus politics, and body vs. soul. The 14-minute episode is filled with humor, good spirit, and cinematic animation that makes for an enjoyable yet informative viewing experience.
“‘Wine with Adam’ is a new way of cinematic storytelling,” says TIIF CEO Adam Scott Bellos. “We are using film that isn’t propaganda to share and to teach the stories about Israel and Jews that people need to hear and want to. We are experimenting with film to recreate elements of the ‘Zionist Salon’ which existed in the early days of the Zionist movement. By bringing viewers into these high-level a share somewhat interactive conversations about Israel, we hope to create a new type of Zionist renaissance through film.”
The series also has a goal of combatting antisemitism.
“The reason Anti-Semitism exists is that people don’t know true things about Israel and the Jews and the people who run this country. The more people begin to understand and get to know us, the less trouble we will have in this world. ‘Wine with Adam’ is going to open these doors and allow viewers to know the stories of Israel and its people intimately.”
As evidenced in the pilot, the series will be both severe and lighthearted, taking stylistic and conversational inspiration from a range of celebrated TV personalities and talk shows, including James Lipton’s ‘Inside the Score Studio,’ Barbara Walters’ ’20/20,’ and Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘Getting Coffee in Cars with Comedians.’
The series will be produced by The Israel Innovation Fund’s in-house film studio “What If? Studios,” which is headed by award-winning filmmakers Daria Turetski and Ella Kohn. The video series is being distributed in partnership with Jewish News Syndicate (JNS).
Future guests will include Arabic and Islamic history Professor Ze’ev Maghen, Israeli politician Michal Cotler-Wunsh, former Israeli politician Einat Wilf and Israeli columnist and editor Shmuel Rosner, well as Israeli political figures running for office. Gil Troy is also slated to return to the show to discuss various Zionist ideas. The conversations will take place over a different bottle of wine from another Israeli winery in each new episode.