Hocus Focus Films specializes in providing comprehensive production services for foriegn production companies filming & shooting in Israel. Profeesional fixers, location huntingand all other aspects of services for foreign production companies filming in Israel.

Location scouting for films in IsraelShooting TV and arial photography in Israelshooting films and TV in Israel

This is a sample of our documentary work.

The Knights Templars

documentary locations - Israel
Sophistory Ltd., a UK based production company, was commissioned by Discovery Europe to create 4 x 30 minutes chapters TV program regarding the Knights Templars.

For 7 days a film crew of 5 people traveled Israel and photographed various Crusaders sites, from the´Star of Jordan´ castle in the Upper Galilee, to the Mar-Saba Monastery at the Desert of Judea.

Rear footage was shot at the Maroonie Mosque in Jerusalem (near the Dome of Rock), a sacred Muslim site closed to film crews (Europeans and Israelis alike) until this time.

Location hunting, securing sites and production services in Israel were coordinated by Micha Kovler, from Hocus Focus Films.

More information and production pictures below.


Galillee locations View from The Star of Jordan at sunrise.
professional film crew Israel The crew filming from The Star of Jordan.
shooting in Israel Jeramy in action at "The Horns of Hattin".
TV production Israel Interviewing Dr. Ronni Ellenblum at the new archeology site of Chastelett

Desert of Judea

filming at Dead Sea Sun set from Kiprus overlooking the Valley of Jericho
Filming in Israel A rear shot of the Monastery of Mar-Saba - in the Palestinian Authority.
TV shoot in Israel A closer look at Mar-Saba, a monastery hidden in the Judea desert.
News coverage in Israel A prayer alcove at the monastery.


Jerusalem locations Shooting at the Old city - The wailing wall and the Dome of Rock.
Jerusalem film locations The entrance to the Dome of Rock - admission by a special permit only.
filming in Jerusalem Rear footage from the Marroni Mosque - what the media is referring to as "The Stables of Solomon".
Admission by special arrangement only.
Israeli film permits The castle of Ein Hemed - a.k.a. Aqua Bella, en route to Jerusalem.


Director :
Israeli producer :
Director of Photography :
Production Manager :
Production Coordinator :
Archeologist :
James Wignall
Micha Kovler
Jeremy Woodro
Tal Ram-On
Bat Chen Kovler
Dr. Ronni Ellenblum

Production Notes:

Sophistory - final Schedule

Sunday - January 23rd.
16:30 - Crew meet @ hotel lobby (Olive Tree) + registration
17:45 - Evening interview with Benjamin Keidar @ Hebrew Univ.
20:00 - production meeting

Monday - January 24th. (Jerusalem)
05:30 - Leaving hotel
06:00 - 07:30 Mount Olives, sunrise (06:20)
07:30 - 08:00 Breakfast
08:30 - 10:30 Stables of Solomon (pending permission).
08:30 - 15:00 Dome of Rock, El Aqza, Wailing wall, Temple platform
15:00 - Aqua Bella, near Jerusalem. (closes @ 16:00)
Crew stays @ Olive Tree - Jerusalem.

Tuesday - January 25th, (Jerusalem area)
05:30 - Breakfast @ hotel & checkout
06:15 - Drive to Mar Saba
07:00 - 13:00 Judean desert shots & Mar-Saba monastery
14:45 - 17:00 sunset @ Snt Georges monastery, Wadi Kelt,
Option: Sugar Mill @ Jericho (leave Wadi Kelt before sunset)

Drive (~ 2 hours) to Guest house in Afikim 066-6754159 (Zali)

Wednesday - January 26th, (Galilee and North)
06:30 - 07:30 Sunrise - Lookout near The Jordan Star
07:30 - 08:30 The Jordan Star
09:00 - 09:30 Tveria Elite - LS Hattin
09:45 - 10:30 Hattin -
11:00 - 11:45 Arable shot (Top)
12:15 - 12:45 Wadi Hamam
13:30 - 16:00 Chastelett (enough time?)
16:00 - Jordan river shots - Yarden Harrari
Option: Kalaat Namrud (change hotel)
Crew Drives to Guest House in Kfar Giladi 1-800 - 760360

Thursday - January 27th, (North and Mediterranean sea)
06:15 - 07:30 The Hunin castle - Naftaly mountains, sunrise
07:30 - 08:30 Naftali Mountains - Mitzpor Amir
09:00 - 10:30 Mitzpe Hussein + biblical Galillee views
11:15 - Option - Saffad old city shots
11:30 - 12:00 Montfort lookout (a must!)
13:30 - 17:30 Acre (enough time?)
18:00 Crew drives to guest house in Nachsholim
20:00 Guest House

Friday - January 28th, (Center, Mediterranean sea)
06:30 - 08:00 Mediterranean sunrise @ Jisr e-zarka or @ Maagan Michael

08:00 - 09:00 Habonim (Kfarlet)
10:00 - 12:30 Cessaria old city
13:30 - 14:30 Kakun Castle
15:30 - 16:30 Migdal Afeq (Mirabell @ antipatrus)


Series OutLine

Program 1
In the year 1119 AD the Order of the Temple of Solomon was founded in Jerusalem by a band of nine Christian knights who had vowed to protect pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. In just a few years the Order had become the elite military spearhead of the medieval catholic church- utterly dedicated to clearing the forces of Islam from the lands once walked upon by Christ.

Program 2
The Knights Templars needed enormous resources to survive in a hostile environment thousands of miles from home, and over the years developed a massive supply network that enveloped nearly every country in Europe. In fact, at the height of its power, the Order of the Temple of Solomon was one of the most powerful corporations in the western world- with vast and diverse interests in sheep farming, shipping and banking.

Program 3
Then suddenly in the year 1307, every Knight Templars in France, all 5000 of them, were arrested in a highly coordinated dawn swoop. Advocates of the King of France sensationally claimed that the Knights Templars were guilty of Heresy and after a lengthy trial, presided over by the Pope himself, the Order was eventually found guilty. The Order of the Temple was officially expunged, all of its property was forfeit and its leaders were burned to death.

Program 4
But the story of the Knights Templars does not end there- in the seven centuries after their destruction a host of rumors, myths and legends have grown up around the legacy of the Order of the Temple. Few people believe that such a powerful corporation could be caught by surprise and totally annihilated, Legends abound of buried treasure, lost maps and mysterious knowledge passed down through the centuries by generations of secret societies. Some of these tales are entirely fictional but not all...

This 4 * 30minute documentary series will tell the full story of one of the most extraordinary organizations the world has ever seen: the warrior monks called the Knights Templars.


-A four part series of 30minute programs-

In 1099 AD the First Crusade captured Jerusalem. In 1118 AD nine Frankish Knights banded together to form an order of warrior monks dedicated to protecting the lives of pilgrims traveling to the Holy sites. They took their name from the Temple of Solomon, overlooked by the Dome of the Rock- their mother church and most sacred emblem.

Within 200 years the Knights Templars had become Christendom´s most powerful religious order, with more than 7000 knights & sergeants, nearly 900 castles and 9000 manors. The Templars had accumulated vast wealth from taxes, papal concessions, donations and the careful management of property. They had become bankers to Europe´s most powerful crowned heads.

The Templars´s great success lead to immense jealousy and rivalry but such was their power and standing they seemed immune from even kings. There was only one solution: the kings must prove they were the greatest sinners on earth. Heresy!

In the early years of the 14th century the French King, Philip IV arrested all 5000 of the Templars in France and charged them with heresy and devil worshipping. Many were burned at the stake. The pope abandoned them and all Templars land and wealth, throughout Europe, was confiscated. The Order was expunged forever. Or was it?

Such was the dramatic end to one of Europe ´most powerful organizations that even now, nearly seven centuries after their destruction, their deeds live on. Many believe that, with their immense political connections & nautical expertise, the Templars spirited away their fantastic treasure- long before the French king struck.

  • Did key Templars escape the massacres of 1314? And with them vast treasure?

  • Did the surviving Templars clandestinely pass their knowledge and wealth down the generations- to the present day?

  • Just what exactly are Templars and Freemasonry links?

  • Could the surviving Knights Templars still guard the Holy Grail?

The myths and legends surrounding this extraordinary military order have endured for centuries. Now finally the truth.

The Knights Templars

Program 1: Origins
Beginning with the First Crusade, one of the most extraordinary expeditions in history, the first program answers many fascinating questions. Who exactly were the Knights Templars? What was the Templars mission? who were their patrons? What was life like on the ´Frontier´, fighting Moors? How did they survive, so many miles from home?
Origins will sow the seeds of doubt & mystery- as the Templars encounter some of the holiest sites on earth and there feed the controversy that would dog them throughout their existence- just how can God ´s monks kill in His name?

Program 2: Corporation
This program tells the incredible story of how the poor warrior monks, protecting pilgrims against the Saracens, provided their Holy Land frontier base with a massive supporting network throughout Europe of castles, manors, farms and thriving shipping lanes.

The Templars organization was without frontiers and constructed a financial system years ahead of its time. It was this vastly powerful Templars corporation that enabled their elite warrior knights to survive on the frontline, the Holy Land, surrounded by the hostile forces of Islam. But beholden to no nation, the Templars could and did play their own hand in the deadly game of Middle Eastern politics- politicking with the enemy meant yet more controversy and so they sowed the seeds of their own downfall.

Program 3: Trial
The awesome power of the Templars engendered fear, envy, greed and suspicion throughout Europe. Why did they keep asking for more money when they were so rich? Why did successive crusades meet with such failure? Did the Templars encourage war to maintain their position of authority? How could such riches not corrupt the souls of men who were supposed to be monks? Their final destruction was swift and brutal.

Program 4: Legend
Legend will tell of buried treasures, forbidden scrolls, lost archives, hidden knowledge, secret societies and ancient family trees... freemasonry and Sir Walter Scott... the Holy Grail and even an attempt by the Templars to buy their own country. (Some say they succeeded... and still run a well-known banking nation with a strange ability to avoid armed conflict.)

Series Format
The series format features:

  • Forceful narration.

  • Stunning footage of Templars sites, battlefields & manuscripts.

  • Detailed computer maps to describe, for the international viewer especially, the pilgrim routes, the Templars territories and the intricacies of important battles.

  • Historically accurate modern re-creations of the Knights themselves.

  • Interviews with established historians

  • Atmospheric design

References: Sophistory e-mail: JamesWignall@compuserve.com