WEST BANK STORY awarded Oscar

Shared Middle East film school on the way

Monday, 26 February 2007


     Last night, Sunday 25 February 2007, WEST BANK STORY won an Oscar.
     A lot of movie professionals decided it's the best, new live action short movie on Earth right now.
     WEST BANK STORY -- http://westbankstory.com -- is an 18-minute musical comedy.
     There are two competing falafel stands in the West Bank -- Hummus Hut and Kosher King.
      Plus a little singing, a little dancing, and a lot of hummus.
     And a love between David and Fatima -- an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian waitress.

     This love story goes so much deeper.
     It's about the passion and vision of young Ari Sandel, who never gave up on his dream-film.
     When many around him called it too controversial, difficult, impossible.

     Ari could have taken a far easier path to fulfill the requirement for his Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Southern California.
     He could have listened to the pessimists.
     Instead, this new filmmaker put those Palestinian and Israeli women and men on the screen to meet and struggle, to show the absurdity of how we can treat each other so badly.
     And the possibility of discarding what's old and cooperating for the future.
     And even falling in love with each other.

     History will remember last night.
     The most inclusive, international-ever Academy Awards ceremony.
     When the broadcast from the stage of the Oscars to a billion people said "yes" to treating Jews and Palestinians equally.
     "Yes" to the power of film to transform humankind from confrontation to cooperation.
     "Yes" to the the genius and hard work of one exceptional human being,  Ari Sandel and his amazing film team -- some paid "pennies," some "nothing" as devoted volunteers.

     Hear Ari's acceptance talk at http://traubman.igc.org/oscars.mp3 .

    Read more about this story of vision, incredibly hard work, and unprecedented compassion for two peoples, equally.

Published in Ha'aretz -- Monday, 26 February 2007

Musical comedy on West Bank

wins Oscar for best live action short film

 By Nirit Anderman, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service


More from the Oscars about Ari Sandel and WEST BANK STORY


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     Finally, read about how Middle Eastern Arabs and Jews will soon be learning together to make fine movies.

Published in The Forward -- Friday, 19 Jan 2007

Directors Without Borders

Caroline Lagnado


     Jordans King Abdullah II recently announced that his country will partner with the University of Southern Californias School of Cinema-Television to create a new film school.
     The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts will be aimed specifically toward youth of Middle Eastern background and based in the city of Aqaba significant for its proximity to the various nations the school wishes to serve, including Israel and Arab nations.
     The graduate school, which will offer a three-year Master of Fine Arts degree, will start construction on its state-of-the-art facilities this year and will begin admitting students in 2008.
     The campus will feature digital screening rooms, animation labs and sound stages with green-screen and motion-capture abilities, in addition to digital and print library resources.
     The institutes courses will be taught in English, in an attempt to bridge cultural differences between the various Arab speakers and Israeli students while allowing English-speaking specialists to come and teach.
     The king conferred on the project with director Steven Spielberg, who, in a statement, hailed the importance and significance of such a venture for the people and the future of the region.