Founded in 2007, the Other Israel Film Festival presents high-quality cinema that inspires conversation and takes an in-depth look into Israeli and Palestinian societies, as well as other underrepresented populations in Israel. The festival explores themes relating to human stories and social justice challenges for Israel and its neighbors. The goal of the festival is to use film as a a catalyst for a dynamic and inclusive forum for exploration of, and dialogue about Israeli and Palestinian societies. With our partners, we aim to engage our community, deepen its view, challenge its perspectives, and drive it to action.
The Other Israel Film Festival uses film to foster social awareness and cultural understanding. The Festival presents dramatic and documentary films, as well as panels and events about history, culture, and identity of underrepresented populations in Israel with a focus on Arab/Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up twenty percent of Israel’s population.
Letter From Our Founder
The Other Israel Film Festival was founded to be a vehicle for cultural change and social insight into the nature of Israel as a democracy and into the complex condition of the lives of minorities living in the Jewish State. The largest minority group within Israel’s midst is its 1.7 million Arabs. In its 70 years of existence, Israel has fostered another group of people who have put down roots in Israel and have born their Hebrew-speaking children within its boundaries – Israel’s 300,000 foreign workers. It is not about the conflict – it is not about taking sides – this festival is about people.
Film can be a powerful tool, it can show new sides, change perceptions, and evoke emotions. Through the use of film, we are provided with a human dimension that extends beyond daily news bulletins. Film can explore the deeper meaning of everyday living. Through these films, the festival aims to present the lives, dreams and strengths of the Arab minority and to show their participation in Israeli life. Foreign workers present a unique condition in Israeli society and we aim to familiarize our audience with the faces of “foreign workers.”
I care deeply about Israel and its future. Growing up in a democratic Jewish state has without any doubt shaped the cultural and national identity of all of its inhabitants and citizens – who know no other home. These films and artistic expressions are paving the way to co-existence and to a new, more inclusive culture in the Middle East.
Who We Are
Carole Zabar – Founder
Mrs. Zabar has been an active supporter of Israeli documentary filmmaking over the last decade and is the founder of the Other Israel Film Festival. As part of her support for Israeli cultural, social, and political causes, Mrs. Zabar serves as a board member of JCC Manhattan, New Israel Fund, and the American Friends of Meretz.
Isaac Zablocki – Executive Director
Isaac Zablocki is the Director of Film Programs at JCC Manhattan and the Director and Co-Founder of ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival – the largest cultural festival of its kind in the world. The festival runs in 25 locations throughout the New York Metro area and in thirteen major cites throughout the country. Isaac is the founder and director of the Israel Film Center, which includes North America’s largest streaming site for Israeli films: IsraelFilmCenterSTREAM.org. He writes for many national publications and lectures on film at esteemed institutions around the world.
Yaara Kedem – Associate Director
Yaara graduated with a degree in Film & Television and Special Education Studies from Tel Aviv University. She spent several years in post-production, program localization, and film brand development for film festivals, interactive gaming, live events, TV networks and children’s programs. She also worked as the Travel Director and Tour Leader at a summer camp and travel program for children and teens with special needs based in Pennsylvania.
Morgan Magid – Program Manager
Morgan Magid is from Princeton Junction, New Jersey and graduated from the University of Missouri with degrees in Documentary Journalism and Sociology. She worked for the distribution company Go2Films from 2016-2020 where she specialized in marketing and festival management. She has also interned at Engel Entertainment, a production company in New York and The Aquarian, an alt-weekly in New Jersey.
Shiri Paamony-Eshel – Outreach Director
Shiri Paamony-Eshel is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, based in NYC, born in Israel. She has dealt with promoting the indigenous African culture and promoting important social values such as unity, peace, creativity and diversity. In 2000, managed an independent Israeli student’s radio station and broadcasting her own radio show, Africa, until 2015. In 2005, worked at the Israeli TV Channel 10, until 2010 when moved to Angola working as a project manager, photographer and filmmaker. In 2014, enrolled in the MFA Social Documentary program at SVA and graduated in June 2016. In 2018, she started two films, one documenting the changing face of NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen, and the other about a 103-year-old woman with a fascinating life story.