Past Festivals - 2015 Guests

Khader Abu Seif
Protagonist, Oriented

After graduating from “Ironi Yod-Beit” high schoolin Jaffa, in which he studied in 1992-2005 Khader got his diploma, with a major in pedagogy. After finishing his studies, Khader began his professional career. First, in 2005-2006, he ran “Aroma Caf锑s branch on Karlibach, TLV. Then, a year later, in 2006-2007, he was a counselor for 6th-11th graders in the Jaffa Scouts. In 2010, Khader began his copywriting studies in the prestigious, one-year copywriting program at “Bezefer”. During that year, in 2010-2011, Khader worked as a content-manager in “Web Done – a company that specializes in creating and managing interactive, company pages. Among their clients, are: HFC in Health Services and more. Also, during 2011 he worked at “Ananei Tikshoret” as a producer for “Nickelodeon Israel” and “MTV Israel”. Then he worked for “Dana Friman Fashion PR” as the manager of office and contacts. Aside from his jobs, Khader was a freelance writer for the “Pride” column in the well known magazine – “Time

Nirit Anderman
Panelist, Freedom of Speech
Nirit Anderman is a journalist at Haaretz Daily Newspaper in Israel where she covers Israeli and international cinema, as well as comics and animation. She graduated from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem with a B.A. in Communication and Philosophy in 1995. Three years later, she started working for Haaretz – Israel’s oldest daily newspaper. After working for a few years as an editor in the news desk and later in “Gallery,” the daily culture supplement, she was appointed film correspondent of Haaretz in 2006.

Amitai Ashkenazi
Director, Till Day's End

Amitai was born in Kibbutz Ma’ayan Zvi in Israel. He graduated from the Film & Television department  of Tel Aviv University. He now works as both a musician and a filmmaker.

Mili Avital
Moderator, Women in Sink

Mili Avital began her career, at the age of 17, in Christopher Hampton’s “Dangerous Liaisons”, at the Cameri Theater of Tel- Aviv. Among her Israeli films, she won the 1992 Israeli Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Me’ever Layam (1991) (aka “Over the Ocean”). Arriving in New York in 1994, she was immediately cast as the female lead in Roland Emmerich’s Stargate (1994), for which she received a Sci-Fi Universe award. Her film work includes: Dead Man (1995) (Jim Jarmusch), Kissing a Fool (1998) (Doug Ellin), Polish Wedding (1998), Animals with the Tollkeeper (1998),The Young Girl and the Monsoon (1999), The Human Stain (2003) (Robert Benton),When Do We Eat? (2005), Colombian Love (2004) (aka “Columbian Love”) (Israel), andNoodle (2007) (Israel / China), for which she received the 2007 Israeli Critics’ Circle Award for Best Actress, the Israeli Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, and Israel’s Person of the Year nomination. Television: “Scheherazade” in the Emmy-nominated ABC miniseries, Arabia

Karym Barhom
Middle East Regional Director, Ultimate Peace (UP)

Karym is an Arab Muslim Israeli citizen, born in Jerusalem in 1986. He grew up in Ein Rafa, a small village located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Karym earned a bachelors degree in Informal Education at Beit Berl college (just outside of Tel Aviv), focusing on Middle East Peace and History. He was first introduced to Ultimate Peace while working at the Peres Center for Peace. He quickly began deep involvement with the newly founded organization in 2010 as a volunteer, and was named Middle East Regional Director of Ultimate Peace in 2013. Karym is responsible for leadership and management of the program in the Middle East, which includes service to 500 youth in over 20 communities within Israel and the West Bank, and facilitation of the 3-year young leadership program that involves 50 multicultural youth.

Laura Bialis
Director, Rock In The Red Zone

Laura’s work as producer and director has ranged from documentaries about human rights and global conflict, to commercial projects. REFUSENIK, Laura’s critically-acclaimed documentary about international human rights campaign to free Soviet Jewry, was theatrically released in 15 cities across the United States, and in over 50 community screenings internationally. It has been broadcast in Israel on IBA Channel 1, and Yes Doco. VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE: Stories from Kosovo, premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival and was broadcast on television in a number of European markets. The film was used by the European Union and NATO to train its staff working to rebuild Kosovo. TAK FOR ALT – Survival of a Human Spirit, the story of Holocaust survivor turned civil rights activist Judy Meisel, first brought Laura’s filmmaking to the attention of viewers across the United States. The film aired on PBS and was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as “one of the outstanding films of

David Broza
Moderator, Rock In The Red Zone

More than a singer/songwriter, David Broza is also well known for his commitment and dedication to several humanitarian causes, predominantly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Beginning in 1977, Broza has been working to bring the message of peace to the masses by joining peace movements, and singing what has become the anthem of the peace process, his hit song, “Yihye Tov”. Since that time, Broza has released over 30 albums in Hebrew, English and Spanish,  many of which have become gold and platinum albums. 2014 saw the release of one of the most challenging albums in Broza’s long career – an album recorded in its entirety in the Palestinian Sabreen Studio in East Jerusalem, with the help of American multi-Grammy Award Winner, singer-songwriter Steve Earle as producer. The collaborative work of the Israeli and Palestinian musicians, sound engineers, camera men, chefs and many others who came to assist and be part of the eight days and nights, produced a beautiful, intimate and special album and documentar

Mohammad Darawshe
Co-Executive Director, Givat Haviva Institute

Mohammad Darawshe is the Director of Planning, Equality and Shared Society at Givat Haviva, the Center for Shared Society in Israel.  Mohammad is Arab with an Israeli passport — a Muslim Palestinian citizen of the Jewish state. Like 20 percent of Israel’s population, he is, as he puts it, a child of both identities. He brings an unexpected way of seeing inside the Middle Eastern present and future.  Previously, from 2005-2013 Mohammad served as the Co-Director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives.  Before that he served as the Elections Campaign Manager for the Democratic Arab Party and later the United Arab List.  Mohammad holds a B.A from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an M.A. in Public Administration from Hartford University, and an M.A. in Peace and Conflict Management from Haifa University.  Mohammad is considered a leading expert on Jewish-Arab relations and has presented lectures and papers at the European parliament, NATO Defense College, the World Economic Forum, Club de Madrid, US Congress, t

Joseph Dorman
Writer, Colliding Dreams

Joseph Dorman is an award-winning independent filmmaker and the founder of Riverside Films. He is a winner of television’s prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for excellence. His most recent film, the award-winning Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness, was called “compelling” and “wonderfully rich,” and had a 100% positive rating from critics on the Rotten Tomatoes website. It was one of the top grossing documentaries of 2011, playing across the country and simultaneously in 14 theaters in the New York City area. Mr. Dorman also wrote and directed the critically acclaimed theatrically released documentary Arguing the World about the controversial sixty-year political journey of the eminent political writers and thinkers Daniel Bell, Irving Howe, Irving Kristol, and Nathan Glazer. The New York Times described it as “enthralling… one of the deepest portraits of… of ideas ever filmed,” and The New Yorker raved “Superb.” It was named one of the best films of 1998 by The New York Ti

Vadim Dumesh
Director, Dirty Business
Originally from Latvia, Vadim got his B.Sc. from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. In 2006, he moved to Tel Aviv to study at the Recanati Graduate School of Management in Tel Aviv Universtity. In 2008, Vadim was accepted to the Production Track of the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem. Since graduating from Sam Spiegel, Vadim has sought to build a versatile skill-set in development, production, and directing various documentary content. The short documentary “Dirty Business” that premiered at Visions Du Reel and the Jerusalem Film Festival is Vadim’s directorial debut.

Tamara Erde
Director, Teaching Ignorance

Tamara Erde is a French-Israeli filmmaker living and working in Paris. She was born in Tel-Aviv on 1982. She graduated from Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem, and later attended the Le Fresnoy Film School, France. Tamara creates in various mediums- documentary and fiction films, performances and video installations. Her work was presented both in many film festivals (Clermont Ferrand, Angelica Spring festival NY, Jerusalem int. Film festival and on) as well as in Gallery spaces and theatrical venues. In addition, Tamara frequently participates in residency programs and international artists projects: New- York, Denmark, England, Spain, south Korea. She often deals in her work with political and social issues focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her works mixes her personal and imaginary reflections, with a documentary approach accompanied by profound researches on the selected themes.

JJ Goldberg
Moderator, Colliding Dreams

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007). He served in the past as U.S. bureau chief of the Israeli news magazine Jerusalem Report, managing editor of The Jewish Week of New York, as a nationally syndicated columnist in Jewish weeklies, as editor in chief of the Labor Zionist monthly Jewish Frontier, as world/national news editor of the daily Home News (now the Home News Tribune) of New Brunswick, New Jersey, and as a metro/police-beat reporter for Hamevaker, a short-lived Hebrew-language newsweekly published for the Israeli émigré community in Los Angeles.

Anat Goren
Director, Mussa

Anat Goren was born on 1973 in Israel and lives in Tel Aviv. She is an anchorwoman, director and producer. Goren studied at the “Koteret” school of Journalism.

Lawrence Kardish
Introduction, Closing Night

Laurence Kardish coordinated the film exhibition program at The Museum of Modern Art of New York for forty-four years. He joined MoMA in 1968 and has organized hundreds of exhibitions including John Cassavetes (1980), Jean-Luc Godard: Son/Image (1992), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1997), Agnès Varda (1998), Im Kwon-Taek (2004). Kardish also organizes annual presentations of new cinema from Germany and Canada and has served on the Selection Committee of the annual New Directors/New Films festival since its inaugural season in 1972. From 2000-2006 he coordinated Projects, devoted to the work of emerging and cutting-edge artists in all media. He has also written for catalogues and publications by MoMA and other film archives and festivals.

Jack Khoury
Panelist, Freedom of Speech

Noa Landau
Panelist, Freedom of Speech

Noa Landau is Haaretz‘s US ‏Special Projects Editor and up to recently was Head of the Haaretz News Department. The first woman to fill this role since the founding of the newspaper in 1919, she was appointed after serving in various senior editorial positions in the news desk. In her last position, she led news coverage of the two recent wars in Gaza, as well as national and regional election campaigns and shepherded the integration of the organization’s web and print operations. Prior to Haaretz, Noa worked as a news reporter and editor in a variety of media outlets in Israel since 2001 – including Galei-Tzahal, Channel 10 and Maariv.

Libby Lenkinski
Moderator, New Generations Dinner

Libby Lenkinski has led outreach and engagement efforts for documentary films, media outfits and human rights organizations in Israel and Palestine for almost a decade. She recently moved back to the United States after 7 years living in Tel Aviv. She was the outreach producer for Sundance Award-winning documentary The Law in These Parts and worked with Just Vision on Israeli engagement for Puma Impact Award-winner Budrus. Libby consults for +972 Magazine, an online magazine that brings progressive voices from Israel and Palestine and serves on the Board of Comet-ME, an organization that provides renewable energy systems to off-the-grid Palestinian communities in the West Bank. She currently works as Field Director for the Western US at the New Israel Fund (NIF) and is based in the Bay Area.

Joy Levitt
Panel, The Voice of Peace

Joy Levitt is an American rabbi and from 1987 to 1989 was the first female president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. Levitt is also the founder of the Jewish Journey Project, an initiative that attempts to replace individual synagogue schools (in Manhattan) with an elective-driven communal coalition. She and her husband Rabbi Michael Strassfeld are coeditors of the A Night of Questions Passover Haggadah, published by the Reconstructionist Press. She is currently the Manhattan Jewish Community Center’s Executive Director. In 2008 the PBS series “The Jewish Americans” had her as a featured commentator. In 2010 she was named one of fifty of the most influential rabbis in America by The Sisterhood, The Jewish Daily Forward’s women’s issues blog. She was also named by Newsweek (in 2010 and 2011) as one of the most influential rabbis in America. In 1975 she earned a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, followed by a master’s degree from New York University in 1976 and a rabbinical degree from t

Mor Loushy
Director, Censored Voices

Mor Loushy graduated from Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in 2007 and has been working as a freelancer ever since. Her debut film, Israel Ltd, had its world premiere at IDFA 2009 (Yes, VPRO, Radio-Canada, Knowledge- Canada) and has been broadcast in 10 countries worldwide (Yleisradio OY, VRT, RTVS-Slovenia, Radio Télévision Suisse, Planete Poland). Her latest documentary film Censored Voices (2015) has premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and Berlinale and is expected to release theatrically this fall.

Yoav & Doron Paz
Co-Writers, Directors & Producers, JeruZalem

The Paz brothers were born in Israel and raised in Netanya. As the 3rd generation of film and theater directors in their family, Yoav (born 1976) and Doron (born 1978) started working in the film industry at an early age. Their first steps were as video editors and they soon started to direct TV promotions for the major broadcasting channels in Israel. After graduating from Tel Aviv University’s film school and after many years directing music videos, commercials and TV promotions, they started working as creative managers for the Israeli cable networks HOT, JETIX, and The Israeli Music Channel. The Paz brothers then started writing and directing the TV shows “Bad Girls”, “15 Min.,” “Exposed,” and “Asfur,” (co-directors) and “Metim Lerega” (directors). Their first critically acclaimed feature film Phobidilia made its world premiere at the Toronto and Berlin film festivals, and their second feature film JeruZalem (2015) had his world premiere at Fantasia Film Festival-Montreal

Chaim Peri
Panelist, Mussa

Chaim Peri has served as a visionary educator and advocate for vulnerable youth in Israel for more than three decades, touching the lives of thousands of at-risk children, both immigrant and Israeli-born. Today, he serves as Director-Emeritus of Yemin Orde Youth Village, a multicultural global community of 440 at-risk and immigrant youth. Chaim also serves as the Founder of Yemin Orde Educational Initiatives, an educational endeavor aimed at rejuvenating 27 youth villages and high schools throughout Israel, based on the philosophy and methodology developed at Yemin Orde Youth Village. His accomplishments include the establishment of the Shvut Am Institute at Yemin Orde, which addresses the identity conflicts of adolescent immigrants; initiating the steering center of Ethiopian Educational Affairs at the Ministry of Education and founding Israel’s first premilitary leadership program specifically designated for immigrant youth in Hatzor, in the Upper Galilee. Chaim has been recognized for his work on behalf

George Robinson
Panelist, Freedom of Speech

George Robinson is the film critic for Jewish Week, the largest circulation Jewish newspaper in North America. He has taught film at several New York area colleges, has served as critic-in-residence at the Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival and the Rockland County Jewish Film Festival, and scholar-in-residence at JCCs and synagogues around the Northeast. Mr. Robinson is the author of the acclaimed books Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals, and Essential Torah: A Complete Guide to the Five Books of Moses, and was  senior contributing editor to the Blockbuster Video Guide to Movies on Tapefor the five years of its existence.

Oren Rudavsky
Director, Colliding Dreams

Oren Rudavsky is an award-winning documentary filmmaker specializing in work on religion outside the mainstream. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1979. Oren Rudavsky is in post-production on The Zionist Idea, a feature-length documentary supported by a media grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was the producer of media for the Russian Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, which opened in Moscow in 2012. He has received two National Endowment for the Arts filmmaker awards, three National Endowment for the Humanities grants, several New York State Council for the Arts awards, and many other awards and commendations. His film A Life Apart: Hasidism in America was short-listed for the Academy Awards and his film Hiding and Seeking was nominated for an Independent Spirit award. He completed his first fiction feature as Producer/Writer/Director on The Treatment, starring Chris Eigeman, Ian Holm and Famke Janssen in 2006. The film premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded Be

Tsafi Saar
Panelist, Voice of Change and Jerusalem Boxing Club

Tsafi Saar is a journalist at “Haaretz” daily newspaper, writing a weekly column about feminism and gender at “Galleria Shishi,” the cultural weekend edition.

Chen & Anat Shelach
Director & Protagonist, Partner With The Enemy

Chen and Anat are from Kibbutz Mizrah. For years, Anat managed the division of Jordan-Israel commerce for a major logistics company. In 2011, she partnered with Rola Srouji, a businesswoman from Ramallah. Together, they own and manage Unlimited Logistics, a company that specializes in transporting commodities to and from the Palestinian Territories via Israeli ports. Chen directed the film “Partner with the Enemy,” a documentary about Anat and Rola Srouji’s business and relationship.

Daniel Sokatch
Moderator, Oriented

Daniel J. Sokatch is the Chief Executive Officer of the New Israel Fund (NIF), the leading organization committed to equality and democracy for all Israelis. Before joining NIF, Sokatch served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. Prior to his tenure at Federation, he served as the founding Executive Director of the Los Angeles based Progressive Jewish Alliance. In recognition of his leadership, Sokatch has been named to the Forward newspaper’s “Forward 50,” an annual list of the fifty leading Jewish decision-makers and opinion-shapers, in 2002, 2005 and 2008 and 2010. Daniel has an MA from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, a JD from Boston College Law School, and a BA from Brandeis University. He is married with two daughters and resides in San Francisco.

Meg Sullivan
Moderator, Teaching Ignorance

Meg Sullivan is the Co-Founder and Director of Project Harmony Israel, an English immersion summer camp for Arab and Jewish youth in Jerusalem developed in partnership with the Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel. Since Project Harmony’s founding in 2010, camp has grown from 25 to over 100 participants ages 8-17, and serves both children from the Hand in Hand Max Rayne School in Jerusalem and others from the Jerusalem area. Meg holds a BA from the University of Chicago and an MS in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University, and in addition to her work in Jerusalem is also the Program Director for the Jewish Journey Project (an initiative of JCC Manhattan). Meg is a native New Yorker.

Sara Tsifroni
Director, Arabic Movie

Sara is an M.A in Sociology and Anthropology from TLVU (2005), an  award winner researcher (Docaviv 2014), and founder of Cinema North –  the northern filmmakers forum, which promotes and supports filmmakers from the northern periphery in Israel (2012). Sara worked as a journalist and news reporter for several leading newspapers. Since 1998, she was a researcher and a content editor on the Channel 2 Morning show and on several documentary projects led and directed by top television journalists and documentarists in Israel. Arabic Movie (2015) is her first film as a director.

Avi Vaknin
Protagonist, Rock In The Red Zone

Avi Vaknin is a singer, composer, writer and music producer, born and raised in Sderot, Israel. His critically acclaimed debut album Square of the Lost was published in the summer of 2008. Vaknin has a unique voice that sounds rough and angelic, with fragile vocals and delightful melodies, with ethnic colors and soul music. For ten years, Vaknin managed Sderock, a music club and rehearsal space for teenagers that cultivates young artists in Sderot. Using this framework, he created master classes, bringing major Israeli artists from the industry to work with Sderot’s youth. Avi produced two albums with bands from Sderock: The Record Project (2001) and The Hope Project (2007).  From 2009 through 2012, Vaknin collaborated with Israeli music legend Shlomo Artzi on his album Happiness Express. In 2014 he released a second album, First Light, which also earned him praise from critics and several of its singles have been featured widely on Israeli radio. Vaknin has composed several successful film scores for dire

Helen Yanovsky
Director, Jerusalem Boxing Club

Helen Yanovsky is a Jerusalem based documentary filmmaker with a BA from the Theatre and Film Georgia State university in Tbilisi, Georgia and an MFA degree in Film Directing from the Tel Aviv University. Since completing her first short documentary in 2009, “Neve Sha’anan Street”, Helen has been working in the documentary film industry as a cinematographer, while working on her debut feature length film, “Jerusalem Boxing Club”. The film’s premiere was at the 2015 Jerusalem Film Festival.

Iris Zaki
Director, Women In Sink

After several years in the Israeli media industry, Iris moved to London in 2009 to study documentary filmmaking. Her award-winning debut film, My Kosher Shifts (2011) – about an orthodox Jewish hotel in London – has screened worldwide, and has been bought by universities and ethnographic archives. In 2013, she commenced a practice-based PhD in documentary filmmaking. Her research explores her own innovative documentary filmmaking technique, focusing on closed communities.