Timeline

The year is 1972. Richard Nixon makes his historic visit to China, Charlie Chaplin returns to the US to accept an Academy Award for the first time since he was suspected of communism, in Jerusalem, The Black Panthers launch a class struggle, and in Tel Aviv, the TAU Film and Television department is founded, with the goal of educating filmmakers and television professionals, energizing the emerging Israeli culture and driving it forward.
In its first year, only 91 out of 245 applicants were admitted to this young and expensive department (expensive due to the equipment required). Of these, 40 were fortunate to get accepted to the extended B.A. track that combined practical studies with academic studies. The majority of the faculty was composed of “imported” teachers from the US and England, guest lecturers and returning Israelis and Jews who have come to settle in Israel, such as television director John Richardson and Disney studios animator Zach Schwartz. The founding of the department prompted quite a few conflicts between the stately Hebrew University of Jerusalem and its younger Tel Avivian counterpart. Differences of opinion also arose among the department’s faculty regarding the study program and curriculum. The crisis also led to a students strike – the first of several in the department's history.

Heads of department
Zachary Schwartz, Arnan Tzafrir

Notable graduates
Eitan Green, Renen Schorr, Uri Klein, Shimon Dotan, Orna Ben Dor, Nili Dotan, Meir Schnitzer, Gidi Orsher, Dalia Karpel, Yehuda Stav

The Films of the Decade
During the department’s first few years of existence, most student films were influenced by the "New Sensibility" movement in Israel and the French New Wave. The students focused on intimate and personal dramas, even in their studio exercises. This was an attempt to define an individual and personal identity within a turbulent and diverse country. Many of the films described experiences of loneliness in the big city, the search for love and belonging, and one's search for a place within the turbulent Israeli reality and culture. The cinematic language was simple as were the stories, with complexity provided by the main character and the reality surrounding him or her, as reflected through their eyes. Examples include Nahum in Nahum Glickson: Two Days in Israel by Eitan Green and Anna in Anna Passed in Town by Nili Dotan.

1967 - Construction of the Mexico Building

On March 11, 1964, the steering committee of the Tel Aviv University Senate decided to establish a Faculty of Arts. Two months later, the cornerstone was laid for the new faculty’s building, with the contribution of the Mexican Jewish community and at the initiative of Mr. Shimon (Sam) Wishnak who dedicated the building to the memory of his wife Fanny Wishnak.
On May 1967, construction was completed and the new building was inaugurated. At its entrance stands an iconic Aztec style statue, a gift from the Mexican government.

Image: courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

 

Image: Itzhak Gertz
Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

Image: Itzhak Gertz
Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

1972 - The establishment of the Faculty of Arts

The existing departments of Theater, Art History and Music were merged to form one single faculty - Faculty of Arts and Communication. Attached to them is a new department - the Department of Film and Television, which was conceived to serve as an incubator for growing and nurturing Israeli filmmakers as well as researchers into local cinema and television.

 

Image: courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

 


Photo: V. Braun. Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

 

Photo: V. Braun. Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

 

Photo: Vivian Silver. Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

 

Photo: Itzhak Gertz. Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

The Film Department's first year

Photo: Moshe Milner GPO
Directed by Dror Simchoni. 1972. Courtesy of the director.

1972 - A surprising contributor to the new Film department

Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco and the unofficial princess of Hollywood, made an unexpected contribution to the young department.

Image: courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

1973 - Prof. Moshe Lazar - Dean of the Faculty of Arts (1971-1977), Head of the Film department in its first year

Lazar (1928-2012), a renowned researcher of literature and history and head of the Literature department at the Hebrew University in the 1950s and 1960s, decided in 1971 to relinquish his position in Jerusalem and move to Tel Aviv University, to serve as Dean of the new faculty.
Lazar, upon taking up his new position: "We hope that our graduates will be able to contribute to the development of the film industry in Israel, with the many local and foreign films being produced here. We want our graduates to be not only professionals, but to also have well-rounded general knowledge in the areas close to their field."

Photo: Moshe Lazar, July 1974. Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University.

Yaakov Malkin

Malkin (1926 – 2019) was an Israeli writer and playwright, editor, translator, art critic and educator. In 1971, together with the Dean of the new Faculty of Arts, Prof. Moshe Lazar, he founded the Department of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University. "It is possible to make a bad film out of a good script, but I do not know any excellent film created from a bad script." Together with a group of students - Uri Klein, Gidi Orsher, Eitan Green, Irma Klein, Danny Warth and Gideon Amir - he published Close-up, a magazine focusing on the art of cinema. Meanwhile, in collaboration with Lia van Leer, he developed the Israeli Film Archive and established the first cinematheque in Haifa and later in Jerusalem. In 2004, he won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jerusalem International Film Festival.

 

Photo: Boris Karmi. Meitar Collection, The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel

1973 - First convention in the Faculty of the Arts
Above, right to left: Arie Vardi, Moshe Lazar, Avraham Ronen
Photos: Dror Simchoni

1973 - Launch of Close-up magazine

A new film magazine, Close-up, was launched in collaboration with the Film Archive in Haifa, and was the first sign of things to come in the field of academic and critical writing in Israel. Among the members of the editorial board was Yaakov Malkin, as well students of the Film department Uri Klein and Eitan Green.

Above: The first issue of Close-up, 1973.
Below: The fifth issue of Close-up, 1978.

Dr. Regina Dreyer-Sfard - one of the pillars of the new department

Dreyer-Sfard (1910-1991), was a theater and film researcher, and a legendary lecturer at the department from the late 1960s. She studied with Sergei Eisenstein in Moscow, and taught film history at the prestigious Lodz school of cinema in Poland. After being deported from Poland and immigrating to Israel, she served as a senior cinema history and theory lecturer and was one of the first cinema researchers in Israel. In the department’s first years, she taught the history of early silent cinema.

Eitan Green: "I remember her lectures as being masterful, unlike many of the teachers in the early years, she was very knowledgeable about the material, and a legend claimed that she had taught Roman Polanski. Since she was indeed very knowledgeable, yet apparently unsure of her Hebrew, she would read the entire lesson from cards, and would even finish the lecture while looking at the cards and reading, 'Well, now the lesson is over'. Nevertheless, her lessons were extremely exciting although the subject itself was not very exciting to begin with. All of us, and there were very knowledgeable students in our class, such as Uri Klein, Meir Schnitzer and Danny Warth, drank in her words thirsty and respected her greatly."

 

Above: Dreyer-Sfard in Paris. Courtesy of the family.

1973 - Establishment of the first television studio

A basic studio for television productions was constructed for professional training, where students learned and experienced the various production roles.

Above: Students Natan Birk and Dror Simchoni. Photos courtesy of Dror Simchoni

1973 - Article in "Ma'ariv" about the film department
Article by Varda Chichik, Ma'ariv, 27.2.1973. "Historical Jewish Press website – www.Jpress.org.il – founded by the National Library and Tel Aviv University"

 

1973 - David Perlov joins the teaching faculty

Perlov (1930-2003) was an Israeli film director, one of the most prominent documentary filmmakers in Israel, and winner of the Israel Film Prize. In 1973, While shooting his acclaimed film Diary, Perlov started teaching at TAU’s Film department where he taught hundreds of students and until his retirement three decades later, acquired numerous admirers and followers. Perlov was a central figure in shaping the course of the Film department almost from its very beginning, and his extensive influence, which was passed on by his students who became lecturers themselves, is still felt to this very day.

Above: Perlov and a student by a Steenbeck editing tables. Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

Above: Perlov in class, 1974. Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

1973 - Nachman Ingber joins the department

Lecturer at the Film department from 1973 until his retirement in 2018. Ingber was involved in establishing the Foundation for the Encouragement of Quality Films (1979), and was responsible for its operation. In 1988, he initiated the launch of the Rabinovich Foundation’s Cinema project, and served as its artistic director for many years. Ingber is one of Israel's most prominent film critics and a respected film lecturer throughout the country. For many years, he taught the Department’s introductory course on the history of cinema in which he exposed students to his broad knowledge in a wide variety of fields and provided them with the best possible introduction to the seventh art.

Above: Ingber in the 1989 Jerusalem Film Festival by Moshe Shai. "Historical Jewish Press website – www.Jpress.org.il – founded by the National Library and Tel Aviv University"

1973 - Igal Bursztyn joins the department

Bursztyn is a film researcher, director and screenwriter. Among his films are Yeshayahu Leibowitz in Ma'alot, Letters to Felice, and Everlasting Joy. In 2020 Bursztyn was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Israel Documentary Forum. Bursztyn’s unique cinematic vision and his focus on documentary and experimental cinema added and continues to add a unique dimension to the student films in which he was involved.

 

Above: Igal Bursztyn. Photo: David Perlov. Courtesy of Yael Perlov

1974 - First official department head - Prof. Zachary Schwartz

Schwartz (1913-2003), born in the USA, was a former director at the Walt Disney Company and one of the founders of the UPI animation studios. He immigrated to Israel just as the department was opening, and was selected by Moshe Lazar to serve as one of the de facto heads of the newly formed department, alongside television American TV director Don Richardson.
Disagreements between the three led to Richardson's disenchantment with the management of the department, resulting in his departure from the university and the country.
Schwartz was appointed to serve as the first head of the department, a position that he held for four years.

 

Above: Zachary Schwartz, 1974. Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University

1975 - Establishment of the large studio for advanced studies

Due to the high equipment costs associated with a filming studio, during the department’s first years, students had to make do with a rather modest studio during their studies, alongside the external studios of The Israeli Educational Television and Herzliya Studios for advanced professional training. In 1975, a larger studio with more advanced equipment was constructed next to the existing studio, which became the department’s main filming studio, for television productions as well as course exercises and films.

Above: Avinoam Damari. Photo: Dror Simchoni

1976 - Avraham Gordon is Israel's first PhD student in the field of cinema

During his studies at the department, Gordon wrote his thesis on the work of Russian director Dziga Vertov. A few years later he joined the department’s faculty, where he taught until his retirement four decades later. His focus was on Russian and Eastern European cinema, with an emphasis on the sociological and philosophical depth of cinema, all the while conducting in-depth dialogues with the students on all aspects of the creative work.

 

Above: Gordon, 1997. Photo: Liviu Carmely

1977 – Young Israeli Cinema ("Kaitz") group

A group of film Israeli cinephiles, including film director Judd Ne'eman (who later became head of the film department), critic and lecturer Nachman Ingber and recent department graduate Renen Schorr led the establishment, with government support, of a film fund aimed at encouraging personal and high-quality Israeli films. This step provoked anger among entertainment and commercial film makers, but was also a turning point in the history of Israeli cinema and provided the groundwork for the New Cinema Law to be enacted twenty years later.

 

Article by Smadar Shir, Ma'ariv, 20.2.1978. "Historical Jewish Press website – www.Jpress.org.il – founded by the National Library and Tel Aviv University"

Head of department (1978-1980, 1984) - Arnan Zafrir

Zafrir (1932-1996) began his career as a theater actor, but his love for directing took him from acting to the cinema. He studied cinema in Paris, became a documentary director, founded a small production company in Jerusalem in the 1960s, and even returned to acting in the films Floch and My Daniel. He began his tenure in the department in the 1970s teaching film production courses, and as the coordinator of the department under the leadership of Prof. Zachary Schwartz. When Schwartz’s tenure ended, Zafrir replaced him as acting head of the department for the next three years. In 1984, he returned to this position for one more academic year, but a protest by film students against the curriculum led to the termination of his position. Zafrir served as chairman of the Israeli Directors’ Guild.

Above: Zafrir in "Piano Lesson" (1975), directed by Tzipi Trope. Courtesy of the director.

1979 - Avraham Heffner joins the faculty

Heffner (1935-2014) was one of Israeli cinema’s most important filmmakers, director and screenwriter of acclaimed films such as But Where Is Daniel Wax and Aunt Clara. He was the winner of the Ophir Award for lifetime achievement. Hefner brought a fresh approach to mentoring directors and screenwriters and motivated generations of students to bring their own personal approach to creativity. His close personal relationship with his students and his uninhibited and entertaining teaching style, combined with his vast cinematic knowledge, left a deep impression on his students’ works, both during and after their studies.

1979 - The last admission exam

The last admission exam for the Department of Cinema and Television from, which relied on a portfolio and an interview. In the early 1980s, the admission exams were cancelled. According to Prof. Ne'eman's standpoint, everyone who applies to study in the department has the affinity and talent for cinema. In 1980, nearly 200 students were accepted, compared to 30 in the previous study format.

 

Above: An example for an exam from 29.3.1979.

The instability of those first years continued, and put both teachers and students to the test. Head of department Arnan Zafarir was fired following a brazen student revolt; Second year students, worried by rumors of the department’s closure due to its lack of sustainability, claimed that its necessity was unquestionable, and discontinuing these studies would be an injustice to the Israeli art world. Zico Aroeti, who taught photography at the department, was quoted in the newspapers: "We don't have a plan, we’re just fumbling in the dark. It's not freedom. It's a mess." But there are those who will clear up the mess. In the same year, leading filmmaker and researcher Judd Ne'eman was appointed head of the department, marking the beginning of a new era thanks to a well-ordered curriculum, a significant expansion of the research and screenwriting tracks and above all, an impressive vision for the future of Israeli cinema.

Heads of department
Prof. Yehuda Ne'eman, Prof. Herzl Shmueli, Arnan Tzafrir, Prof. Arnon Zuckerman

Notable graduates
Dalia Mevorach, Eyal Halfon, Itai Lev, Albert Gabai, Gur Heller, Shemi Zarhin, Hagar Kot, Arik Kaplun, Eitan Fox, Joseph Pitchhadze, Levna Hakim, Menashe Noy, Marek Rosenbaum, Yaron Bloch, Reuven Hecker, Savi Gabizon, Michele Ohayon, Yair Lev, Eran Riklis, Rafi Bukai, Jorge Gurevich, Avi Nir, Isaac Florentine, Osnat Trabelsi, Yael Perlov, Anat Glazer Zarhin, Oshra Schwartz, Amir Kaminer, Ariel Schweitzer.

The Films of the Decade
The students themselves defined their films, ironically, as "films of silence and stares" or "films about unusual people in an alienating society". But compared to the previous decade, the new students have more sophisticated tools in their creative toolbox, both as screenwriters and as directors, and expressed themselves in a more precise and powerful way and therefore, for the first time, made their mark in the international festival circuits. Alongside intimate dramas, two new creative channels were opened: on the one hand, documentary cinema, whose most notable representative was Reuven Hecker's Bochito that offered a never-before-seen perspective on the Lebanon war. On the other hand - genre films, the black sheep of the cinematic form, whose pioneer in this field, Isaac Florentine's post-apocalyptic action film Farewell Terminator presented a stunning new alternative to anyone who was looking for a different form of self-expression. Meanwhile, in parallel to the general trend in Israeli cinema at the time, political films with new points-of-view were also produced, such as Gur Heller's Night Film about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Ron Assulin's Another Shadow, dealing with the life of a gay man.

1980 - Michal Friedman establishes the Department's Cinematheque

The Cinematheque, which will later be merged with the department's film archive, is charged with all the film screenings necessary for the studies. All the movies in those early years were screened solely from 8mm and 16mm film reels.

Above: A page from the first cinematheque catalogue. Courtesy of the film archive.
Below: Announcement of the establishment of the cinematheque. January 1974. Courtesy of The Archives for the History of Tel Aviv University.

 

Head of Deaprtment (1981-1983, 1992-1995) - Yehuda "Judd" Ne'eman

Ne'eman (1936-2021) was a laureate of the Israel Prize for Cinema, a film researcher, director and screenwriter. He was one of the founders of the Israeli Cinema Fund in 1979 and a key figure in Israeli cinema, both as a creator and researcher as well as a promoter of Israeli cinema as an integral part of local culture.
Ne'eman began teaching in the Film department in 1978, due to requests by the students for Ne'eman to lead a direction workshop. In his role as head of the department, to which he was appointed a few years after joining the teaching staff, Ne'eman created a stable and solid foundation for a high-quality, professional and theoretical study framework, which would shape the image of the department for the decades to come.
Ne'eman also contributed considerably to the theoretical field by adding a special humanities program headed by Prof. Asa Kasher as well as writing workshops taught by Yehoshua Sobol and Yaakov Shabtai. Additionally, Ne'eman developed, in collaboration with Moshe Zimmerman, the defining and essential course Introduction to Israeli Cinema, the first course to focus on the history of Israeli cinema, a field of research that is currently flourishing. In collaboration with Michal Friedman, Ne'eman established a separate framework for theoretical cinema studies and research.
Neeman's tremendous influence on Israeli cinema is also evident outside the walls of the Film department, over many years of activity to promote high-quality cinema; establishing studies of all forms of Israeli cinema as a legitimate academic field; and of course, creating important films such as Paratroopers (Masa Alunkot), Fellow Travelers (Magash Hakesef), and Mered Ha'yamaim. Ne'eman continued to teach cinema until his death in 2021.

Above: Yehuda Ne'eman. Photo: Ilan Shoshan.

1982 - Liviu Carmely is appointed director of the Film department's archives

Professor Michal Friedman, who was in charge of the department's Cinematheque, appointed Carmely to serve as her student assistant. It was later decided to transfer the responsibility for the Cinematheque to Carmely, and in addition he received a modest film archive from his predecessor Modi Kreitman when the latter left the country. Thus, the dual role of director of the archive and manager of the Cinematheque was established. Carmely turned the archive into his life's work, and for almost five decades contributed to the cinematic education of all of the department’s graduates through the magnificent archive he cultivated until his retirement in 2019.

Above: Liviu Carmely, 1981. Photo: David Perlov, courtesy of Yael Perlov.

1984 - The end of the 8mm era and beginning of the video era

After almost a decade, the use of 8mm film in the class exercises came to an end.
The video format was introduced into the department, alongside the 16 mm, opening a new (and inexpensive) world of possibilities.

Above: Three generations of video recorders used by the students in the 80s and 90s: A U-Matic tape recorder, a BetaCam recorder and a DVCam recorder. Courtesy of the film archive.

1984 - The first Mograbi Award

The first competition of its kind for Israeli short films is held, in collaboration with the Association of Cinema Owners. The Mograbi Fund is named after Gabriel Mograbi, who owned two film theaters in Tel Aviv.
The first prize, in the amount of one thousand dollars, was awarded to the film Thin Wooden Walls by Ilan Bernet.

Above: An article about the The first Mograbi Award ceremony. December 1984.

Head of Department (1985-1990) - Prof. Arnon Zuckerman

One of the founders of Israeli Broadcasting Association and its director from 1973 to 1979, an era considered to be the golden age of public television broadcasting. In 1985 he assumed his position as head of the department after incessant pleas from several film students.
In 1986 Zuckerman was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Tel Aviv University in addition to his position as head of the department; In his tenure he founded The Interdisciplinary Program in the Arts and The International Student Film Festival. Zuckerman taught many courses on politics, television and production until his retirement in 2000.

Above: Zuckerman, 1975. Photo: Yoash Alroi.

1986 - Eitan Green joins the department faculty

Green, a film director and screenwriter (An American citizen, As Tears Go By, When Night Falls) studied in the first graduating class of the Film department. In 1986 he joined the teaching staff of the department and later was appointed head of the film department. Over the years, he was twice awarded the title of Tel Aviv University Rector's List honor roll and was even voted several times as one the 100 best lecturers at the university.

1986 - Establishment of a new screenwriting studies track

In line with the emphasis that Ne'eman placed on screenwriting studies, the undergraduate screenwriting track was established for the first time with Eitan Green as one of its heads. Later, Green also founded the screenwriting track for the graduate degree.

Above: The first incarnation of the screenwriting track, 1986.

1986 - Avanti Popolo by the graduate Rafi Bukai is released

Avanti Popolo, made by the Department’s graduate Rafi Bukai is released and screened in cinemas. The film began as a graduation project short film and subsequently became a feature film that won the prestigious Locarno Festival. To this day, it is considered a milestone in the history of Israeli cinema due to its original and complex treatment of the Jewish-Arab conflict.

1985 - Seret Layla (Night Movie) directed by department student Gur Heller wins prizes at international festivals

For the first time in the history of the department, a film by a student receives international recognition, including a nomination for the British Academy of Film and Television Award, and becomes one of the most important films in the department's history.

Above: The Hebrew poster of Night Movie. Photo: Michal Heyman. Design: Sheri Arnon. Courtesy of the director.

1986 - Film department students launch the first student film festival

The first edition of the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival, which will later become the largest and most important of its kind in the world, and the only festival produced entirely by students. The first festival is led by festival director Lawrence Price, and producer Shuki Friedman.
The festival's guests of honor were the Oscar-winning American director Robert Wise (West Side Story, The Sound of Music) and Belgian director Chantal Akerman, whose films were shown for the first time to an Israeli audience at the festival.
Among the festival’s big winners were two of the department’s films - Gur Heller's Seret Layla (Night Movie) won the feature film award and Ido Sela's Kamal Gashash (Kamal: the Tracker) won the documentary film award.

Above: Cover of "Shvil", the student union newspaper, 1986. Courtesy of the film archive.

 

  Below: The team behind the firs festival.

1986 - The program Kartis Bikur (Calling Card) debuts on Channel One

The program, produced by Shaul Shir-Ran, was broadcast on Channel One only several times, but was the first to present student films to the general public outside of movie theaters and film festivals.

Above: Article by Meir Schnitzer, Hadashot, 6.8.86. "Historical Jewish Press website – www.Jpress.org.il – founded by the National Library and Tel Aviv University"

1986 - First nomination for an American Academy Award to a film produced by the department,

Arik Kaplun's unique film, Solo for Tuba, which won many awards at festivals around the world, is also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Student Film. Following the success of the film, Kaplun worked as director for the IBA, the French Channel 2 and the American Channel 4. In 1999 he directed the film Yana's Friends, which won awards at the Karlovy Vary Festival and 10 Israeli Academy Awards, including the best film award and best director award.

Above: Yoram Levinstein in Solo for Tuba, 1986. Courtesy of the director.

1986 - Launch of Sratim magazine

Oshra Schwartz (screenwriter and journalist) and Amir Kaminer (film critic) launch Sratim magazine. This is the second magazine published by the Film and Television department, following Close-up. The magazine was co-edited by Yaron Bloch (future head of school) and Shuki Friedman (film producer).

Above: The first issue of Sratim, 1986. Courtesy of the film archive.
Below: Schwartz and Kaminer.

1986 - The department's first feature film and collaborations with film schools abroad

For the first time, the Film and TV Department produced a full-length film. The film, Special Counsel, chronicles the life of Leon Charney and his role in the peace accords at Camp David between Israel and Egypt while combining documentary with drama. The production of the film ran into difficulties and the film was never released.
The same year sees the start of collaborations with film schools abroad, the first of which was a collaboration during the second festival between the TAU Film Department, the Lodge Film School and the Munich Film School to produce a feature film made by students from the three schools.

Above: A university press announcement regarding the production of the film, October 1986. Courtesy of the film archive.

1987 - The first music videos produced by department students

In the large studio, the music video for the song War by Korin Allal was filmed with her participation
The music video was never completed, but was the starting point for a long tradition of music videos directed by students from the Film department. That same year, a video is produced for Gitit Shoval and in the following years, videos for Knesiyat Hasechel, Berry Sakharof and more.

Above: Still from the video for Knesiyat Hasechel. Director: Shiri Shachar. Courtesy of the director.

1988 - The second Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

The second festival grew outside the campus borders with screenings of student films throughout the country. The guests of honor at the festival included Hungarian director István Szabó, Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi, British director Karel Reisz as well as Amos Gitai, who was honored with a retrospective of his early films. The festival also presented a student film by Danish director Susanne Bier. Ayelet Menahemi's film Crows, from the Beit Zvi school, won the grand prize.

Above: Poster for the second film festival, 1988, Design: Philippe Boulakia, Roni Kurtz.

The 90s kick off with a cultural earthquake: On the one hand, the decade began with the founding of the Israeli Academy of Film and Television in 1990. On the other hand, the penetration of the cable networks into the entertainment market and the establishment of a new commercial channel (Channel 2) exponentially increased the need for content for the masses and divided the nature of the content into a multitude of types, genres and colors. During this decade, commercials and video clips became sought-after products, while also giving birth to an unofficial format - the short-short film. Meanwhile, in the United States, Israel's cultural role model, another earthquake struck - the birth of high-quality and commercial independent cinema, thanks to directors such as Tarantino, Coen and Hartley. These two earthquakes, together and separately, led to the most diverse and perverse decade in the department’s history.

Heads of department
Prof. Yehuda Ne'eman, Dr. Michal Friedman, Emile Knebel

Notable graduates
Eitan Fox, Ra'anan Shaked, Ari Folman, Eitan Tzur, Asaf Tzipor, Ori Inbar, Doron Tzbari, Arnon Goldfinger, Ran Blaier, Shira Farber, Ran Telem, Dover Kosashvili, Ilil Alexander, Ran Tal, Shmulik Duvdevani, Yair Rave, Raz Yosef, Yoav Tzafir, Gidi Raff, Yael Shuv, Nir Toib, Dror Mora, Shai Kanot, Amalia Margolin, Ori Sivan, Tulik Galon, Yaron Scharf.

The Films of the Decade
The decade’s students were filmmakers with a thirst for innovation who sought to reinvent the cinematic wheel. They experimented in every possible avenue: music videos, commercials and promos, short story adaptations, documentaries, melancholic personal dramas and wild comedies. In the department’s studio, a group of creators and actors filmed a pilot for what would later become one of Israeli television’s cult series - Hachamishiya Hakamerit. The films created during this period were unfettered by commercial considerations and enjoyed both worlds: They expressed a commitment to Israeli society while chosing to represent tolerance, brotherhood, and hope for a better future. At the same time, theirs was a cheeky and rebellious type of filmmaking, not afraid to slaughter sacred cows and reinvent the rules.

The 1990s in the Department of Cinema
Above: The stairs of Mexico
Below: A TV Studio production

1990 - The film Shuroo by the recent graduate Shavi Gavizon

The film Shuroo by department graduate Savi Gabizon was the first winner of the Ophir Award for Best Film. It achieved great success with audiences, and represented a new style that would come to dominant Israeli cinema throughout the decade - combining light surrealism, comedy, drama with a personal point of view.

Above: the film's poster, 1990. Design: Yossi Ohayun

1990 - Second nomination for the Student Academy Awards

Eyal Tavor's film, Jacob's Ladder, comes in third place in the student film competition of the American Film Academy. The film also won the screenplay award at the Mograbi Fund awards and won the critics' choice award at the Kyiv International Film Festival in Ukraine.

Above: Hugo Yarden and Doron Golan in Jacob's Ladder, 1990. Courtesy of the director.

1990 - The Third Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Arnon Goldfinger took over as the festival’s director. Film schools from Cuba, Bulgaria and Georgia joined the festival roster. Swedish actor Erland Josefsson and Serbian director Emir Kusturica were among the guests of honor. The Lunch Date by American Adam Davidson and Hugo from Himmerland by the Dane Niels Arden Oplev were among the winners of the year’s festival.

Above: Poster for the 3rd Film Festival, 1990. Design: Roni Kurtz, Liat Barzilay.

David Perlov teching the department's students

The acclaimed documentary filmmaker David Perlov was one of the legendary teachers of the Film department who shaped an entire generation of filmmakers who continued in his footsteps.

Above: Perlov and students on location, 1991. Photo: Sharona Berger.

1991 – Filmmaker Michal Aviad joins the department’s faculty

During the early 2000s, Aviad was in charge of the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival, created and managed the MFA in Film and Television, Directing and Production, all the while continuing to direct notable documentaries, such as Jenny and Jenny, The Women Next Door and Dimona Twist. Aviad also directed the feature films Invisible and Working Woman.

Above: Michal Aviad. Photo: Studio Zuz.

1992 - The Fourth Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

The fourth festival, under the direction of Yossi Drori, included, for the first time, a new Palestinian cinema program, as well as a competition for first full-length films by film school graduates. Among the guests of honor at the festival were Theo Angelopoulos, Andrzej Zulawski and Marcello Mastroianni. A student film by Danish director Thomas Vinterberg was screened at the festival and another Danish film, 10:32 on Tuesday - A Love Story by Annette K. Olesen won the grand prize.

Above: Poster for the 4th film festival, 1992, Design: Michel Levy.

1993 - Establishment of Israel’s first commercial Channel

Thanks to the establishment of the new channel 2, a host of employment opportunities opened up for graduates. On the very first day of broadcasts, the first episode of Hachamishiya Hakamerit was aired.

Above: Logo for the Channel 2, 1992. Courtesy of The Second Authority for Television and Radio.

1992 - Purim Ledorotav by Hachamishiya Hakamerit airs

As part of its pilot broadcasts Channel 2 airs a special program for the Purim holiday called Purim Over the Generations, by director Eitan Tzur and screenwriter Asaf Tzipor, which was filmed in the department’s studio. Shortly after, the channel ordered another program from the team for the Israeli Independence Day, called "Forty Something". The success of the two shows encouraged the channel to order an entire season which would become the mythological program Hachamishiya Hakamerit, that ran between 1993-1997. The five actors (two of them students of the film department - Menashe Noy and Shai Avivi) will gain cult status in Israeli culture.

Above: Still from Forty Something, 1993. Below: Still from Purim Over the Generations, 1993. Courtesy of The Second Authority for Television and Radio.

1994 - Michal Bat-Adam joins the department’s faculty

Filmmaker and actress Michal Bat-Adam, one of the most prominent Israeli filmmakers, won the Ophir Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 and the Israel Award in 2021. As a director she brought her own unique personal language to Israeli cinema, and gave a much needed female voice to Israeli storytelling. Among her films are: Moments, Boy Takes Girl, The Thin Line and Aya: Imagined Autobiography. As a teacher, Bat Adam taught directing and acting and influenced generations of filmmakers with her unique sensitivity regarding director-actor relationships and character design.

Above: Michal Bat-Adam. Photo: Oron Cohen.

1994 - The Fifth Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

The fifth festival was held for the first time as an official festival of CILECT - International Association of Film and Television Schools. Spanish photographer Teo Escamilla was among the guests of honor. 190 student films were screened at the festival. Among the winners were Last Round by Thomas Vinterberg and The Fairy Who Didn't Want to Be a Fairy by Laurie Lynd.

Above: Program cover for the 5rd Film Festival, 1994. Design: Avishay and Mary Nagar.

Head of Film Department (1996-1997) - Prof. Regine-Mihal Friedman

Friedman, one of Israel’s leading film researchers in the fields of Israeli, German, French cinema, cinematic autobiography and trauma in film, a central figure in the Film department almost from its inception, alongside Heffner and Ne'eman, replaced Ne'eman as head of the department.

1996 - Third nomination for the Student Oscar Award

After winning several awards at film festivals around the world, Ehud Ben Arie's Second Shift is selected for the short list of nominees for the American Academy Award for Best Student Film.

Above: Nomination certificate by the American Acadmey. Courtesy of the film archive.

1996 - The Sixth Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Amalia Margolin was the director of the 6th festival, where guests of honor Ivan Passer and Paul Mazursky pre-premiered their new films in front of an Israeli audience. Among the student films screened at the festival were films by many directors who became leading international filmmakers, including: Jessica Hausner, Todd Field, Malgorzata Szumowska, François Ozon and Sergei Loznitsa - the latter won the documentary film award for Today We Are Going to Build a House. Own Goal by Ran Carmeli of the Sam Spiegel School won the feature film award. For the first time ever, an international academic colloquium was held as part of the festival. The colloquium was attended by some of the world’s leading film researchers and created a tradition for all the festivals that followed.

Above: Poster for the 6th Film Festival, 1996. Design: Roni Kurtz, Liat Barzilay.

1996 - The first international colloquium

As part of the events of the 6th festival, the first International colloquium on Cinema Studies is held in Israel. The colloquium, under the title of “The End of a Millennium: Blurred Boundaries”, was produced by Raz Yosef and spanned several fields: old and new technologies; written history and cinema; cinema and other forms; gender representations in cinema and the center and the margins. A number of well-known researchers from universities in the USA and Europe, alongside Israeli researchers, presented new research studies and participated in the conference discussions. Later, the international conference became a separate event, independent of the festival. The researchers who attended that first conference continued to return to subsequent conferences, many becoming friends of the department.

Above: Poster for the 1st colloquium, 1996. Courtesy of the film archive.

1997 - Student protest

A protest by film students against the university's decision to shut down the Film department.

Above: The protest, in front of the faculty building, 1997. Photo: Liviu Carmely.
Below: Among the protesters are film students Danny Sirkin, Chen Sheinberg, and Liran Atzmor, 1997. Photo: Liviu Carmely.

1997 - Short Stories About Love

The anthology series of short films produced by the department graduate Hagai Levi aired on Channel 2 and allowed students and recent graduates to reach a very large audience with 9 films that have made their mark on Israeli television, including Shuly's Fiance by Doron Tsabari, Malka Lev Adom by Ran Tal and Etgar Keret, Baal Baal Lev by Eitan Fox and more.

Above: Stills from the series' nine episodes, 1997. Courtesy of Hagai Levi.

Head of Film Department (1998-2000) - Emile Knebel

Emile "Milek" Knebel (1934-2013), cinematographer, director and one of the founders of the Film department, was appointed head of the department. Knebel nurtured generations of filmmakers since the 1970s with his sharp and rigid point of view alongside his support and care for the students.

Above: Knebel in the film archive, 2000. Photo: Liviu Carmely.

1998 - The Seventh Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

At the 7th bi-annual festival, directed by Liran Atzmor, Israeli cinema was particularly prominent, with the first two awards being won by directors whose films who would go on to lead Israeli cinema in the 2000s: With Rules by Dover Kosashvili from the TAU Film department, and Sea Horses by Nir Bergman of Sam Spiegel who won the second prize. Notable Israeli student films in the competition were Killer Babe by Oded Raskin, Now Rachmaninoff by Daniel Syrkin, People by Hadaar Fridleich, Ido by Gilad Goldschmidt, and Bonfire Night by Sharon Amarni. The guest of honor was director and producer Michele Ohayon, a department graduate who returned as a guest after receiving many awards for her documentary work in the United States, including an Academy Award nomination.

Above: Poster for the 7th Film Festival, 1998. Design: Studio Locker.

1999 - With Rules by Dover Kosashvili is the first of the Department’s student films to win a Cannes Film Festival award

The award was the first of a wave of awards for films produced in the department in the following years and began a long-standing relationship between the the TAU Film Department and the Cannes Film Festival. The following films to be screened as part of the Cinefondation competition, which is dedicated to the future generation of filmmakers, and to encouraging the continuation of their original and innovative work, are:

2000 - Dessert by Amit Sakomski
2001 - Wax Hurts by Maya Dreifuss
2002 - Questions of a Dead Worker by Aya Somech
2003 - Free Loaders by Haim Tabakman
2004 - The Poet's Home by Haim Tabakman
2005 - Visiting Hours by Maya Dreifuss
2006 - Even Kids Started Small by Yaniv Berman
2008 - Silence by Hadar Morag
2009 - Segal by Yuval Shani
2011 - Martha Must Fly by Ma'Ayan Rypp
2012 - Dog Leash by Eti Tsicko
2017 - Heritage by Yuval Aharoni
2018 - Rubber Dolphin by Ori Aharon
2020 - Neurim by Shaylee Atary
2021 - Night Visit by Mya Kaplan
2022 - Kinship by Orin Kadoori

With Rules went on to win the Wolgin Prize at the Jerusalem Festival, the Mograbi Prize and the First Prize at the Student Film Festival.

Late Wedding, Kosashvili's first feature film, based on With Rules, became a huge success in Israel and abroad and marked the beginning of the golden age of Israeli cinema of the 2000s.

Above: Still from With Rules, 1999. Courtesy of the director.

The new millennium begins with new hope for quality films. The New Cinema Law was enacted at the end of the previous millennium and its primary goal - releasing Israeli cinema from the shackles of commercial considerations and economic profits - gave Israeli filmmakers a push forward and belatedly aligned Israeli filmmaking with the philosophy of the TAU Film Department since its inception: spirit over matter. Over this decade, Israeli cinema received unprecedented recognition and exposure, with many of its creators being graduates of the TAU Film department. Filmmaking became cheaper, of higher quality and more accessible, the result of which was a tremendous burst of creativity and alternative ways of thinking.

Heads of department
Dr. Nitzan Ben Shaul, Dr. Ilan Avisar, Dr. Dov Rubinstein

Notable graduates
Maya Dreifuss, Benyamin Visler, Zohar Wagner, Yevgeni Roman, Tawfik Abu Wael, Tal Brog, Pini Tavgar, Yaron Shani, Netalie Braun, Yariv Moser, Lior Geller, Navot Papushdo, Tali Shalom Ezer, Eyal Boers, Juna Suleiman, Dor Fadlon, Roy Krispel, Elite Zexer, Hadar Morg, Leonid Prudovsky, Guy Raz, Danny Lerner, Asaf Sudri, Ohad Milstein, Sameh Zoabi, Aharon Keshales, Talia Kleinhandler, Yoav Paz, Erez Dvorah, Avner Shavit, Noa Regev, Elad Samorzik, Benjamin Tovias.

The Films of the Decade
After thirty years of existence, and quite a few upheavals, the department enjoyed a period of stability that allowed for an unprecedented flood of fascinating and impressively mature works. Over these years, students of the department won awards at every possible festival, including two Academy Award nominations. This decade was marked by self-confidence and creativity and a deep understanding of the cinematic medium. Films ranged from the social (Questions of a Dead Worker) and the familial (Visiting Hours, Living Room) through the comic and surreal (Evening at Poony's, Door to Door) to experimental and abstract cinema (The Poet's Home, The Last Supper of N. Braun). The voices were different and strange, but they were all heard clearly and powerfully.

2000 - A new program for MFA in Film and Television

In the 90s, faculty member Anat Zanger turned to the Hebrew University’s Department of Literary Theory in order to study for a master's degree in cinema, since no such program existed in the TAU Film and TV department. Attempts to establish such a program were made in the past, but the small number of doctorate holders did not warrant creating an MFA program.
Following Zanger's step, and as more students sought such a Master's degree, the teaching staff and even department heads at the time expressed growing interest.
One of the first steps towards the establishment of the MFA program was the 1996 international colloquium, which included many researchers of prominent international standing. Zanger and Prof. Nurit Gertz, with the support of Dr. Dov Rubinstein, conceived and established a film track as part of the interdisciplinary degree program. This solidified the recognition of the need for master's studies. In 2000, following much effort and aspiration, committees, doctorates and publications and discussions with deans and lecturers from other departments and other countries, the MFA track at the Department of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University was established, and was followed in 2006 by an MA track, with Zanger serving as its head. To this day, this is the only track in Israel that teaches theoretical film studies and grants a master's degree in film. Nowadays the program also includes a PhD in Cinema Studies and the number of PhD holders is ever growing.

Above: The proposal for the MFA program, January 1998. Courtesy of the film archive.

2000 - The Eighth Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Ilil Alexander and Amit Shalev produced the 8th bi-annual festival, in which for the first time a separate competition is held for Israeli films in addition to the international competition. During the festival, Belgian director Jaco van Dormael gave a masterclass. Palestinian director George Halifi was part of the judging team. This time as well, the festival screened student films by directors who will go on to become acclaimed filmmakers: Calin Peter Netzer, Alexander Kot, as well as Kurdish-Turkish directors Kazım Öz and Huseyin Karabey. Karabey's film Boran won the first prize.

Above: Poster for the 8th Film Festival, 2000. Design: Studio Haliva-Hason. Courtesy of the film archive.

Head of Department (2001-2002) - Nitzan Ben-Shaul

Nitzan Ben-Shaul has been a key figure in film research and theoretical studies at the department since the 1990s, and later moved the Film and TV Department towards increased engagement with new technologies via the Digital Media Program, that teaches new approaches to the cinematic image. Ben-Shaul also directed his own vision for interactive cinema in his ground breaking film Maarbolet.

Above: Nitzan Ben-Shaul, 2010. Photo: Ariel Basor.

2002 - Maya Dreifuss's second year film Wax Hurts is screened at the Cannes Film Festival

Dreifuss' final project film Visiting Hours was also screened at Cannes and won an award.

Above: An article by Dreifuss on her participation in the student film festival' May 2002. Photo: Rami Zarnegar.

2002 - The Ninth Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Alma Shiran and Yaron Shani collaborated as directors of the festival. For the first time, the festival launched the Social Documentary Project dedicated to collaborations between film students and youths from Jaffa. In addition, the festival screened a video diary project in which Jaffa residents were given cameras to shoot personal diary films. Among the guests of honor were the French directors Claude Lanzmann and Leos Carax. Among the student films participating in the festival: A film by Alessandro Rak, who would go on to become a senior Italian animator, another film by Huseyin Karabey who won the grand prize at the eighth festival, and a successful and diverse crop of Israeli films, including: Questions of a Dead Worker by Aya Somech, Wax Hurts by Maya Dreifuss, Flood by Guy Nativ, What a Man by Zohar Wagner and Eicha by Eliezer Shapiro. The Polish film A Man Thing by Slawomir Fabicki won the first prize.

Above: Poster for the 9th Film Festival, 2002. Design: Studio Ungroup.

Head of Department (2002-2004) - Ilan Avisar

Avisar, a leading researcher in the fields of Jewish cinema and Holocaust studies, holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and theater, a master's degree in comparative literature and a doctorate from Indiana University on "The Aesthetics and Politics of Holocaust Films". Since the 1980s he has also been active in filmmaking as a producer, screenwriter and script editor. Avisar was appointed head of the film department after many years as a valued and beloved lecturer in the department and as someone who works to promote creativity in Israel both in the academy and the Israeli film industry. Between 2010-2014 Avisar served as the chairman of the second authority.

2003 - Launch of the Pas Yitzira magazine

Pas Yitzira, a magazine for cinema and television in which graduates of the theoretical track at TAU’s Film and Television department showcased the fruits of a year's work under the guidance of the department’s lecturers - a collection of debut articles and original analyses of significant film and television works.

Above: The first issue of Pas Yetzira. 2003. Design: DNA Productions.

2004 - The Tenth Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Among the guests of honor of the festival, which was directed by Zohar Lavi and Yariv Mozer, were actor Richard Gere, director and festival graduate Thomas Vinterberg, directors Catherine Breillat, Paul Schrader, Patrice Leconte, Emmanuel Finkiel and Israeli born cinematographer Adam Greenberg. Certificates of appreciation were awarded to Michal Bat-Adam and Nachman Ingber.
The festival presented student films by future film directors Corneliu Porumboiu, Mihal Brezis, Nathalie Kaplan, Nadav Lapid, Naomi Lev-Ari, Yuval Shefferman, Shunit Aharoni and Amikam Kovner. Wild Nest by Geanina Grigoras won the international competition.

Above: Poster for the 10th Film Festival, 2004. Design: Studio NUVO - Neal Gontmakher.
Below: Festival guests Richard Gere and Avi Nesher.


 

Above: Thomas Vinterberg, Mogens Rukov, Nachman Ingber.

2004 - Filming of The Actors Workshop

The program, based on the successful American format Inside the Actors Studio is produced by the film department in collaboration with Channel 8. Hosted by Emmanuel Halperin, the program consisted of 20 episodes with Esti Zakheim, Alon Abutbul, ​​Gila Almagor, Haim Topol, Michal Bat Adam, Lior Ashkenazi, Shavi Gavizon and more.

Head of Department (2005-2008) - Dr. Dov Rubinstein

Dov Rubinstein, a graduate of both the department of medicine and of cinema, joined the teaching staff in 1993 as a screenwriting lecturer. In 2003 he was appointed as head of the department and later served as the head of the Master's degree track.
As a teacher and mentor, Rubinstein guided many generations of students and helped them achieve their vision, starting with Ari Folman and Ran Blaier, through Dover Kosashvili and Maya Dreifuss and ending with Hadas Ben Aroya and Yona Rozenkier. Many of the film and television makers in Israel owe special thanks to Rubinstein, who with his infinite patience, his deep understanding of the seventh art and a sharp eye to details, served as a hidden yet central partner in shaping the face of Israeli drama since the 1990s.

Above: Rubinstein and Yael Perlov, 1997. Photo: Liviu Carmely.

2005 - Leonid Prudovsky's Dark Night is nominated for the Student Academy Award

The nomination of Prudovsky's film for an Academy Award followed numerous other awards, including the best film award by CILECT - International Association of Film and Television Schools.

Above: Nomination certificate by the American Acadmey. Courtesy of the film archive.

2006 - The Eleventh Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Liat Hart and Naomi Michaeli directed the 11th bi-annual festival that continued to grow and expand. Among the guests of honor were directors Gaspar Noe and Victor Kossakovsky and screenwriter Dan Gordon.
Among the Israeli films screened at the festival: Visiting Hours by Maya Dreifuss, The Substitute by Talya Lavie, and Dark Night by Leonid Prudovsky. Two prominent American-produced films about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were also screened: Be Quiet by Sameh Zoabi and West Bank Story by Ari Sandel.

Above: Poster for the 11th Film Festival, 2006. Design: Studio NUVO - Neal Gontmakher.

2007 - End of the film era in the Department

Due to the notable advantages of the latest digital video cameras and the decline in the use of film cameras and film development laboratories throughout the world, usage of 16mm cameras is finally discontinued in the Film and TV Department after four decades.

Above: Arriflex 165R 16mm camera, the last film camera used by TAU film students.

2008 - Waltz with Bashir by graduate Ari Foman is screened at the Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim

Folman's groundbreaking film, which combines documentary materials with animation, receives enthusiastic reviews at the festival and continues on to win numerous awards, including an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award.

Above: Poster for Waltz with Bashir, 2008. All rights resereved to Bridgit Folman Film Gang.

2008 - The 12th Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Among the guests of honor at the festival are American director-screenwriter John Sayles, director and actress Sarah Polley and Spanish director Julio Medem.
Although director Jean-Luc Godard unfortunately canceled his visit at the last minute, the festival, directed by Shira Carmi and Efrat Cohen, boasted quite a few highpoints. Many of them were in the Israeli competition, which included Pinhas by Pini Tavger, Zohar by Yasmin Novak, Asaf Korman's Death of Shula, Elad Keidan's Anthem (which won first prize) and Hagar Ben Asher's Pathways. The film High Hope by the Finnish director Mazdak Nassir won the international competition.

Above: Poster for the 12th Film Festival, 2008. Design: We do design Studio - Smadar Yager, Sagit Guy.

2009 - Ajami is nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign film

For the second year in a row, a film made by a department graduate is nominated for an Academy Award in the best foreign film category. Yaron Shani created Ajami with Scandar Copti, a collaboration that began a decade earlier in the social documentary Jaffa Project that the department produced for the international student film festival under Shani's management.

Above: Poster for Ajami, 2009. All rights resereved to Inosan productions.

Head of department (2009-2013) - Reuven Hecker

Following an impressive military career that included service in the Yom Kippur War, Operation Entebbe and Operation Litany, Hecker enrolled in film studies. As part of his studies and during the Lebanon War, he directed the documentary film Bochito in collaboration with his classmate and comrade in arms Shalev Vines. The documentary, in addition to its cinematic merits, presents an incisive anti-war critique.
In addition to serving as the department head, Hecker also headed the production track and initiated many unique and important projects.
For generations of students and lecturers at the Film department, Reuven Hecker was, and still is, more than a teacher and a valued filmmaker - he is a trailblazer who inspires students to face challenges and to combine sincerity with values in teaching and filmmaking alike.

Above: Reuven Hecker, 2010.

While there are many differences between the students of 1972 and today’s students, all generations since then and to the present day are united by the same rebellious spirit, the same daring that is reserved for beginners, the same feeling that one can aspire and achieve and maybe even change the world. The film department, which in 2015 was renamed the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, has already established itself as an incubator for creators of all kinds and the darling of film festivals the world over. The student film festival it produces has become one of the most important festivals of its kind in the world, and the new Digital Media track is preparing new generations of creators to tell their stories through new media and interactive technologies. With more films being made than ever before, the students of The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television keep the original promise of changing the face of Israel's culture, because no one believes in change as much as film students and teachers, and they are unwilling to wait for someone else to bring it about.

Heads of department
Reuven Hecker, Yaron Bloch, Prof. Raz Yosef

Notable graduates
Yona Rosenkiar, Michal Vinik, Hadas Ben Aroya, Eti Tsiko, Asaf Polonsky, Atara Frish, Nir Berger, Moshe Rosenthal, Kobi Mizrahi, Daphne Leaf, Matan Yair, Israela Shaer-Meoded, Osnat Handelsman Keren

The Films of the Decade
This decade, even more than its predecessor, fled from escapism and focused on the complex reality of life in Israel. While the qualities of the films themselves maintained the high bar set by the previous decade, this decade’s films deal with topics that venture beyond the personal, in favor of social issues and social groups whose voices are not heard in mainstream culture. Alongside works dealing with trauma (Born in Jerusalem and Still Alive) and old age (Paris on the Water), films dealing with the LGBT experience (Rubber Dolphin, The Love Letter, Shelli) and Palestinian (Ten Bell Tolls) were produced, and above all, thanks to filmmakers such as Eti Tsiko, Dana Lerer, Elite Zexer, Hadas Ben Aroya, Atara Frish and many others, many of the films produced in this decade composed a rich and varied mosaic of stories made by women, about women.

2010 -The thirteenth Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Noa Regev and Hilla Shitrit directed the year’s festival that hosted a number of international filmmakers, led by the legendary producer Roger Corman who met Menachem Golan at the festival events, some 50 years after they worked together.
Among the guests of honor were documentary makers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó, French director Nathan Miller and the producer of Stanley Kubrick's films - Jan Harlan who headed the jury.
The Coffee Project was presented for the first time at this festival, in which Israeli and Palestinian directors took part, under the artistic direction of Yael Perlov. The Israeli film Guided Tour by Benjamin Freidenberg (Sam Spiegel) won a prize in the international competition.

Above: Poster for the 13th Film Festival, 2010. Design: Guy Sagi, Nadav Barkan.

2011- Daphne Leaf leads a social protest against the cost of living

Leaf, a department graduate, demoralized by the cost of living and the housing crisis, heads an unprecedented social mass protest that begins in a makeshift encampment on Rothschild Boulevard and ends with marches of hundreds of thousands of people.

Above: Leaf alongside faculty members during the protests, 2011. Photo: Elite Zexer.

2011 - The first Fiction colloquium

The first conference dedicated to television studies was held and produced by the Film and Television department in cooperation with the Department of Cinema and Television Art at the Sapir Academic College. This is its first year, but not its last, and with the exception of a break during the COVID epidemic, it has been held annually since its inception to the present day.

Above: Poster for the first colloquium, 2011. Design: Yael Kfir, Michal Semo, - Tel Aviv University Design Studio.

2012 - Founding of the Film Department’s production company Gaudeamus Productions

The company is managed by Efrat Cohen and its primary goal is to encourage and promote young creators as they take their first steps in the industry. The company initiates collaborations with broadcasting channels, film foundations, relevant institutions and establishes international co-productions for cinema, television and new media. The company helps to manage the department’s variety of productions, and produces feature films, TV series, documentaries, short films and special projects.

Above: Logo for Gaudeamus Productions.

2012 - The 14th Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Erez Barenholtz and Elad Goldman directed the festival, which for the first time hosted a competition for films from Mediterranean and Arab countries.
Among the many guests of honor were directors: Paolo Sorrentino, Danis Tanovic, Gyorgy Palpi, Benedek Fliegauf, Urszula Antoniak, Stefan Ruzowitzky and Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, who exposed the Israeli audience to Nigerian cinema for the first time. Leading Romanian screenwriter Razvan Radulescu and Hollywood soundtrack designer Mark Berger, who won 4 Academy Awards, were also guests of honor at the festival.
My Bow Breathing, by Italian director Enrico Maria Artale won the first prize.

Above: Poster for the 14th Film Festival, 2012. Design: Gilad Fried.

2012 - Digital Media and New Media track opens

The track prepares new generations of creators to tell their stories using digital and interactive technologies.
The program focuses on study and research in two main areas: creation of digital visual effects for film and television, and filmmaking using interactive technologies such as computers, internet, mobile, digital devices, simulated virtual environments including Virtual reality and Augmented reality.

Above: Exhibition of graduates of the digital media track, 2022. Photo: Elia Otuchkin.

2012 - The Film Bus project

The films on wheels project that continues on to this day started off as part of the 14th Student Film Festival, at the initiative of the festival's directors, Elad Goldman and Erez Barenholtz. The bus travels throughout Israel with the motto: Cinema can create change. The bus stopped at various locations throughout the country, such as Degania, Karmiel, Umm El Fahm and Lod.

Above: Yaron Bloch, Barenholtz, Eitan Green, Goldman, Liviu Carmeli at the bus' first launch, 2012. Photo: Amir Tausinger.

Head of Department (2013-2016, 2021-) - Yaron Bloch

Bloch, a department graduate and one of the leading directing teachers in Israel, took the department to a new era. During Bloch's tenure, the film department officially becomes a film school, the practical and theoretical programs are further expanded and its international status is elevated. Bloch's great influence on the school as head of department and as part of the teaching faculty ranged from fundraising and creating new learning frameworks to a personal rapport with the students throughout the creative process, was well as attention and support in the students' filmmaking. During his tenure, the school expanded the curriculum and for the first time also began to produce feature films, through the Steve Tisch Foundation. Bloch returned to head the school in 2021.

Above: Yaron Bloch. Photo: Tom Weintraub Louk.

2013 - The Israel Academy of Film and Television announces a new Ophir Award for Short Films

The soaring status of the short film is officially confirmed as a cinematic genre by Academy of Film and Television.

Above: Logo for the Ophir Awards. Courtesy of The Israel Academy of Film and Television.

2013 - The 15th Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

The festival shifts to an annual format, with Elad Goldman and Erez Barenholtz directing another festival.
Among the guests of honor are the French director Catherine Breillat, the Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang and the Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch. In Praise of the Day, by Sam Spiegel student Oren Adaf won the first prize.

Above: Poster for the 15th Film Festival, 2013. Design: Avisar Goldman, Yitzhak Yitzhaky.

2014 - The Blavatnik Fund for Student Films

The fund, with the generous donation of Jewish-American businessman Leonid "Len" Blavatnik, provides financial support to film school students to produce thought-provoking and high-quality films. The fund is intended for the production of student films, and has significantly increased the number of films produced by the students. The Blavatnik Fund also supports the school by funding the recruitment of top researchers in the field of film studies.

Above: Logo for The Blavatnik Fund.

2014 - The 16th Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Roni Shamiss and Talia Bernstein directed the festival, which once again hosted students from around the world and a long line of guests of honor: The Dardenne brothers, Leos Carax (returning for the second time), Otar Iosseliani, Radu Muntean, Kim Jee-Woon , Molly Malene Stensgaard (editor of Lars von Trier's films) and more. For the first time, alongside the student films, the competition for independent cinema is held, revealing the diversity of short film production in Israel, even outside of film schools.

Above: Poster for the 16th Film Festival, 2014. Design: Avisar Goldman, Yitzhak Yitzhaky.

2015 - The Film Department is officially renamed the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television

American businessman and Academy Award winning film and television producer Steve Tisch donated $10 million to the Film department in order to raise its standing to a film school. The donation allowed the school to upgrade its curriculum, offer study scholarships and film production scholarships, purchase professional equipment and establish partnerships with international parties.
Tisch: "The ability to tell stories is critical to promoting dialogue and understanding - things that the world needs most. Tel Aviv University stands at the forefront, and it nurtures and cultivates extremely creative and talented students, with diverse voices, from all over Israel and the region. I am very happy to support the university's efforts, and it is a great honor for me to win its recognition."

Above: Article in the Hollywood Reporter, 2015.

2013 - Addition of directing workshops to the practical curriculum

Joseph Pitchhadze, head of the practical filmmaking track, initiates the addition of the directing workshops for years 2-3. These workshops, which allow students to experiment with other avenues, are responsible for some of the most unique and daring works produced in the department and enrich the students' portfolio.
The subject of the first workshop was cinematic interpretations of poetry. The following workshops were taught by the best creative teachers such as Danny Lerner, Michal Vinik, Prof. Ram Loevy and Eran Kolirin. Among the themes were adaptation, music, genres, legends and realism.

Above: Stills from two films from the first workshop: Letter of Agreement by Michal Zecharia and Echo by Shani Egozin and Anat Ganor, 2015. Courtesy of the directors.

2015 - The 17th Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

The second festival under the direction of Roni Shamiss and Talia Bernstein opened with the screening of The Prologue Project films - a project that was developed at the previous festival, aimed at encouraging and supporting films by recent film school graduates.
Among the festival’s guests of honor were producers Ram Bergman and Effie Brown, editor Dylan Tichenor, photographer Ryszard Lenczewski and directors Hal Hartley and Michel Franco.

Above: Poster for the 17th Film Festival, 2015. Design: Avisar Goldman, Yitzhak Yitzhaky.

2016 - The Tisch Foundation for First Features is founded, its first winner is The Dive by Yona Rozenkier

The film was completed in 2018 and won four awards at the Jerusalem Film Festival, including the Best Film Award, and two additional awards at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland. In 2019, the film was released for commercial screenings.

Above: Poster for The Dive. Photo: Oded Ashkenazi. Courtesy of Gaudeamus Productions.

2016 - Hadas Ben Aroya's final project feature film People That Are Not Me

Ben Aroya's film began as a final project short film and was later turned into a feature film with the support of the Blavatnik Fund, the Yehoshua Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts - Cinema Project and the Gesher Fund. The film premiered at the Locarno Festival and the Haifa Film Festival, and later at the Mar Del Plata Festival, where it won the Best Film Award.

Above: Poster for That Are Not Me, 2016. Photo: Meidan Arama.
Below: Ben Aroya Receiving the best film award at the Mar Del Plata Festival.

Head of School (2016-2020) - Prof. Raz Yosef

Film researcher Raz Yosef has been teaching at the department since the 1990s and initiated the establishment of the first international film colloquium in Israel.
His research topics are film theory, queer theory, feminist film theory, postcolonial studies and third world cinema, Israeli cinema and national visual culture, cinematic melodrama, trauma and memory studies.
Yosef was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan and Columbia University in the US, and at Paideia, The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden. He is the author of many books dealing with a variety of subjects, some of which were published in Europe and the US. His works on gender, sexuality, ethnicity and nationalism in Israeli cinema were published in many magazines in Israel and around the world.

2016 - The 18th Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

The 19th annual festival, directed by Atara Frish and Niv Fux, included a pop-up cinema complex in Dizengoff Center and increased exposure of the festival throughout the city. For one magical and strange evening, the entire Tel Aviv Cinematheque is changed with lectures and tributes to the film Blue Velvet.
Among the international guests of honor at the festival: directors Michel Hazanavicius, David Gordon Green, Joao Pedro Rodriguez, Darius Clark Monroe and Götz Spielmann, editors Monika Wille and Claire Atherton and producer Robert Lantos.

Above: Poster for the 18th Film Festival, 2016. Design: Avisar Goldman, Yitzhak Yitzhaky. Photo: Misha Kaminsky.

2016 - Book series Depth of Field is published by Tel Aviv University

The Steve Tisch School of Cinema and Television launched the non-fiction series of books entitled Depth of the Field - The Tish Series for Film and Television, published by Am Oved in collaboration with Tel Aviv University. The series focuses on various aspects of the cinematic medium from a wide range of theoretical, historical and aesthetic approaches, while giving priority to the study of Israeli cinema and television. Its purpose is to publish original research works from Israel and translations of classic and contemporary studies for researchers, students and the general public, and to encourage the creation of a critical and up-to-date filmic discourse in Israel. To date, 18 books have been published in the series.

Above: Cover of the book Traces of Days to Come, Am Oved Publishing, 2016. Photo: David Adika. Design: Yehuda Deri.

2016 - The first Departmental Colloquium

At each meeting, an issue is presented before the colloquium’s participants by a researcher in the field from the school's faculty, advanced students as well as guests from Israel and abroad. Training sessions on professional topics are also held for MA and PhD students dealing with topics such as publication in journals and academic conferences.
The subject of the first colloquium: Jewish and Israeli cinema, television and digital media.

Above: Poster for The first Colloquium, 2016. Courtesy of the film archive.

2016 - The Heroine Project

A screening is held at the Haifa festival of the Heroine Project - A collection of films by female directors with a common theme, produced in the School under the direction of Maya Dreyfus and Michal Vinik. One of the project's films, The Love Letter by Atara Frish, won many awards and served as the basis for the television series Dismissed.

Above: Heroine Project Logo.

2017 - The 19th Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

The second annual festival under the direction of Atara Frish and Niv Fux includes a tribute to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey which includes an interactive experience at the Cinematheque and an exhibition called The Enemy, which combines virtual reality with a three-dimensional reconstruction in order to evoke empathy with different sides in various wars around the world.
Among the guests of honor: editors Janus Billeskov Jansen, Skip MacDoland and Fred Raskin, cinematographers Luca Bigazzi and Istvan Borbas, TV showrunner Hans Rosenfeldt, producer Hugo Sigman and Polish director Michael Marczak whose film All Those Sleepless Nights opened the festival.

Above: Poster for the 19th Film Festival, 2017. Design: Ben Nerubay, Hadar Nerubay. Photo: Misha Kaminsky.

2017 - Launch of T-Port

A professional website and digital business card for young creators. The aim of T-Port is to bring together students from dozens of film schools in Israel and around the world and the global short film industry and to introduce their works to the open public.

Above: Logo for the T-Port website.

2018 - The 20th Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

The festival marked its 20th year with Danielle Angel and Ori Aharon as festival directors.
Among the guests of honor are the directors Jacques Audiard, Carlos Reygadas, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Sonja Heiss and Kornel Mundruczo who returned to the festival with his writing partner Kata Weber.

Above: Poster for the 20th Film Festival, 2018. Design: Nerubay Studio.

2018 - The launch Gachliliot (Fireflies) magazine

A film magazine on the subject of film and television, published by the Steve Tisch School of Cinema and Television. The publication is anchored in a global perspective, both in terms of the theoretical discourse and in terms of the cultural trends discussed, yet at the same time it is rooted in Israeli filmmaking, with all its historical, national, religious and ethnic variety and nuances.
Gachliliot seeks to illuminate the wide breadth and the diverse perspectives of local and international cinema, and is written by renowned researchers, doctoral students, graduate students, alongside female and male filmmakers.

Above: Poster for the launch of the first issue of Gahliliot, 2018. Photo: Amit Yasur. Design: Eran Tal, Zohar Koren.

2018 – Yotsrot Marot conference

The women's film and television conference was held for the first time in 2018 under the title: "The politics of women's creation in Israel: cinema, television, video art". Over the following years the conference focused on different and diverse topics. Conference organizers: Yaara Ozeri and Anat Dan.
Ozeri: "The purpose of the conference is not only to provide a platform for the necessary and urgent discussion of the politics of creative women in Israel, but also to stimulate this discourse and encourage researchers to focus and deepen their research on the issues that will be raised at the conference. The conference will be attended by world class researchers specializing in film, television, video art, visual culture, gender, sociology, anthropology, communication, feminism, activism and more. Directors and artists will present excerpts from their works and discuss issues arising from the creative work."

Above: Poster for the Conference, 2018. Design: TAU Graphics Studio.

2018 - The first Docosophia conference

An international conference on philosophical documentary cinema held at the film school, in collaboration with the Docaviv festival. Organizers of the conference: Shai Biderman, Shmulik Duvdevani and Ohad Landesman.

Above: Poster for the Conference, 2018. Design: TAU Graphics Studio.

2018 - Virtual magazine Off Screen is founded

Students Yuval Parnass-Mader and Ohad Amichai founded an online magazine in which school students and recent graduates write in-depth cinematic analyses, continuing the tradition that began with Close-Up and continued with Sratim magazine.

2019 - The 21st Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Mya Kaplan and Talia Wigoder take on the role of directors of the festival, which for the first time also launches a competition for experimental cinema. Among the festival’s guests of honor are directors Emanuele Crialese, Larry Clark, Lone Scherfig, Elina Psykouand, Emin Alper, producer-Director Teona Strugar Mitevska and Senior Editor Nelly Quettier.

Above: Poster for the 21th Film Festival, 2019. Design: Nerubay Studio.

2019 - "Bli Ein Hara" Conference

The first colloquium of its kind for Mizrahi studies in cinema and media, among the participants: Merav Alush Levron, Boaz Hagin, Raz Yosef, Kfir Cohen Lustig, Eyal Sagie Bizawi. The second conference in the series was held in 2021.

Above: Poster for the Conference, 2018. Design: TAU Graphics Studio.

2019 – Adventures in Film Research: In Memory of Annette Michelson

A special event in memory of one of the pioneers of film research, Prof. Annette Michelson (New York University), and one of the founders of the field of film studies in academia around the world and who, together with Rosalind Krauss, founded the important quarterly journal October. The conference dealt with Prof. Michelson's theory about the cinematic avant-garde.
The finest researchers attending this international conference to discuss experimental cinema. The purpose of the conference is to honor Prof. Michelson's legacy, to emphasize the importance of avant-garde research and cinematic experimentation, and to guide the next generation in the development of this field.

Above: Poster for the Conference, 2018. Design: Yael Kfir, TAU Graphics Studio.

2020 - The 22nd Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

Festival directors Mya Kaplan and Talia Wigoder and their team endeavored to find ways to hold the annual festival even during the COVID epidemic, and initiated a model that combines physical screenings on the big screen with virtual screenings.
A tightening of the restrictions on gathering that came into effect upon the opening of the festival, limited the events that were planned to be held throughout Tel Aviv, but the virtual edition succeeds in bringing, to viewers all around the country, about 150 student films and new media projects even in such a challenging year.

Above: Poster for the 22th Film Festival, 2020. Design: Gimel2 Studio, Elinor Shalem.

2021 - The 23rd Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

The festival, under the direction of Chen Shmueli and Michal Haggiag, returned to its physical format - although most of the international guests still could not attend it physically. Nevertheless, cinematographer Frederick Elmes arrived to teach an extended master class workshop after having visited the school in the past. Filmmakers such as Celine Sciamma, Claire Denis, Radu Jude, Bertrand Bonello and Melanie Laurent gave masterclasses via Zoom.

Above: Poster for the 23rd Film Festival, 2021. Design: Field-Day Studio.

2022 - Karaoke By Moshe Rosenthal

The second film produced thanks to the Tisch Foundation for First Features and produced by Gaudeamus Productions. The film had its world premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival and a national premiere at the Jerusalem Film Festival, where it won the Best Debut Award and the Audience Choice Award.
The film, which received favorable reviews, was nominated for 14 Ophir awards and won four of them: Best actor, best actress, best soundtrack and best score.

Above: Poster for Karaoke. All rights reserved to Gaudeamus Productions.
Below: Efrat Cohen, Moshe Rosenthal, Sasson Gabai at the film's Tribeca premiere.

2022 - The 24th Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival

The festival resumed operation without any COVID restrictions and was attended by students and guests of honor from around the world. Among the guests are filmmakers Mia Hansen-Love, Albert Serra, Sebastian Lelio, Nana Ekvtimishvili, Angela Schanalec and Joey Soloway, alongside cinematographer Gökhan Tiryaki.

Above: Poster for the 24th Film Festival, 2022. Design: Gimel2 Studio, Elinor Shalem.