Tag: arts

Michal Bat Adam Receives Israel Prize for Film Art

Broke barriers to become one of Israeli cinema’s first directors.

The Israel Prize for Film Art was awarded this week – to Michal Bat Adam, a lecturer at TAU’s The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, who has written and directed 13 full sized movies, among them: “Moments“ (1979), “The Lover” (1985), “A Thousand and One Wives” (1989), “Aya: Imagined Autobiography” (1994), Love at Second Sight (1999), Life Is Life (2003), Maya (2010), The Road to Where (2016) and more. In addition, Bat Adam has starred in numerous movies, plays and on TV. She starred in many films by her late husband, Moshe Mizrahi, such as: “I Love You, Rosa” (1972), “The House on Chelouche Street” (1973) – both of which were nominated for an Oscar in the ‘foreign-language film’ category – “Daughters, Daughters” (1973), and Madame Rosa (1977), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Two years ago, Bat Adam was awarded the Ophir Award for Lifetime Achievement (2019). The Ophir Award is colloquially known as the Israeli Oscars or the Israeli Academy Awards – awards for excellence in the Israeli film industry awarded by the Israeli Academy of Film and Television The Israel Prize committee said in a statement that, “Michal is a groundbreaking artist in Israeli cinema for five decades…[E]ven in a low-budget reality, at a time when there were still no government funds that supported filmmaking moviemaking as is customary today, Bat Adam has, over the years, produced 12 additional full length films that constitute a unique and original cinematic space. Her fruitful and meaningful film career is a significant inspiration for creators who dream of working in cinema.” Bat Adam is a director, screenwriter and actress committed to a unique, female cinema – uncompromising and groundbreaking. As an inspiring teacher and creator, she continues to influence the students at the school, as well as creators in Israel and around the world. Tel Aviv University, the Faculty of Arts and the School of Film and Television congratulate Michal on receiving the award and wish her continued productive work. featured image:
Actress and Film Director Michal Bat Adam has received the prestigious Israel Prize

And the Oscar goes to…

Tel Aviv University Team Receives Prize for Significant Technological Impact to Film Industry.

The American Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the Academy Award winners in the Scientific & Engineering category for 2021: Prof. Meir Feder of the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering at Tel Aviv University, and his former student and co-founding partner of the startup company Amimon, Dr. Zvi Reznic. Amimon’s senior executives Guy Dorman and Ron Yogev also share the Award. Amimon was founded in 2004 by Prof. Meir Feder, Dr. Zvi Resnic and Noam Geri (also a TAU graduate).

Watch TAU Prof. Meir Feder’s reaction to winning an Oscar:

 

 

Used in the Global Film Industry

Every year, in addition to the winners of the traditional Oscar Awards, the American Academy of Motion Pictures announces winners in various scientific and technical categories, honored for their substantial impact on the global film industry. Last night, the Academy announced that the wireless video technology developed by the Amimon team, and implemented through Amimon’s chip-set, is the winner of the prestigious Award for significant scientific and engineering contribution to the film industry.

Prof. Feder says that the prize-winning technology is now used throughout the global film industry. He explains that the technology is able to transmit very high quality video shots, reliable and without delays, from a large number of cameras, in real time, to monitors on the set. This provides the film’s director and the control crew full control of all shooting angles simultaneously.

Joseph Pitchhadze, a film creator from The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television explains that “The main importance of Prof. Meir Feder’s technological development is shortening the set building in Multi Camera productions. This novel technology saves production time and frees significantly more time for the creation itself.”

The Academy Award Committee stated: “By using novel extensions of digital data transmission and compression algorithms, and data prioritization based on error rate, the Amimon chipset supports the creation of systems with virtually unrestricted camera motion, expanding creative freedom during filming.”

Proud Moment for TAU

Prof. Feder: “This is a very exciting day for me, and a proud moment for Tel Aviv University. We developed the basic technology in 2004-2005, when everyone thought that the task was very difficult or even impossible. We knew that it was a real technological achievement, but never imagined we would win the Oscar for it. About a year ago, the Prize Committee notified us that we had been nominated, but I thought it was just a gimmick.

“About a month ago, I suddenly got an official email from the Academy in Hollywood, informing us that we had won the Oscar. We were elated. I have won many academic awards, but the Oscar is certainly the most famous, an award that every person in the street knows. For me and the great team who took part in developing the technology, this is an enormous achievement and I feel very proud.”

Featured image: The Happy Team (from left to right): Guy Dorman, Dr Zvi Reznic, Prof. Meir Feder and Ron Yogev

Finding Humor in Imperfection

The “TAU Review” held a Zoom interview with well-known Israeli comedian, writer and TV and radio host, Einav Galili, who earned her BA in psychology and arts from TAU in 2001.
By Melanie Takefman “Holocaust jokes are a wonderful thing,” says TAU alumna Einav Galili. “When you laugh at something, it doesn’t dishonor it; it’s another way of dealing with something that’s impossible to deal with…the Holocaust intrigues me and in that way it is totally mine to laugh about.” By contrast, if a German told a Holocaust joke, “I would shoot him,” she says jokingly, maintaining her trademark poker face. “Comedy is a way to expose our dark side without anyone dying.” For decades, Galili has brought a sharp, intellectual and hilariously wry voice to Israeli media.  Yet, with her influence comes responsibility: Galili believes that she has a role to play in shaping public discourse. “It’s part of my job to extract topics from their conventional molds and clichés and forge something more complex,” she says. In Israel, “you must be radical to have a presence…People want short, extreme and click-baity. I often try to give a fuller picture….I try very hard not to be predictable.” The same is true about the range of subjects she broaches on the morning radio show she co-hosts: from politics to the connection between Koala and human diseases. For Galili, comedic and serious content need not be separated. “The most interesting people are those whose humor is laced with pain and whose pain is laced with humor. In the end, it’s all different layers of the same thing.” Yet, sometimes being funny comes at a cost. As a main panelist on one of the country’s longest-running TV satires, State of the Nation (later renamed Back of the Nation), Galili is no stranger to controversy. “What we say makes people uncomfortable…..It’s a program that’s a big headache to support and maintain. You have to withstand pressure and you receive angry phone calls.” Still, she has never been censored. With governments around the world cracking down on journalists and limiting freedom of speech, she doesn’t take that for granted and considers herself “spoiled” in this respect.  At the same time, she says that viewers themselves often quash serious programming. “You come home in the evening. Life is tough…it’s hard to make a living…there are a million things to deal with. You don’t have the energy for another burdensome investigation about violence against women. You want Netflix!” she says. “I can understand them.” Exposing national neuroses That being said, satire is “like the vital signs of a human body. If we don’t have it, it’s like declaring death.” ​​​Humor is especially important during crises such as the Corona pandemic. “Sometimes humor can be divisive; one groups laughs at another. But when people laugh about a common experience such as Corona, it brings people together.” She adds, Humor exposes the neuroses that characterize Israeli society….there is a very interesting dance with humor around taboos. It helps determine what’s legitimate and what’s not.”   Photo: Adi Orni In addition to her radio show and Back of the Nation, she hosts the Israeli version of the BBC TV program Room 101, in which she interviews Israeli personalities about their biggest fears or pet peeves. She also lectures about humor and writes newspaper columns. She recently produced a documentary about the anti-aging industry. Galili is one of several well-known female comedians in Israel, but women are still the minority in the field. An avowed feminist, she says that she insists on having at least one female writer on the Back of the Nation team. What separates her from her male counterparts, she says, are the jokes she doesn’t make. She will never make a joke about a woman being old or ugly or fat, she says. ”It’s not in my agenda.”
She will, however, soliloquize about her children’s hamsters, riffing on their proclivity for reproduction and what happened when she had to eulogize one of two identical pets (she didn’t know which one died.)

​Her various endeavors have given her insights into the human psyche. ”We live in a society preoccupied with perfection: We strive to look perfect, to make a good impression, to portray ourselves as more than what we are, more beautiful, younger, more confident, more successful in our careers, taller, skinnier.”

To her, perfect is boring. It is exactly in imperfection“the defects and the cracks”that she finds her most engaging and inclusive material.

Drawing on academic training Analyses like these exemplify how psychology permeates Galili’s many professional roles. Her TAU studies left an imprint on her in other ways too. Studying at the University taught her discipline and the value of hard work. In academia, and particularly in psychology, a very competitive program, everything is systematic, she says. If you put in the effort, you see results. Her studies also armed her with critical thinking skills—how to differentiate between reliable and unreliable information—an important ability in the era of social media and fake news. Galili recalls her time at TAU as a very enjoyable and enriching experience. She was completely immersed in her studies, alongside “amazing” classmates and inspiring professors. She remembers Prof. Ina Weiner, a “fascinating” professor who taught her honors psychology, and art historian Dr. Henry Unger, who “taught me elementary terms about the arts world. It was precisely enough to know what to look for.” As an alumna, Galili is one of 85,000 members of the TAU Alumni Organization, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, under the direction of Sigalit Ben Hayoun. The Organization’s goal is to leverage the influence of TAU alumni as a positive force in Israeli society and serve alumni through shared knowledge, networking and opportunities. Upon receiving her BA, Galili completed the coursework for a master’s degree in psychology, but never submitted a thesis. Even though she is very happy with where her career has taken her, she has never stopped dreaming of returning to TAU to complete her MA. We hope she realizes that dream. Featured image: Einav Galili. Photo: Shay Bachar.

Zooming in and out of class

We asked TAU professors about the benefits and challenges of remote teaching, and what they plan to take with them into the post-pandemic world

Due to the coronavirus, Tel Aviv University, like many universities across the globe, has moved its classes to an online format. But can you really copy-paste a class into Zoom and expert the same experience for students? How are professors coping with the challenges of students who are sitting at home, amid a million distractions? We talked to different professors from across campus to find out.

The unexpected benefits of a crisis

Dr. Jonathan Ostrometzky teaches at the “Sciences for High Tech” program. He’s currently teaching two courses over Zoom, both for advanced B.Sc students.

According to him, remote teaching has brought unexpected advantages. “In “Introduction to Hardware”, the larger class I teach, I’ve been recording myself giving the lecture, with the presentation and all the details, and then sending students the video, even as far as a week in advance,” says Dr. Ostrometzky.

Doesn’t that make the class over Zoom unnecessary? “Not at all,” he says. “Some of the students watch the lecture in advance, though not all of them. The material is packed with details and it really helps students to be able to review things before the live lecture. It also means the questions I get, the discussion we can have, goes much deeper.”

More time for more questions

Dr. Asia Ben Cohen and Dr. Gideon Segev teach a large intro course at the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering together, to about 250 students. “The first week,” Dr. Segev says, “Dr. Ben Cohen taught classes while I was already in isolation because of COVID-19.”

Like Dr. Ostrometzky, they’ve also found that moving to Zoom has given their lectures room to breathe. “The course is one of the “heaviest” in terms of the material, of the entire Bachelor’s program. In class, we usually go pretty slowly, students need time to process and take everything in. It’s very difficult to convey the material purely through presentations, we write on the board a lot, and it helps students follow along.”

Can you learn “heavy” engineering material over Zoom?

Without a board the whole classroom was focused on at the same time, and with the difficulty of keeping students engaged when they were just muted, black boxes on the screen, the lecturers decided to flip the script.

“We divided the work between us,” says Dr. Segev. “Dr. Ben Cohen recorded herself giving the lectures the way we would do them in class, writing out equations and explaining everything as she went, and those were sent to students, so they could review them at home. Then, for my lecture time, I opened Zoom and invited everyone to come and ask questions, have a discussion with me, get help about anything they found unclear.”

Did it work? “About a month after we began online teaching, we sent our students a survey to see how they were doing, and got some really positive feedback. People were happy that they could review material, pause, repeat, and then ask me their questions live on Zoom.”

Saving the environment through Zoom

Prof. Hadas Mamane, who teaches the class “Water Purifying Technologies” to Master’s students, finds remote learning has its upsides. “I can see questions students have over chat,” Prof. Manage says. “Share different screens with them, do a poll in the middle of the class to check whether they’ve understood the material. It’s also easier to bring on guest lecturers and expose the students to broader perspectives, and it allows flexibility for students who study and work at the same time.”

Is Zoom better for the environment?

There’s also one major advantage to remote learning that Prof. Mamane sees as especially relevant for her work. “As someone who cares deeply about the environment, I see a huge benefit in the fact that my students and I don’t have to waste fuel or resources to attend a class. We, as a society and a university, have to keep our eyes on the environmental crisis, and remote learning allows us to cut back on harmful emissions.”

The challenge of engagement

But of course, there are some challenges that come with remote teaching as well. “It’s harder to tell whether students are really engaged,” says Dr. Ostrometzky. “I sometimes pause the class and ask them a question, just to see who’s listening and get some kind of feedback.”

Is anyone out there? Telling whether students are engaged can be tough.

Dr. Gal Raz, who teaches two advanced film classes at the David and Yolanda Katz Faculty of the Arts, agrees. “I teach two 4-hour classes in one day, and it’s not easy sitting in front of a screen for eight hours and feeling a bit like I’m talking to myself. The lack of eye contact isn’t very pleasant. It’s also not easy for my three children to stay quiet for that long.”

Maya Dreifuss, a director who teaches film directing and screenwriting, finds the classroom atmosphere is also difficult to replicate. “Things happen when people are in the same space together, students barge into each other’s words, talk at the same time, even when these interactions are a little disruptive they still contribute to a vibrant energy and class atmosphere.”

What happens after the pandemic?

The professors we spoke to were divided in how much of the online learning experience can be taken back into the classroom, once we eventually return to normal life.

“Everyone should be able to study in the way that works best for them,” says Dr. Ostrometzky. “I plan to keep the videos for every future iteration of the class, so students can review them whenever they want. It only enhances the classroom experience.”

What happens when we all go back to our regular classrooms?

Dr. Mamane agrees. “I feel like I’ve gone through a huge change and I don’t want to go back to how things were. I want to meet students face-to-face but also use Zoom for flexibility and things like guest lectures.”

Dr. Raz and Maya Dreifuss see things differently, both agreeing that not much of remote learning can be taken back into post-pandemic life. “Zoom can be good for one-on-one meetings with students,” Dr. Raz says. “But nothing can replace the classroom atmosphere.”

Maybe the difference of opinion can be attributed to the fact that in the arts, the classroom discussion generally carries a greater weight than in the exact sciences? Regardless, all the professors we spoke to felt remote learning has changed their perspective in some way, and has given them a new experience of teaching. Hopefully, when we all return to our classes, this new perspective will lead to even better teaching and greater academic insights.

Rethinking our plan(e)t

A new exhibition at TAU’s Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery combines stunning photos, nature, and tech

“Plan(e)t”, a new exhibition at the Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery, has turned the gallery space into a colorful landscape of plants, animals, and large mysterious objects. Walking from room to room, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush fruit trees and fearsome birds of prey, strolling through an arid desert and visiting a field of robotic plants. A view of paradise “Promised Land,” the work of David Burns and Austin Young, which stretches across the walls and first-floor windows of the gallery, offers visitors views to Israeli nature: birds, insects, some from the archives of the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, and the rich and diverse vegetation of Israel’s fruit trees. The photos the exhibition is comprised of were taken across the country by the artists during a period of several months. Visitors are also offered maps, which they can take with them, with the locations of fruit trees across Tel Aviv’s urban landscape.    From the "Promised Land”: The gallery walls covered in all the colors of the rainbow. (Photo: Asaf Brenner)  From the “Promised Land”: The gallery walls covered in all the colors of the rainbow. (Photo: Asaf Brenner) Meet me in the living room The “living room” created by the Onya Collective is a bright, living space intended for resting, reading and taking in the exhibition. This is a growing space, in all senses of the word, where workshops and discussions will take place, and will continue to change and expand as the exhibition continues.   A plant environment that’s also an urban environment A plant environment that’s also an urban environment Robots in the field Artist Liat Segal, known for her sophisticated use of technology, has created huge stems that respond to the changing light in the gallery space. Like plants in nature, their movement follows the light and adapts to how it changes. The stems of the robotic “plants” are coated with carbon fiber, a material that combines both organic and artificial properties.    "Tropism" - giant stalks that illustrate the movement of plants. (Photo by Asaf Brenner)  “Tropism” – giant stalks that illustrate the movement of plants. (Photo by Asaf Brenner) The weeping stones The final part of the exhibition is the work of the French artist Stephan Teide, “The Weeping Stones”. The giant boulders hanging in the air undermine the laws of gravity, while shedding tears in an arid world, lacking any hint of vegetation. The work presents a “miracle”: the stones seem to produce water by themselves, and the constant dripping produces both a meditative and otherworldly experience.   The weeping stone (Photo: Asaf Brenner) The weeping stones (Photo: Asaf Brenner) Like nature, the exhibition is expected to change and grow throughout the year, as its living components change, expand, wilt and renew themselves. The exhibition will be open until June 2020, and will include guided tours, lectures and other events open to the public.

TAU grad’s short film sold to HBO

Atara Frish’s “The Love Letter”, produced at the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, was purchased for broadcast by HBO Europe.

“The Love Letter” is a 19-minute-long film that deals with a complex relationship between two female soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, a novice soldier and her direct superior. The relationship between the two ranges from romantic attraction to standard military bureaucracy. Noa (Gili Beit Hallahmi), a dedicated commander of new recruits in the IDF, receives a mysterious love letter from one of her female underlings. Suspecting that the letter is fake, she’s forced to choose between adhering to strict military protocol and giving in to her desire to feel loved, if only for a moment.

The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Festival’s Short Film Competition, where it received special notice in the “Student Vision” category. The film also won the top prize at the Jerusalem Festival’s Short Film Competition, and was screened at Palm Springs Festival in the U.S. and many other international film festivals around the world.

“The Love Letter” was produced as part of the “Heroine” project, where five female directors created a short film each, which was then combined into one full-length feature. The project was produced at the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, under the artistic direction of Michal Winnick and Mia Dreyfus, and produced by Efrat Cohen (Gaudamus Productions), and screened around the world.

Atara Frish is currently working on a TV series based on “The Love Letter”, as well as writing a full-length script for a feature film.

From VR to the migrant crisis at TAU’s international film festival

International students, filmmakers and glitterati attend to 21st edition of the TAU student film festival, held throughout the city of Tel Aviv

The Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival — one of the largest and most influential student film festivals in the world, according to CILECT, the International Association of Film and Television Schools — celebrated its 21st edition on June 16-22 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.

 

“This year we stressed the tension between traditional forms of filmmaking and the inventive storytelling of the digital age we are in,” says Mya Kaplan, co-director of this year’s festival with Talia Wigoder. “While most of the films screened were ‘traditional’ in the sense that an audience is watching artwork on a screen, many student filmmakers employed cutting-edge technology that afforded audience members the opportunity to truly experience the stories as they unfolded. This technology might be a 360-degree camera that twirls the spectator around or 3D animation, or virtual reality. We are a new generation of filmmakers who fall right in between traditional and future modes of storytelling.”

 

“We embarked on two new events at the festival this year that showcase how the digital age allows artists to tell their stories in new, bright and interesting ways,” Wigoder adds. “The International Digital Media Exhibition and Competition allows visitors to physically enter a film through virtual reality technology and artificial intelligence. Technology allows spectators to sit up from their seats and immerse themselves in the creative process. The Experimental Film Competition showcases films that question the position of contemporary art, of fundamental cultural concepts, without providing any answers.”

 

The only school where filmmakers own their work

The festival was founded in 1986 by students from Tel Aviv University’s Steve Tisch School of Film and Television and is now an annual event supported by the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, the Israel Film Council and TAU. The Tisch School is the only film school in the world where student filmmakers own the rights to their student films. The School’s admission policy is equally unique. All qualified applicants — high school graduates with appropriate college entrance exam scores, etc. — are admitted to the first-year BFA program. Sixty-five students are invited to continue to the second year, after faculty and lecturers have had the opportunity to gauge the quality and artistic merit of their work.

 

Still from Adi Mishnayot’s film “Image of Victory”

 

TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Head of the Tisch School Prof. Raz Yosef and others paid homage to festival participants and organizers in a video screened during the opening ceremony at Jaffa’s HaPisga Garden.

 

“The increasing global impact of the Tisch School is demonstrated not only by the wide pull of the Festival, but also by our outstanding showing on the international stage,” Prof. Porat says.

 

“Last year, Tisch students presented their films at 312 screenings in over 30 countries and received 68 awards from major venues such as Locarno and Jerusalem,” Prof. Porat adds. “This year the Tisch School launched an English-language International MFA Program in Documentary Cinema, a particular strength in Israel that we can now export and leverage for additional partnerships with top institutions abroad.”

 

Over 100 student films 

Prize-winning films included Andreas Muggli’s Hamama and Caluna (The International Competition); Adi Mishnayot’s Image of Victory (The Israeli Competition); Lee Gilat’s Committed (The Short Independent Competition); Yair Bartal and Nofar Laor’s Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost (The Digital Media Competition); and Or Arieli’s Billboard (The Experimental Film & Video Competition).

 

Still from Lee Gilat’s film “Committed”

 

This year’s festival showcased more than 100 short films from 28 countries and drew more than 100 film students, filmmakers and directors from around the world for special screenings, master classes and cultural pop-up events across the city. The festival’s unique Film Bus, a traveling theater that brings the short films to all parts of the country, made its eighth nationwide circuit.

 

In addition, the festival, in cooperation with Israeli fashion house Renuar, emphasized the special connection between cinema and fashion. A variety of fashion-centric lectures by designers and international stylists and screenings of fashion films were held across the city. Master classes held by members of the Israel Screenwriting Guild and the Makor Hebrew Foundation on how to make films outside the film school framework were among the best-attended festival events.

Featured image: A still from Andreas Muggli’s winning film “Hamama and Caluna”

 

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