About Us

Our Mission

Founded in 2007, The Other Israel Film Festival uses film to foster social awareness and cultural understanding. The Festival presents dramatic and documentary films, as well as engaging panels about history, culture, and identity on the topic of minority populations in Israel with a focus on Arab citizens of Israel/Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up twenty percent of Israel’s population. Our goal is to promote awareness and appreciation of the diversity of the state of Israel, provide a dynamic and inclusive forum for exploration of, and dialogue about populations in margins of Israeli society, and encourage cinematic expression and creativity dealing with these themes. Our programming is guided by our mission to showcase quality cinema that brings to the big screen the human stories and daily lives of Arab Citizens and other minorities groups in Israel, often overlooked by mainstream Israeli society and culture.

Letter From Our Founder

The Other Israel Film Festival was founded to be a vehicle for cultural change and social insights into the nature of Israel as a democracy and the complex condition of the lives of its minorities that are living in the Jewish Sate. Israel’s largest minority within its midst is the 1.7 million Arabs. In its 60 years of existence Israel has fostered another group of people who have put down roots in Israel and have born their Hebrew speaking children in its boundaries – Israel’s 300,000 foreign workers. It is not about the conflict – it is not about taking sides – this festival is about people.

Film can be a powerful tool, it can show new sides, change perceptions, and evoke emotions. Through the use of film we are provided with a human dimension that extends beyond the daily news bulletins. Film can explore the deeper meaning of everyday living. Through these films, the festival aims to present the lives, dreams and strengths of the Arab minority and to show their participation in Israeli life. Foreign workers present a unique condition in Israeli society and we aim to familiarize our audience with the faces of “foreign workers.”

I care deeply about Israel and its future. Growing up in a democratic Jewish state has without any doubt shaped the cultural and national identity of all of its inhabitants and citizens – who know no other home. These films and artistic expressions are paving the way to co-existence and a new, more inclusive culture in the Middle East.

Carole Zabar

Who We Are

Carole Zabar – Founder

Mrs. Zabar has been an active supporter of Israeli documentary filmmaking over the last decade and has recently founded the Other Israel Film Festival. As part of her support for Israeli cultural, social and political causes, Mrs. Zabar serves as board member of The JCC in Manhattan, New Israel Fund, and the American Friends of Meretz.

Isaac Zablocki – Executive Director

Isaac Zablocki is the Director of Film Programs at the JCC in Manhattan and the Director and co-founder of ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival – The largest cultural festival of its kind in the world. The festival runs in 25 locations throughout the New York Metro area and in thirteen major cites throughout the country. Isaac is the founder and director of the Israel Film Center including north America’s largest streaming site for Israeli films www.israelfilmcenterSTREAM.org. He writes for many national publications and lectures on film at esteemed institutions around the world.

Ravit Turjeman – Festival Director

Founder and Managing Director of Dragoman Films, a NYC-based boutique distribution company, specializing in marketing of Israeli Cinema in North America. Ravit also serves as director and programmer of numerous film festivals in the Tri-State area.

Ariana Cohen-Halberstam – Festival Coordinator

Associate Director of Film Programs at the Israel Film Center and Cinematters at The JCC in Manhattan. Ariana studied Film Theory and religion, and has worked in film and television industry in various capacities for years – primarily as an editor.