Faces of Israel began as a university research project in January 2007. Amy was an undergraduate student studying abroad at Haifa University and she began learning about the marriage process in Israel. Amy understood that in addition to being an important rite of passage, marriage in Israel also represented a series of deeper questions about how state and religion work –or don’t work- together in a Jewish state.
Amy realized that if she truly wanted to get people thinking about these questions, a movie would be a more successful means than the thesis paper she had planned. And so she began filming, interviewing, editing and so forth, on her own as an ambitious student determined to learn the art of film-making in order to share her newfound interest in and excitement for the subject with the world.
Amy had never so much as picked up a video camera or made a short film in her life and accordingly there was a very steep learning curve. The process was made easier through the financial support of the Johns Hopkins Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and the technical support of the Johns Hopkins Digital Media Center.
She spent an entire Spring semester living in the University’s computer lab, editing and subtitling video clips using programs like Final Cut, DVD Studio Pro and Atlantis (to convert her PAL footage to NTSC). At the time, Amy didn’t realize how much work the project would require. But, even after graduation, she worked on the documentary on weekends and out-of-pocket. Amy was determined to produce a solid documentary that would be a real contribution to the community at large.
There were plenty of bumps along the way (e.g. her hard drive crashed THREE times during the project) but she learned the value of repeated back-ups and managed to jump right back into the project with the support and guidance of her good friend, David Golan, and her husband, Yair Horowitz. Since then, Faces of Israel has become much more than the initial film footage with age-appropriate presentations, curriculum and programming that cover a wide range of religion and state issues in Israel today.
Creating the project was a great experience and Amy encourages each of you to pick up a camera to find and share whatever it is that you are passionate about. Feel free to reach out to Amy with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!