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Israeli Filmmakers Bring New Perspective to Local Students

Nir Bergman is currently teaching at San Diego State University. Photo by Yarden Tavori

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Nir Bergman, award-winning Israeli filmmaker, is teaching students at San Diego State University that cinema has many layers and filmmaking takes understanding different cultures and different experiences.

As part of the Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artist Program, the director, writer, and co-creator of the HBO TV series “In Treatment,” is teaching for a semester at the university. Bergman who has had 20 years experience in filmmaking said he is enjoying his time in San Diego and teaching students.
“I like to teach I enjoy it, I enjoy seeing how new young minds think and how they see cinema,” Bergman said.

Award-winning Israeli filmmaker David Ofek will also be teaching at the university. He is one Israel’s leading documentary and television series makers.

“This will be my first time teaching in the U.S. and I couldn’t be more excited to meet the students, hear their stories, and guide them with my knowledge and experience. I’ve heard so many good things about San Diego, and I’m looking forward to discovering the city for myself,” David Ofek said. “I’m grateful to the Israel Institute for this wonderful opportunity to expose students in San Diego to Israel’s history and rich culture, and to be part of the Jewish life there.”

Program’s Director Marge Goldwater said while most schools screen a film and have a Q&A with visiting artists, the Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artists Programs gives students the opportunity to interact more with the visiting artist.

David Ofek. Photo Courtesy of Israel Institute

She said it allows students to study for an entire semester with the visiting artist and really look in depth at their art.

“We are living in a global universe and I think colleges across america are really focused on international education,” Goldwater said. “It’s important to meet different artists and scholars from all over the world to function at the maximum in today’s world. ”

Goldwater is in charge of playing a “matchmaker” kind of role with matching schools with artists that will compliment their programs or providing schools with artists that can offer a skill that that school does not have but will benefit their students.

She said the visiting artist are teaching from a different perspective from the other teachers at the school that the students are studying with during the course of four years.

“The exposure broadens their sense of the world and enriches their own filmmaking,” Goldwater said.

Bergman said he took the opportunity to teach in San Diego because he saw it as an interesting chance to not only expand the minds of his students but also his own mind.

Through his teaching, he hopes that students will understand that it takes more than just their personal experiences to make a film. He said it takes having a knowledge of different stories and cultures, and it takes understanding that it is a lot of work.

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