Exploring Our Connections
As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all of our ways of life, the backStorygroup has also pivoted to follow guidelines and maintain social distancing. One part of this shift includes postponing our May 2020 trip to Israel and continuing to adjust our plans as we monitor the ever-evolving situation.
Though we are hitting pause on planning trips abroad, we don't have to stop exploring, learning, and connecting with one another.We can't take filmmakers, composers and other creators to Israel right now, but we can bring an insider's glimpse of a favorite part of The backStorygroup experience in Israel to you!
Over the summer, we kicked that off with Stories from Israel 2020: Virtual Screenings and Discussions, a series of Israeli student films and discussions with the filmmakers and occasional "surprise guests" from the U.S. and Israel. In August, we launched On the Cusp, an ongoing series of short films from students and recent grads in Israel and the US. Each of these screenings will be followed by an online discussion with the emerging filmmakers and industry pros who will provide their valuable insight. On the Cusp screenings and discussions are open to the registered audience. Our first program featured 5 films (3 from the Ma'aleh School of Film & Television in Jerusalem and 2 from students at the University of Georgia's Grady College) Our special guests were Rick Allen, CEO of ViewLift, writer/director Takashi Doscher, and David Gale, EVP of Development and Production at Gunpowder & Sky. Our September 9-13 program featured 4 films (3 from the College of Audio & Visual Arts at Sapir College and 1 from a recent Grady grad). Our special guests were Judy Cairo & Michael Simpson, partners in Cairo-Simpson Entertainment & Informant Media, and composer George S. Clinton. We love this program, so stay tuned for more!
The Back Room
After the super-successful (virtual!) master class in June by composer Rick Baitz to students of Dr. Amit Weiner, Head of the Cross-Disciplinary Composition Department at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, we had a eureka moment: How great would it be to connect American film students with Israeli music composition students for the purpose of completing their senior capstone films with an original score!
Thus was born the The Back Room, a joint initiative with the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance (JAMD), launched in November, with select senior film students at the University of Georgia's Grady College paired up with composition students at JAMD. We think this is a great way for American and Israeli film and music students to connect and work together towards a mutual creative goal and we're looking forward to seeing –and hearing – the outcomes! More details are here.
Check this page and Coming Attractions frequently for updates as we post new virtual events intended to enrich your cultural palette while connecting with a global community. Or join our mailing list by emailing
Thank you to all of our generous, wonderful, creative and inspiring collaborators during this time: from our friends and filmmakers in Israel to our supporters and fellow creatives in the U.S. We couldn't do this without you.