The Journey to making West Bank Story
Sandel speaks internationally about his experiences in making a comedy about such a controversial and topical issue and what the international response has been. Invited by Sheikh Maktoum of Dubai (a country that does not recognize the state of Israel) to screen it at the Dubai Film Festival in 2005, Sandel speaks about the incredibly positive yet charged and mixed response in the Arab world to his film about peace and hope. He also talks about the reaction to the film by Jews and Israelis and the obstacles of trying to create an even-handed depiction of hope when addressing such a controversial issue.
Making films outside of the box
Sandel speaks about the experience of the short filmmaker, independent filmmaking on shoe-string budgets and how to maximize funds for a professional looking film. He addresses how to market yourself as a filmmaker, how to get an agent, and how to make a film that will get you noticed. He speaks at Universities and film festivals around the world.
Director, writer, and producer, Ari Sandel, won an AcademyAward in 2007 for Best Live Action Short Film for his film, West Bank Story, a musical comedy about Israelis and Palestinians that takes place between two falafel stands in the West Bank. It takes a humorous yet hopeful look at the conflict and as a result has received an overwhelming response from both Arab and Jewish audiences as well as international audiences who have all come to embrace the film. Sandel premiered West Bank Story at the
Sundance Film Festival in 2005 and has since screened it at over 200 film festivals worldwide -- winning 30 awards.
Sandel made his feature documentary directorial debut with Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released theatrically in 2008.
Ari started his career in the entertainment industry in 1999, creating and hosting the comedic TV segment The Traveler for the FX Channel's The X Show. Ari wrote, directed, and hosted the segment for two seasons as he traveled the globe, offering a tongue-in-cheek view of the world's unknown hot spots for the young and hip. Since then, Ari's Oscar win for West Bank Story brought him many opportunities to speak around the world about the Oscars and about the conflict in the Middle East as he has traveled to Europe, the Middle East, and even Chechnya. He lives in Los Angeles where he is developing several projects.