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 Academy Award 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.
Ari started his professional career in entertainment in 1999, creating and hosting the comedic TV segment, The Traveler, for the FX Channel's, The X Show where he traveled the globe, offering a tongue-in-cheek view of the world's unknown hot spots for the young and hip.
Earning a Master's Degree in film from the University of Southern California in 2005, Ari directed and co-wrote West Bank Story. His documentary, Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show, was his feature documentary directorial debut which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released nationwide in theaters in 2008. Ari then went on to direct Aim High 2, an action-comedy starring Jackson Rathbone and Aimee Teegarden, for Warner Bros Digital. In 2015, he directed the hit high school comedy, The D.U.F.F., for CBS Films which was nominated for a People's Choice Award and 5 Teen Choice Awards. Ari recently completed a romantic comedy for Netflix starring Adam Devine entitled, When We First Met, and he is currently attached to direct a franchise launch of Universal's Monster High based on the billion-dollar toy line from Mattel.
Ari is represented by WME and Principatto Young and is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts and Sciences. Between projects, Ari is an adjunct professor at U.S.C's School of Cinematic Arts teaching a Graduate level course on how to navigate the film business.