Film Screening/Professional Development
The film West Bank Story, winner of the Best Live Action Short Film Academy Award in 2007, will be presented by its director and co-writer, Ari Sandel. Sandel is a University of Arizona alumnus, having received a BA in Media Arts and a Certificate in Middle Eastern Studies from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
West Bank Story
From the Orlando Sentinel: "[This] Oscar-winning short film, by Ari Sandel, is a riotously funny musical, a West Side Story set among rival "gangs" running the Kosher King and the Hummus Hut...
Sandel must have blown the bank on this short, with choreography (clouds of sand kicked up as the competing gangs finger-snap dance at each other), tunes and a big finish. It's easy to see why this won an Oscar. Nothing else in competition with it at the Academy Awards comes close."
From the Los Angeles Times: [Sandel says] "'I wanted to make a movie that was pro-peace.' Everything about 'West Bank Story,' from the fonts in the title card to the lyrics of the songs, has been designed with balance in mind so that the film cannot be seen as pro-this or anti-that."
Not only did this film win an Academy Award, but it was also accepted to more than 200 film festivals where it won 30 awards.
Ari Sandel, Director/Co-Writer
Ari is a director, writer, and producer who has helmed projects like The DUFF (which earned nominations for five Teen Choice Awards and a People's Choice Award), Goosebumps 2, and the second season of the series Aim High. He co-wrote and directed West Bank Story while completing an MFA at USC. In addition to filmmaking, Ari has also taught a graduate course on the film business at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.