Two decades ago, a few visionaries at Sapir Academic College bravely opened a film school In the least expected region in the country - between Sderot and Gaza - challenging the college and the system academically as well as from the social and security aspects of life in this beautiful part of the country, the Western Negev, which includes other towns like Netivot, Ofakim Rahat (Beduin), and many Kibbutzim and Moshavim. Without going into the historical circumstances and reasons, we should state the fact that most residents of this region are underprivileged on almost every aspect of life, mainly and not exclusively a lower quality level of educational system k-12.
Our academic and artistic objectives all stem from unique one of kind in Israel, which pedagogically combines theory and praxis into a 4 year program that grants a BFA degree. We believe our graduates should not only become excellent filmmakers in all fields of cinema, but no less become well knowledged, rich in culture and with good social consciousness. After 20 years of teaching and training young filmmakers, we can proudly say that most of our graduates are doing very well in the filmmaking and TV making industries in Israel. The brand name Sapir Cinema School is the most desired in Israel both in the industry and the academic world.
Our BFA tracks:
Film: writing, directing, producing, cinematography, editing.
Television: writing, directing, producing, TV studio, TV drama and TV series, TV formats.
Acting for the screen: training actors and actresses to become actores for camera (not theater), while studying a full BFA program, including writing, directing, producing and some experience with cinematography and editing.
Animation: in this most successful and decorated animation program in Israel, we teach all methods of animation, from hand drawing, to stop motion and all computer animation program out there.
Soundtrack design and music for film: this small and well selected group of students is responsible for every soundtrack design of our students and graduates films in our school. Of course they go beyond that after graduation when absorbed in the film and tellevision market.
We are also proud with our MFA and MA program, which were launched 7 years ago. Our MFA students come to us with either a BFA in film, or other training and experience in the film industry. In this track students are geared towards their new film (feature dramatic film or full documentary film), and from day one the program leads them towards that goal, while of course providing them more training and more theoretical studies. The stress for this program is on the creative aspect. Graduates come out after 2-3 years with a new project in hand, and an MFA degree.
The other track - MA - focuses on film studies with little creative experiences in unique theoretic-creative seminars, where students get some creative experience while studying a theory, or janra or specific school of film in the 2oth century. The stress in this program is on research in the many fields of film and culture.
A special MA program we’ve recently developed is tailored for teachers who’d like to use filmmaking in their teaching, such as history, democracy and government, sociology, literature and more. For this program we developed a special workshop for documentary filmmaking and two special seminars teaching filmmaking tools for the classroom. We expect this program to become popular amongst teachers in the coming years.
Cinema South International Film Festival
Cinema South International Film Festival is part of the School of Audio & Visual Arts at Sapir College, in association with the Sderot Cinematheque.
Cinema South, a unique film festival, focuses on social and cultural perception of the 'South'. The 'South' as a narrative… a language…a worldview…as a concept reflecting the wide range of issues facing both Israeli and global socio-economic & geographic peripheries. The festival operates in an international context and not just as counterpoint to Israel's cultural center - Tel Aviv.
Our vision is to be a center for creativity in film and culture in the South. Cinema South operates regional programing throughout the year to empower communities and offer exposure to a wide range of movies by Israeli and international directors.
Each year in June, Cinema South operates a week long International Festival, with overseas and Israeli filmmakers, screening their films in Sderot and nearby Gaza border communities. The Festival offers Sapir film graduates, national and international platforms for their movies. For many, the festival jump-starts their projects to produce full-length feature films.
The Cinema South Festival provides a stage and screen for the sounds and sights of the Southern discourse, its pain and joys, revealing the complex reality of our lives. In the words of the late great Justice Louis Brandies, "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman." Daring, investigative and challenging cinema is our special southern sunshine, illuminating neglect and prejudice. Our students' films and the festival's rich and varied program include features, documentaries, animation, television and net series, which reveal and explore these stories.
Cinema South attracts a diverse and multi-generational audience that includes residents from urban and rural areas, Bedouin villages, Gaza border communities, kibbutzim and moshavim, filmmakers and film lovers from all over the country.
Cinema South has become a cultural institution that generates change. Through annual activities, collaborations with community and business organizations, we aim to increase awareness, engage in dialogue and encourage groundbreaking cultural innovation.
Prof. Sami Shalom Chetrit
Head of the Audio and Visual Arts School, Sapir Academic College