Immigrant Story: Isak

Isak came to Israel to study film, which wouldn’t be so surprising if he wasn’t Italian. Rossellini, Fellini, Benigni, not to mention Sophia Loren. Israel’s Oscar list pales by comparison.

But in Italy, he says, everything moves in slow motion. He spent three years at the University of Padova, and afterwards there was just nothing to do. He tells me about a recent Facebook post he saw from an association offering free secretarial training for the unemployed, ages 21-29. It’s not the first time he saw such a message. There is a great sense of social injustice, he says. Especially for young people.

So why didn’t he go to the US? He would have if it wasn’t so expensive. NYU film school costs about $60,000 per annum. He didn’t want to take such a risk on what is essentially a make-or-break industry.

Such modesty is rather uncommon among film-makers, but then again he grew-up in a close-knit family.

Originally from Northern Iran, his parents immigrated to Italy just before he and his sister were born. They did a good job, he says. His mother would help him with his homework, his father would take him to the movies, and every sunday, they would visit cousins in Verona.

He misses his family and he misses his friends, but when he goes back to Italy, he sees that his life is here. Almost finished with his Masters at Tel Aviv University, he recently began working at an internet start-up. That’s in addition to his other commitments: the university’s student film festival, a live music project and his own films–the first of which will be screened at a film festival in Amsterdam.

He says he feels serene–an unusual word to describe anything in Tel Aviv. But here, maybe, he has a sense of home.

About the Author
Lauren Blanchard is an International Relations graduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Since moving to Israel, she has developed a habit of long distance beach running, dropping bits of wearable technology into the sea, and writing about start-ups and society.
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