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Israeli filmmaker to screen award-winning movie ‘Diplomat’ at SU Nov. 30
Dana Goren, an Israeli director and screenwriter, will present her movie, “Diplomat,” at Syracuse University on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 6 p.m. in the main auditorium in the Life Sciences Complex. Goren, whose documentary examines the lives of Russian-Jewish immigrants in Israel in the post-Cold War era, will be available for a question-and-answer session following the screening. The program is presented by the Judaic Studies Program at SU.
“Diplomat” is a documentary about a once luxurious, five-star hotel in Jerusalem, with eight floors, 700 rooms, aged long corridors, green lawns and vestiges of a pool. For 20 years, the hotel has been a respite for 600 immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The residents have never assimilated into Israeli culture, instead existing secluded from the outside world. The idea to shoot the documentary was sparked when Goren’s father, who owns a piano shop in Jerusalem, asked Goren if she knew what was happening in the Diplomat Hotel.
“I said that I remember that our high school graduation party was in the pool of the hotel, as it was the hip place at that time,” says Goren. Her father told her the hotel had changed and encouraged the young filmmaker to make a visit so she could see it with her own eyes. Goren did, and knew she had to tell the story. “But at that point, I had no idea yet how to do that. I’m not related to the Russian community and didn’t speak the language. I was driven and drawn into an extraordinary world that exists inside a hotel in the city where I grew up. I wanted to create an intimate look into the lives of the people who were lost in time and space and somehow forgotten. I felt their story is a mirror to us, the Israeli society.”
“Diplomat,” Goren’s first feature documentary, won the 2009 Wolgin Award for best documentary at the Jerusalem International Film Festival; special mention at the Rhovot Film Festival; and nomination for best feature documentary at the Israeli documentary competition.
Goren graduated from the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem and studied still photography in New York and Jerusalem. Goren also won the Galit Rozen Merit Award for her documentary film “Contrapunkt,” which was successfully screened in numerous festivals around the world. She is fluent in Hebrew and English and fully proficient in French.