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KNOXVILLE — The Department of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been selected to host a 2009-2010 Schusterman Visiting Israel Professor.

Igal Bursztyn
Igal Bursztyn
Professor Igal Bursztyn is an Israeli filmmaker and an adjunct professor in Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Arts. He will teach and lecture at UT and in Knoxville’s Jewish community during the 2009-2010 academic year, forging ties among community constituencies both on and off campus.

Having directed dozens of full-length motion pictures, short films and documentaries, Bursztyn is known as one of Israel’s foremost filmmakers. He has lectured about his films at New York University and at various film festivals in the U.S.A. and Israel as well as in France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Russia and Taiwan.

UT Knoxville was one of only 20 American universities chosen to host a visiting professor this year through the program. The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise — with support of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation — selects a small number of American universities each year to receive grants to appoint a visitor.

This was the second year in a row that the program selected UT Knoxville to host a visiting professor from Israel. Last year, Professor Rivka Ribak of the University of Haifa taught classes at UT on communication technologies and cultural identity.

“We are so excited that Professor Bursztyn will be spending the next year with us,” said Gilya Schmidt, professor of religious studies and director of the Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies. “His insightful scholarship and fluid artistry in the craft of filmmaking are widely known amongst his colleagues, and Knoxville’s Jewish community welcomes him with open arms,” Schmidt said.

During the 2009-2010 academic year, Bursztyn will teach four courses on Israel, two per semester. They will include “Israel’s Self-Image Through Film” and “Film Thinking in Israel.”

Bursztyn’s scholarly works on film include “Face as Battlefield” (1990), “Film, Language and Civil Wars of Culture” (1996), “Intimate Gazes” (2009), and “Documentation, Fiction, and Documentary” (2004), which is recognized by Israeli film scholars as an important contribution to the academic field.

His films include several documentaries including “Displaced Persons” (1979), “Leibovitz in Maalot” (1979), “Belated Talk” (1987), “Smokescreen” (1999) and “Guide for the Perplexed” (2005). His short dramas include “Louise! Louise!” (1968), “Ethics V” (1992) and “Letters to Felice” (1993). His feature films are “Belfer” (1976), “Everlasting Joy” (1997), “The Glow (Zimzum)” (2000), “Out of the Blue (Etzbah Elohim)” (2008) and he is currently working on “Return of Casanova.”

Bursztyn was born in Manchester, England, and has lived in Israel since 1957.


Gilya Schmidt, (865-974-2466,