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Israeli filmmaker Igal Bursztyn

KNOXVILLE — Israeli filmmaker Igal Bursztyn, a visiting professor from Tel Aviv University, will screen and discuss his films Sunday, April 18, and Tuesday, April 20, at the Frank H. McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Bursztyn, UT Knoxville’s 2009-2010 Schusterman Visiting Israel Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, has been teaching and lecturing this year on campus and in Knoxville’s Jewish community, forging ties among constituencies both on and off campus.

“Igal has a mature body of work, with 40 films of various types to his credit, and he is one of the foremost filmmakers in Israel,” said Gilya Schmidt, professor of religious studies and director of the Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies. “This event will give students, faculty, staff and the wider community an opportunity to learn about contemporary Israel through film.”

J. Hoberman, senior film critic for The Village Voice, wrote that Bursztyn is “one of the most philosophical of Israeli directors.” Schmidt agrees, saying that Bursztyn’s films definitely have a philosophical bent to them. “He weaves themes from philosophers such as Maimonides and Spinoza into his stories of daily life in Israel, which is a very interesting approach to filmmaking,” she said.

The two-day presentation, “Films from Israel — Igal Bursztyn Directs,” will take place in the McClung Museum auditorium. All film screenings and discussion sessions are free and open to the public.

The event begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 18, with a welcome by Schmidt and by College of Arts and Sciences Dean Bruce Bursten, followed by Bursztyn introducing and screening his film “Everlasting Joy” (1997). Between refreshment breaks, the films “Letters to Felice” (1993), “Ethics V” (1992) and “Zimzum (The Glow)” (2000) will be screened and discussed.

The event continues at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, with a screening and discussion of “Guide for the Perplexed” (2005) and “Out of the Blue (Etzbah Elohim)” (2008).

Bursztyn was born in Manchester, England, and has lived in Israel since 1957. His scholarly works on film include “Face as Battlefield,” “Film, Language and Civil Wars of Culture” and “Intimate Gazes,” which won the 2007 Bahat Prize for the best nonfiction manuscript of the year.

UT Knoxville was one of only 20 American universities chosen to host a visiting professor this academic year through the Schusterman Visiting Israel Professor program. The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE) — 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.

The event, and Bursztyn’s visit, were made possible by AICE, the UT Knoxville College of Arts and Sciences, the department of Religious Studies, the university’s Ready for the World international and intercultural initiative, the Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies, the Karen and Pace Robinson Judaic Studies Enrichment Fund, the Abraham and Rebecca Solomon and Ida Schwartz Distinguished Lecture Fund for Judaic Studies, as well as Heska Amuna Synagogue, the Knoxville Jewish Alliance, Temple Beth El, and individual sponsors from Knoxville’s Jewish community.

For more information on the event, visit http://israelifilm.utk.edu.

C O N T A C T :

Gilya Schmidt (865-974-2466, gschmidt@utk.edu)