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This is the only film school in the world where student filmmakers own the rights to their student films.

Our students are encouraged to be independent, to make the tough decisions and to embrace the limitless sky. We believe this approach delivers a spirit of creativity and innovation that is unparalleled in Israel.

The film school’s admission policy is equally unique. All qualified applicants – high school graduates with appropriate college entrance exam scores, etc. – are admitted to the first-year BFA program. That number hovers around 200. 65 students are invited to continue to the second year, after faculty and lecturers have had the opportunity to gauge the quality and artistic merit of their work.

We believe this offers an equal opportunity to all budding filmmakers, regardless of previous experience.

And regardless of circumstance. The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University is just as committed to ensuring talented students from across Israel – no matter their socio-economic status or ethnic origin – have every opportunity to pursue a degree and realize their artistic dreams. The School recently entered into a cooperative agreement with the Caesarea Foundation, which will provide scholarships totaling NIS 2,000,000 over three years for students from Israel’s social and geographic periphery. That includes Israeli Arabs, Ethiopian Israelis and other too-often underserved populations. The School regularly holds open days in outlying communities to encourage more aspiring filmmakers from these regions to apply.


After being accepted into the Year 2 program, students are responsible for setting their own curriculum, as well as developing style and content for their own productions, which in too many cases also means raising money. This is a revolutionary, autonomous approach specifically designed to expose students to all the various media possibilities, opportunities and obstacles and to allow for their greatest professional growth.

The goal is to provide a balanced combination of theoretical and practical studies that equips each student with the tools necessary to perform all the key filmmaking functions – writing, directing, producing, camera and editing. Together, we believe they set the stage for individual artistry.

Film and TV students are also encouraged to study subjects outside the School, everything from astronomy to zoology. This emphasis on a multidisciplinary education is a core mandate for all Tel Aviv University students. According to former Department Head Dr. Reuven Hecker: "We try to raise creators and directors. It's easy to learn where to put the lights. We want our students to focus on content – architecture, music and literature. This is the way we can help them make their films, not our films."


This extraordinary education has reaped enormous rewards. TAU alumni are Israeli cinema in 2014. Almost every Israeli film produced in the last ten years was made by one of our graduates, and they have brought forth a true renaissance in Israel filmmaking.


  • Ari Folman wrote and directed Waltz with Bashir, a 2008 full-length, animated documentary – the first Israeli full-length animated film released in theaters since 1962. It depicts Folman searching for his memories as a soldier in the 1982 Lebanon War. The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Eytan Fox is a New York City-born Israeli director; his 2004 film Walk on Water is still the highest grossing Israeli film in the United States.
  • Hagai Levy is best known for creating, directing and producing the television drama BeTipul and for producing In Treatment, HBO's adaptation. He shot each episode in a single day, a method that’s now being used frequently in the US. Showtime just ordered 10 episodes of a new series Hagai co-created, called The Affair, which shows relationships from both sides.
  • The first two films produced by Aron Kashales and Navod Papushado – Rabies and Big Bad Wolves – made their US premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival.
  • Dover Kassashvili won Best Foreign Language Film at the 2001 Cannes Festival for Late Marriage, which is generally considered the film that kicked off the Israeli renaissance.
  • Danny Lerner won several international festivals with his end-of-year film Frozen Days, which he produced for $20,000, using one actress and filming only on the weekends with TAU equipment.
  • Keshet TV CEO Avi Nir was featured in on October 2, 2013, which highlighted the network’s “dominance in the Israeli market and its ability, year after year, to produce the buzziest and biggest programs …”
  • Gideon Raff is the creator, writer and director of the Israeli drama series, Prisoners of War, and the acclaimed US adaption, Homeland, for which he won two Primetime Emmy Awards.
  • Yaron Shani directed Ajami, a 2009 Arab-Jewish collaboration that was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

More about the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television

Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival at TAU

Alumni Say...


Yaron Shani'02 Film and TV B.A.
Filmmaker, director

YARON SHANI (BA, 2002) is the co-director / co-writer with Scandar Copti of Ajami, the first predominantly Arabic-language film submitted by Israel for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It earned the nomination. He cites his early exposure at TAU to different disciplines, such as philosophy, literature and sociology, as a major influence on his work: "In all aspects of filmmaking, the Department offered me the space to create and explore my talent. It was also wonderful to study in a highly academic environment, where I could read books and listen to lectures from other faculties in the university. So, when Yaron Bloch asked me to teach, and I embraced the opportunity.”


1972 Year Founded
800 BA and BFA students

3 degree tracks

  • BFA in scriptwriting
  • BA in cinema or television studies
  • MFA in scriptwriting, directing and production

3 broadcast-quality television studios

  • 2 theater-size screening rooms
  • 6 Academy Award nominations
  • 1,500 Israeli films archived
  • 7,000 foreign films archived

80 major film festivals annually, including:

  • Cannes
  • Berlin
  • Munich
  • Beijing
  • Taiwan
  • Venice
  • Rome
  • Rio De Janeiro
  • Moscow
  • Switzerland
  • New York
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Montreal

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