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The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at TAU Hosts First Annual Influencer Award at Sony Pictures Studios
Monday, September 19, 2016 12:17:00 PM

Homeland executive producer and TAU alum Gideon Raff honored at September 14th reception

Gideon Raff and Steve TischThe Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University gave its first annual Influencer Award at a reception at 6:30 pm on September 14, 2016 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California. The recipient was writer, director, producer, Emmy Award-winner and TAU alum Gideon Raff, the man famous for bringing Homeland to the United States. The evening’s emcee was award winning, critically acclaimed actor/producer Jason Isaacs.

The reception also celebrated the vision and generosity of film producer and philanthropist Steve Tisch, who made a transformative $10,000,000 gift to the School in 2015.

“The Influencer Award Reception serves as an opportunity to celebrate the power of the film and television industry in general and to acknowledge the impactful work of some of the outstanding individuals in the business,” said Steve Tisch. “Gideon Raff is most deserving of this recognition and I’m proud that he will be the inaugural recipient of the Influencer Award. Ultimately I hope that these awards will inspire film students around the world to tell stories that help break down barriers and increase dialogue and understanding.”

“We’re very excited to celebrate the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at the first-ever Influencer Award Reception. Steve Tisch’s support of Tel Aviv University has allowed us to redefine the way students study film and television,” said Gail Reiss, President and CEO, American Friends of Tel Aviv University. “We’re also very pleased to honor Gideon Raff, a proud Tel Aviv University alum, who has made such significant contributions to the world’s film and television industry. Our goal for the evening was to let people feel for themselves the kind of passion and excitement that Steve Tisch and Gideon Raff felt the first time they walked into a filmmaking class at Tel Aviv University. We all screened some short films by current and former Tel Aviv University students.”


See photos from the event


First Annual Influencer Award Honoree

Gideon Raff is the Executive Producer of Homeland, which was adapted from his highest-rated Israeli TV drama of all time, Prisoners of War, and won the Emmy in 2012 and the Golden Globe for Best Television Series in 2012 and 2013. Raff received a primetime Emmy award for his writing. The show has been nominated for the 2016 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series.

Some of Raff’s other acclaimed credits include creating the TV drama series Tyrant and co creating Dig, an event series on USA starring Jason Isaacs as an FBI agent investigating a murder of a female archeologist in Jerusalem.

“I’m incredibly honored to receive the inaugural Influencer Award,” said Raff. “Tel Aviv University gave me so many opportunities that have led to a career that I could have only dreamed about. And now, thanks in large part to my good friend, Steve Tisch, and his significant contribution to the university, I know many other young Israeli filmmakers are going to get their big break, too.

“Steve and I share a passion for storytelling and I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to do that throughout my career. I was born and raised in Jerusalem and the high stakes of living there fascinate me. The stories can be very moving. Prisoners of War was a small Israeli show intended for a small market. Yet, it found its way into 30 countries in its original form and we’re remaking it in so many markets – Russia, India, South Korea etc.”

Influencer Award Emcee

The evening’s emcee was Jason Isaacs, who has won or been nominated for Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, International Emmy, Critics’ Circle, Critics’ Choice, Blockbuster and Satellite awards. He spent nearly a year working closely with Gideon Raff, starring in the 10-part USA mini-series Dig. Probably best known to an entire generation as the sinister Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, Isaac’s enormous range of movie work encompasses The Patriot, Black Hawk Down, Green Zone, Armageddon, Peter Pan, Friends With Money, Event Horizon, End Of The Affair, Fury, Good and more. His US TV work includes Showtime’s Peabody Award-winning series Brotherhood, BAFTA-nominated series Case Histories on PBS, NBC’s Awake and The West Wing, HBO’s Entourage and, of course, USA’s Dig.

Isaacs will soon appear in the new Netflix series The OA, Gore Verbinski’s A Cure for Wellness and Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin an is taking time out from shooting Hotel Mumbai in India to host the 2016 Influencer Award reception.

Influencer Award Co-Chairs

Tel Aviv University also announced an impressive list of co-chairs who hosted the Influencer Awards event. The list includes media industry icons Gail Berman and Bill Masters, Jonathan Littman, Rick Rosen, Chris Silbermann, Ari Folman, Eytan Fox, Brett Ratner, Alon Shtruzman, and our emcee host Jason Isaacs.

The star-studded co-chairs hail from all aspects of the entertainment industry.

Gail Berman is one of the few media executives to hold the top posts at both a major film studio and a broadcast television network. She was named President of Paramount Pictures in March 2005. Before joining Paramount, Ms. Berman served from 2000 to 2005 as President of Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Company. She took the network to the top of the ratings for the first time in its history, developing gigantic hits such as American Idol, 24, House, Arrested Development, Bones, and Family Guy. Berman is currently CEO of The Jackal Group.

Bill Masters, the husband of Gail Berman, is a well-known comedy writer and producer, whose work includes Caroline in the City, Grace Under Fire, Greetings From Home and Raising Dad.

Jonathan Littman, an Emmy-award winning producer, is an executive at Jerry Bruckheimer Television. Some of his credits include CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and The Amazing Race.

Rick Rosen, founder and head of the Television Department at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, has also made his mark in the television industry. As an agent his clients include Dick Wolf (Law & Order), Linwood Boomer (Malcolm in the Middle) and Gideon Raff.

ICM Partners Founding Partner Chris Silbermann will also be co-chairing the event. Silbermann’s agency has represented hit shows like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Grey’s Anatomy, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Modern Family.

TAU alum Ari Folman is a critically acclaimed, Israeli based film director, screenwriter and film score composer, best known for directing the animated documentary film Waltz With Bashir, as well as directing the live-action/animated film The Congress. He currently plans to direct an animated drama film based on the life of Anne Frank during the Holocaust.

Eytan Fox, also from Israel and also a TAU alum, is a film director known for his groundbreaking film Yossi and Jagger, as well as Walk on Water and The Bubble.

Brett Ratner is a graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He started his career as a music video director working with Russell Simmons, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z and Madonna. He is currently at the top of his field as a major motion picture director and producer with credits including the Rush Hour film series, The Family Man, Red Dragon, X-Men: The Last Stand and Tower Heist.

Alon Shtruzman is a media executive and television producer. He is CEO of Keshet International, Keshet Media Group’s global distribution and production arm. As one of the founders of the Israeli multi-channel industry, Shtruzman commissioned the original In Treatment and introduced the country’s first video-on-demand service.

The Tel Aviv University School of Film and Television

The renowned Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University is Israel’s leading institution of film and television studies, ranked by The Hollywood Reporter among the Top 15 International Film Schools for the third year in a row.

The School has won top titles at film festivals around the world including The Montreal Film Festival, Shanghai International Film Festival, Palm Springs Short Film Festival, Rome Independent Film Festival, American Documentary Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival. An enrolled TAU film student has been nominated for a 2016 Student Academy award.

TAU has educated generations of filmmakers and scholars who are heavyweights of the industry, including Oscar®-nominated directors Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir), Yaron Shani (Ajami), Dror Moreh (The Gatekeepers), and award-winning television writer-producers Gideon Raff (Homeland) and Hagai Levi (The Affair, In Treatment).

Mr. Tisch's gift has allowed the School's academic programs to significantly expand, most recently with the launch of a new Digital Media Studies program that introduces students to advanced media production technology. The Production and Directing Studies program has expanded from three to four years, offering a deeper and more gradual development of knowledge and professional skills. The Film Studies program has also grown to offer students a broader curriculum and the opportunity to explore innovative new teaching methods.

New scholarships have enabled students from all walks of life to attend the School, which has quickly become a global magnet for film and television.

Steve Tisch: Philanthropist, film producer and leader

Tisch is a partner at Escape Artists Productions and is co-owner, chairman and executive vice president of the New York Football Giants, the only person with both an Academy Award® and a Super Bowl ring. He received his Academy Award® as a producer of Forrest Gump, which won the Oscar® for Best Picture in 1994, and has received two Super Bowl rings as Chairman of the Giants.

For more than three decades, Tisch has successfully produced compelling stories in film and television, from the critically acclaimed television movie, The Burning Bed, to Risky Business, the sleeper hit that helped launch Tom Cruise’s career.

Other notable films include The Pursuit of Happyness, The Weather Man, The Taking of Pelham 123, The Back-Up Plan, Hope Springs, American History X, Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and The Equalizer.

Tisch has long been a leader in the philanthropic sector and generously contributes his time and resources to a variety of organizations. Tisch is on the Boards of The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University. He is the naming benefactor of the sports and fitness center at his alma mater, Tufts University, and of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT program.

In 2014, Tisch served as the first honorary chair of the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival at TAU, long ranked among the top three student film festivals in the world. Established in 1986 by TAU Film & TV students, the prestigious Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival is now the largest in the world.

In 2015, TAU announced a $10 million gift from Tisch to transform the University’s renowned Department of Film and Television into The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television. Over the last year, his investment has helped TAU enhance curriculums, attract and expand top level talent, boost its capacity to offer scholarships, provide new state-of-the-art equipment and building renovations, and bring further international collaborations.

Photo caption (left to right): Gideon Raff and Steve Tisch.

Watch a video profile of the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television:

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