Barak Heymann, the new head of the Film Department at Beit Berl's Faculty of Arts-Hamidrasha, is focusing his prodigious energy on his vison: "Israel has become a 'doco superpower,' but there is no film school dedicated to building this capacity. I want to make Beit Berl into Israel's premier documentary and television Film Department."
One of Israel's leading documentary filmmakers, Barak Heymann has the talent, energy and experience to do it. Together with his brother, Tomer Heymann, he has directed and produced dozens of documentary films for cinema, television and the Internet over the past 20 years. The brothers' many successful and thought-provoking projects include the TV series "Bridge Over the Wadi" (2005), which won the Best Series Award at the Israeli Documentary Competition as well as many prizes around the world, and "High Maintenance – The Life and Work of Dani Karavan."
"Filmmaking requires not only technical skills. In order to become interesting creators, students need in-depth knowledge of their environment. They need to know history, culture, technology. Our job is to increase their curiosity and their knowledge," declares Heymann.
So he launched "Crazy Tuesdays." Once a week, for 2.5 hours, the Film Department's entire student body assembles to meet trailblazers, including social activists, innovators, and historical figures. One of the recent guests was Reuven Abergel, the well-known social and political activist and former leader of the Israeli Black Panthers movement.
Heymann believes that filmmaking is a team effort, and he is teaching students to cooperate with others and work together. "Film work includes so many fields and layers. No one can do it all by themselves; we must create synergy among everyone who works on a project together," he insists, adding that he plans to teach students values of collegiality and solidarity from the first year of their studies.
Heymann aims to "change reality" by boosting the inclusion of Israel's Arab community within the Film Department. "I would like to double and triple the number of Arab students and increase the number of Arab faculty members. I want to bring Arab lecturers and guests to talk about film and Arab culture," he reveals. He hopes to partner with Arab high schools around Israel and help them open film tracks that will appeal to Arab teens, who will then continue their education at Beit Berl.
Heymann's enthusiasm for his new job includes warm praise for the entire Beit Berl community. "The people around me are hard-working and motivated; and I enjoy the support and the positive energy," he says, noting that President Yuli Tamir understands the educational and social importance of film. "I'm proud to be part of Beit Berl and I come in with a smile every day," he concludes – with a smile, of course.