Assaf Banitt is an award-winning Israeli documentary film director and editor. His first film, “Against Your Will”, won the special jury mention at the Docaviv festival and His second film, “The Soldier’s Opinion”, participated in the Jerusalem Film Festival. Graduate of the Sam Spiegel Film & Television school and the MFA program at Tel Aviv University’s department of Film and Television.
Phil Contrino is the Director of Media and Research for the National Association of Theatre Owners. While at NATO, Contrino has conducted research focused on the dynamic between theaters and streaming, moviegoing attitudes among younger audiences, and the desire for alternative options in theaters. Contrino’s thoughts on the movie industry have been featured by CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and many others.
Thomas L. Friedman, an internationally known author and journalist, has won the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work at The New York Times. His foreign affairs column in The New York Times reports on US domestic politics and foreign policy, Middle East conflicts, international economics, environment, biodiversity and energy.
For his coverage of the Middle East, Mr. Friedman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 and 1988 for international reporting. He was awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary for “his clarity of vision…in commenting on the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat.” In 2004, he was awarded the Overseas Press Club Award for lifetime achievement and the honorary title, Order of the British Empire (OBE), by Queen Elizabeth II.
Shay Hazkani is an Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Dear Palestine: A Social History of the 1948 War (Stanford University Press, 2021), recipient of the Korenblat Book Award. He is also the co-creator of The Soldier’s Opinion, a documentary based on his research. Shay received his PhD in History and Judaic studies from New York University, his Master’s in Arab Studies from Georgetown University, and his BA in Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University. Prior to his academic career, Shay worked as a journalist covering the West Bank and Israeli military.
Alex Joel is a Senior Project Director and Resident Adjunct Professor at the Washington College of Law. He is conducting research, developing programming, and teaching courses focused on the intersections between the law, national security, technology, and privacy. He leads the Privacy Across Borders initiative for the school’s Tech, Law and Security Program.
Previously, Mr. Joel was a senior officer with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), where he led the Office of Civil Liberties, Privacy and Transparency. From 2005 to 2019, Mr. Joel served as the ODNI’s Civil Liberties Protection Officer, a position established by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act of 2004. From 2015-2019, he also served as the ODNI’s Chief Transparency Officer, appointed to the position by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Ran Tal is an independent filmmaker whose documentaries focus on the Israeli reality through a social and historical perspective. He is the recipient of numerous awards internationally and in Israel from the Israeli Documentary Forum, the Jerusalem Film Festival and DocAviv. Tal is the recipient of the Ministry of Culture Cinema Art prize and the Landau Award for Stage Art.
Tal is the director of the International MFA Documentary Program at the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University. He is the founder and editor of Takriv (Close Up), an online magazine for the discussion and critique of documentary film