Last quarter, the students of Professor Erith Jaffe-Berg’s “Staging the Middle East” class were given the opportunity to witness a talk by documentary filmmaker and UC Santa Barbara alum, Jesse Aizenstat. Aizenstat’s career track following university is far from conventional, and is something that he cites as integral to the person he is today. His talk highlighted his recent book, “Surfing the Middle East” which details his life as a documentarian in Israel. During his time there, Aizenstat used a surfboard and mock cover to blend in among high strung locals.
As a filmmaker, Aizenstat hopes to tell the stories of the struggles that most of us might turn a blind eye towards. Through an unconventional methodology, he aspires to provide a window into a conflict that many of us only hear about in passing. Aizenstat explains in the talk how he was able to use strategic identification to get far deeper into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than most others have.
Currently, Aizenstat is pursuing online engagement through his YouTube channel and several other outlets to offer a contemporary method of diffusion for his work and, in turn, experiences.
Below is a compilation of the talk given by Aizenstat.
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