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Reel World

Israel Dayan:

"Art Imitating Life"

By Rachel Galvin

Israel Dayan knows everything about “Art Imitating Life”. A visual artist and documentary filmmaker who came to America at the age of 24, Israel spent the better part of his life learning how to mentor young students through the medium of filmmaking. Born and raised in Israel, and having spent many years teaching television production and managing a local television station, it was his work in the Joint Distribution Committee of Jerusalem in a special program helping youth and new young immigrants from Russia adjust to the new country that convinced him to launch Orange Stain (, a truly innovative program rapidly gaining momentum in Israel and the United States.


From field trips to social events to classroom projects, Israel is a seasoned artist whose degrees in Cinematography and Television Production bring so much more to the plate, or should we say palette, than just teaching kids how to paint. His unique visual arts program combines teamwork, audio/ video skills and visual arts.


During each session the children work on a different project and short film and see their results the following week. The multi-dimensional aspect and quick-return, so to speak, are due to the challenges dealing with this new generation of kids, children who can flip through multiple channels, listen to iPods and play video games all at the same time. “This is the MTV generation,” explains Dayan. “They need a lot of stimulus.”


It is the self expression and emotional content of this work that also brings the parents in to the mix as they work together with their children in the preparation of a collaborative film production. Students make characters out of clay and bring them to life utilizing stop-motion photography, create puppets, make murals and sets and backdrops and have the thrill of seeing the film screened before a live audience.


Working with emotionally challenged children is one of Israel’s greatest passions. Recently contracted to launch his program at the PACE Center for Girls, Broward County, recognized as the most effective program in the nation for keeping adolescent girls out of the juvenile system, Israel will be mentoring students who come from difficult life situations. He will teach their hands to be the expression of their hearts as they paint their hopes and desires on the canvasses of their future. Israel Dayan is grateful to be living his own dreams…in the work that he does helping others. -DUO

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