This interview was first published as “Filmmaker Joseph Shamash Tries to Bridge Gap with Iran” in The Forward.
Joseph Shamash believes that film creates space in real life for conversations to happen. That is his intention with his “One Wish for Iran, Love Israel,” video, which has gone viral since it was uploaded to YouTube in early August.
The video shows Israelis and Palestinians from different walks of life and religious backgrounds sharing a wish for the new Iranian president, Hassan Rowhani, on his inauguration, and for the Iranian people. Shamash made the video with two of his colleagues, spoken word artist Andrew Lustig and cinematographer Jeff Handel, as part of their One Wish Project, a documentary series to “bridge the gap between peoples in conflict.” The team also made a “One Wish Jerusalem” video, and soon they are planning to release a third video, focusing on the religious-secular divide in Israel.
Making “One Wish for Iran” was a very personal endeavor for 32-year-old Shamash, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Iran. He has worked in television in Los Angeles, and recently spent a year and a half at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, in Jerusalem. This fall he is starting a master’s program in Jewish education at American Jewish University in Los Angeles. There he intends to develop conflict resolution curricular materials to accompany the “One Wish” videos. Shamash spoke with the Forward’s Renee Ghert-Zand.
Renee Ghert-Zand: How did you come up with the concept for the “One Wish” videos?
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.