The MGSDII is proud to renew a scholarship to San Diego student, Colby Smith, to continue pursuing his M.F.A. in Documentary Cinema at the Tisch School at Tel Aviv University. Read more about Colby’s introduction to the program here.
Colby shares his reflections as he begins his final year in his program, “My year in Israel was one for the books. Last October I enrolled in the Documentary Cinema MFA program at Tel Aviv University. This was thanks to an opportunity with the Murray-Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative, who were generous enough to offer me a significant scholarship to help finance my tuition.
My program was fascinating from the start and I met many good friends and collaborators through it. One thing I really enjoyed about my degree program was that it was quite diverse. A little less than half the class is Israeli, which made it easy to meet and befriend locals. There are also people from around the world, including from Palestine, France, the Philippines, and Russia.
Another amazing thing about my program is that most of the professors are active filmmakers, and we often get to have personal screenings with Israeli directors. This gives us great access to the world of Israeli documentaries. All the teachers really encourage us to push
ourselves and really experiment with our filmmaking styles.
Over the last 10 months we have had many assignments, which ranged from filming a one shot scene, filming a five minute short film, and writing a seminar paper.
Outside of school I did quite a bit of exploring on my own, with friends, and some tours. I got to go to Akko, Haifa, the Dead Sea, Mitzpe Ramon, Nazareth Jerusalem and even Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho, and Beit Jala in the West Bank. I also took advantage of Israel’s
close proximity to other countries in the region. I went on a trip to Wadi Rum and Petra in Jordan, as well as trips to Cypress, Italy, and Greece.
Tel Aviv itself has also been great fun. I enjoyed spending a lot of time in Florentine, Dizengoff, and Jaffa.
Who could forget the politics here as well! It has been an absolutely crazy year for Israel. I remember election day I was in Jerusalem and it felt like there was a lot of tension in the air. Since then the protests have been every week against the judicial overhaul. I went to some of the
protests to observe and it was amazing to see thousands of people in the streets.”