Israeli Director Wins Oscar for Best Short, ‘Skin’

Jewish Journal, March 3, 2019

A few days before Oscar night, Tel Aviv-born director Guy Nattiv was pessimistic about the prospect of his live-action short, “Skin,” taking home the prize. Instead, he predicted victory for “Marguerite.”

“It’s a sensitive movie about an old lady and all the other movies are very dark and grim, and she’s the only film that has the light,” he said in a phone interview from his Los Angeles home.

“Skin,” on the other hand, is an in-your-face, cover-your-face-from-violence tinged tale about a spontaneous street war between black and white family men. That’s why Nattiv appeared shocked during his acceptance speech on Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theatre, together with wife/producer, Jaime Ray Newman.

“I moved here five years ago from Israel. Layla tov, Yisrael (Good night, Israel),” he said. “My grandparents are Holocaust survivors, and the bigotry that they experienced in the Holocaust, we see that everywhere today, in America, in Europe. This film is about education, about teaching your kids a better way.”

Nattiv became a United States citizen a month before the election of President Donald Trump in 2016. But, he said, being a filmmaking name in Israel (as director of the acclaimed “Mabul,” among others), never guarantees a successful crossover. “I moved here and started from scratch,” he told the Journal.

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