Award-winning JU Film Prof. Albuliwi all about persistence, honesty
By Chelsea Wiggs
JU Communications Major
Jacksonville University has made an impressive addition to its faculty with Professor of Film Bandar Albuliwi, a talented and driven director who brings a new level of energy and expertise to the College of Fine Arts and its emerging filmmakers.
Attending the American Film Institute and winning the Creative Promise Award at the Tribeca Film Festival are two achievements in the filmmaking world that merit not only a sense of accomplishment but some bragging rights as well.
However, Albuliwi’s career has been spent garnering a unique perspective of the world – without the ego. His success reflects his hard work and determination, qualities he hopes to pass on to his students.
“The difference between success and failure is persistence, and that’s really the only difference,” he said. “Those that make it are persistent, and they might keep failing but they go on with it; they don’t give up.”
The native New Yorker knows a thing or two about persistence and also emphasizes the importance of using real-life experiences to produce the best and most honest films. He plans to encourage his film students to use their own unique stories to ensure an original and authentic product.
“My whole motto is unless you have experienced something, you can’t be writing about it,” Albuliwi said. “I stress personal storytelling over anything else.”
Albuliwi’s debut film “Peace after Marriage” won the Creative Promise Award at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. His latest feature film, “East of Broadway,” was part of the 2011 Berlinale International Film Festival’s Talent Campus.
Bill Hill, Dean of JU’s College of Fine Arts, is excited to have Albuliwi on board as an addition to the department. He said he knew right away that the actor-turned-director was the right person for the position.
“He’s a very dynamic young filmmaker who is really committed to the craft of making film and education,” Hill said. “I think he has a unique sort of attention to working with students to facilitate their vision and to inspire them to have a vision, and then to work with them so they’re learning in an environment where they’re actually doing.”
In addition to dedicating his time and craft to his film students, Albuliwi will continue to work on his thriving filmmaking career while embracing Jacksonville as a source for new inspiration.
“There’s some cool stuff here to tap into,” he said. “I enjoy it; I love being secluded and getting to know new people and experiencing a whole new facet of my life.”
Hill and the College of Fine Arts would like to announce the opportunity to screen Prof. Albuliwi’s film Peace After Marriage at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10 in Swisher Theater. The event will be free to JU students, faculty and staff.
Bandar Albuliwi: 10 Facts
- Besides having lived in New York, Los Angeles, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Istanbul, I have spent time in Israel, the Palestine Territories, Jordan, Hong Kong, Greece, Ireland, Scotland, U.K., Finland and a few other places I’m probably forgetting.
- I’m the youngest of five children. I’m pretty sure I was a mistake considering there is a huge age gap between me and my next sibling.
- My best friend is also my producer, Faruk Ozerten. We studied at the American Film Institute together. He’s a pretty tall and intimidating Turk – looks like he came straight out of the Ottoman Empire.
- Istanbul is my favorite city in the world. The people, food, culture and overall ambiance surpasses any other place I’ve ever been to or lived in. Deep down I wish I was Turkish.
- I once went on a date with Ms. Ireland.
- I directed my first film (2008’s short Broadway Bound) at age 21. I was a senior in college. It ultimately launched my career as a filmmaker.
- My favorite place to unwind and relax in Jacksonville is The Rouge. The owner, Scott McAllister, has single-handedly rejuvenated the entire King Street district in Riverside. It would make for a great documentary.
- My favorite musician is Francis Cabrel. I have been made fun of numerous times by my French friends for listening to his music; little did I know he is only popular with French women over the age of 75.
- My first stage-play, Side by Side, was produced off-Broadway at the American Theater of Actors. I was 19 when I wrote it.
- I plan on writing and directing a film in Jacksonville.