Ari Sandel presents the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a musical comedy

"West Bank Story" film parodies "West Side Story"

“West Bank Story” is a little film about a big subject, uses music and comedy to deliver a serious message, and was created by a young man wise beyond his years.

That person, Ari Sandel, will show his Oscar-winning film short and discuss how he came to make it at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, in Lab Sciences Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

Sandel’s program is sponsored by the Rabbi Ferdinand Isserman Fund and Students for a Peaceful Palestinian-Israeli Future. The Isserman Lecture was established to honor the life and work of the late Rabbi Isserman, who devoted his life to nurturing interfaith relationships.

Sandel is a director, writer and producer for film, television and music videos. “West Bank Story,” which won an Academy Award in 2007 for Best Live Action Short Film, is a humorous and hopeful look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The story, modeled as a musical parody of “West Side Story,” involves two families — one Israeli and one Palestinian — who have competing falalel stands in the West Bank. At the heart of the story is a star-crossed love affair between an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian woman, and even features a camel named Stormy.

Sandel premiered “West Bank Story” at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005 and it has since been screened in more than 115 film festivals worldwide. It has won 26 festival awards. His most recent film is “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights — Hollywood in the Heartland.”

Sandel earned a master’s. in directing from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television.

For more information on this program, please visit the Web page at or call 314-935-4620.