WHO WE ARE – FILM CORE
BIOS of ABRAHAM contributors to date. The feature film has no attachments.
KAREN SUNDE, WRITER / TRAILER CO-DIRECTOR
Sunde’s first screenplay, UNDERCOVER PATRIOT, was a finalist at Sundance. A screenwriter, playwright, and director, she has since written screenplays for producers in Los Angeles, London, and New York, including PARALLEL LOVES for Adam Leipzig, Pres, National Geographic Films, BOULE DE SUIF for Dace Direction in London, DREAM HOUSE for Passport Films, THE FASTEST WOMAN ALIVE for Howard S. Shulman Productions, THE SECRET SHIP, TRIPPING TAMMY, FINAL QUEST: THE MOUNTAIN OF THE GODS and currently has four screenplays under option and two in preproduction. Sunde was Associate Director of New York’s CSC Repertory theatre for a decade, and directed at Jean Cocteau Repertory. She served on panels of the New Jersey Council on the Arts and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and won the Aide de la Creation Award in France.
Playwright Sunde’s works have been Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, on a USA tour, and abroad in eleven countries and seven languages. Eleven of her plays have been published by Broadway Play Publishing and Dramatic Publishing Company, while excerpts from six of her plays are in “Best Play” books of Meriwether and Smith and Kraus. Sunde’s works have won three Villager Awards, Best Play nomination by Outer Critics Circle, and she was La MaMa E.T.C.’s nominee for the PEN/ Laura Pels Award. As an actress, Sunde performed many leading roles Off-Broadway. More at www.karensunde.com.
YAHEL HERZOG, CINEMATOGRAPHER / TRAILER CO-DIRECTOR
President of Open Windows Productions, a New York-based production company, Herzog has been a filmmaker since 1986 involved with both the Israeli and American film industries, specializing in documentary storytelling. Having grown up in Israel and served his obligatory time in the Israeli military, Herzog’s exposure to the political turbulence in the Middle East has left him with a strong desire to make life in the region better for all sides.
Among Herzog’s clients are PBS (News Hour), CBS (60 Minutes), NBC, ABC, Fox, Comedy Central (The Daily Show), Lifetime, Fox Family and TBS, as well as the Weinstein Company and West Coast studios such as Disney, Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers. He has worked on productions such as FRIENDLY FIRE, “The Making Of” films for—THE GREEN ZONE, BROOKLYN’S FINEST, JULIE AND JULIA, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, UNITED 93, THE INTERPRETER, and dozens more. He is a member of the Israeli Film Academy and the International Cinematographer’s Guild (IATSE). His documentary film PLAYING PEACE, about the progress of HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM, is a labor of love in the interest of peace that he plans to continue while Abraham is made into a full length feature. More at www.yahelherzog.com.
HOWARD SHULMAN, PRODUCER
President of Howard S. Shulman Productions, he has licensed and syndicated over 120 hours of TV programming. Among them SINGING POSITIVE, a Primetime documentary, submitted for Academy Award by HBO; KATIE & EILISH: SIAMESE TWINS, narrated by Julie Christie, broke a 10-year Rating & Share record for 20/20 ABC News; Emmy-award winning special AMERICA REMEMBERS JFK, host Hal Holbrook; 26-hour landmark series THE UNKNOWN WAR, host Burt Lancaster, for A&E. Shulman has now moved to producing films. He had optioned several Sunde screenplays before he attended the New York stage production of HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM. Watching its impact on the audience, he felt he had witnessed “a miracle,” began promoting and producing the play immediately, and is now in energetic pursuit of producing partners and a director for the film. Since his early career as a minor-league baseball player, Shulman maintains his tenacious spirit and an absolute belief in his instinct for exciting material. More at www.howardshulman.com.
THOMAS HOOVER, TRAILER PRODUCER
A Renaissance figure, Hoover has authored nine books ranging from studies of Far Eastern culture and art to best-selling historical novels and thrillers. He has a Doctorate in the physical sciences and earlier managed multi-million dollar projects as Senior Vice President for a major engineering firm in New York. He produced the “trailer” for ABRAHAM, bringing it in on time and under budget. More at www.thomashoover.info.
AMIR BABYAYOFF, LEADING ACTOR
Amir is an Israeli/American, former Israeli Defense Forces soldier, whose parents live in Tel-Aviv. His Israeli credits include the leading role of a pilot in the action-drama Israeli Television mini-series “WINGS.” Amir is a Circle in the Square Theatre School graduate, where he played Leontes (THE WINTER’S TALE) and Nil (THE PHILISTINES). Regionally, he played Zoran in TESLA’S LETTERS at Mill Mountain Theatre, VA, Mack in UFO’S OVER BROOKLYN, MA, Benedick in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, and Lucius in TITUS ANDRONICUS at the Virginia Shakespeare Festival. Amir, lead and subject in the Open Windows documentary PLAYING PEACE, has played Abraham in HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM in two New York productions and many special readings, including two for the Israeli/Palestinian Working Group at the UN’s neutral “Quaker House” sanctuary. In addition, Amir teaches Drama for children at the Parkside School in New York, and at the Cooke Centre for Learning and Development. Amir says that as an Israeli he has deep emotions about the conflict that he cannot find words for, but that playing Abraham allows him to express all he feels (even to the Cultural Attaché at the Palestinian Mission to the UN – who had read and supported ABRAHAM.)
MAYA SERHAN, LEADING ACTRESS
Maya is a Palestinian/American whose grandparents were refugees from Gaza, where her great-uncle, Dr. Abdel Shafi, remained a revered diplomat and peace negotiator. After living in many Middle East countries, Maya came to the United States from Beirut. An American Academy of Dramatic Art graduate, she appears in Independent films selected for festivals world-wide such as DEAR J, TOGETHER, SUMMERTIME, LIARS AND LUNATICS, TANGO VOLTO, SOLITUDE, as well as on LAW AND ORDER, Off-Off Broadway as the lead in ROAR, in the Arab Comedy Festival, and as lead and subject in the Open Windows up-coming documentary PLAYING PEACE. She has played Sabra in two New York City productions and many readings (including one in the Israeli Mission to the UN) of HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM, as well as in the audio play of ABRAHAM. Maya considers this project a path to understanding, and a vital expression of the conflict in the hearts of the Palestinian and Israeli people.