December 12, 2020

IDA Member Spotlight: Maya Zinshtein

Maya Zinshtein and Abraham (Abie) Troen (Director of Photography and Producer of ‘Til Kingdom Come) on location filming ‘Til Kingdom Come.

This month, we’re featuring Maya Zinshtein, one of our international members in our Fiscal Sponsorship Program for her project, ‘Til Kingdom Come. Maya began her work in the documentary filmmaking world first as an investigative journalist and documentary producer, then most recently as a director.

IDA: What is the inspiration behind creating ‘Til Kingdom Come?

MAYA ZINSHTEIN: ‘Til Kingdom Come follows the untold story of the unholy alliance between Christian Evangelicals in the United States and the State of Israel. This bond was celebrated during Trump’s presidency and shaped the lives of Israelis and Palestinians in the last four years. ‘Til Kingdom Come evolved out of my interest in taking timely subjects that are covered scantily by the news and connecting all of the dots to bring the audience the full picture behind the headlines—to reveal “the dark side of the moon” using mostly vérité storytelling, which I’m a big fan of.  

IDA: Are there any projects you're currently working on you’d like to share?

MZ: I’m currently starting the development phase of my next project, produced by John Battsek and Sarah Thomson from Ventureland, and I’m collaborating with Abie Troen. We all worked together on ‘Til Kingdom Come and I’m thrilled to continue our collaboration. We still can’t go public on the subject, but it’s going to be a very timely project that we think will evolve in the upcoming years. 

IDA: What has your experience as an IDA Member and IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund grantee been like for you? 

MZ: IDA came on board to support ‘Til Kingdom Come at a crucial point when the film was at the preliminary stages of editing. Alongside financial support that was extremely important, we became part of the IDA community—something that is critical when you try to tell a complex and controversial story. One of the best examples for it was the support we received from two legal clinics: one at Yale Law School and the other at  UCLA Law School. ‘Til Kingdom Come was an extremely complicated film and we could have never completed it without having the support of these incredibly devoted teams that we met through IDA. This is just one example of how important it is to have this community that makes our work possible.  

IDA: Is there anything about yourself (in and out of your documentary filmmaking life!) that you'd like members to know about?

MZ: I immigrated to Israel from Russia when I was 10. I think being the “other” is something that is very much a part of me to this day. My childhood experience of trying to become a part of Israeli society definitely helps me with my ability to explore new worlds and find the cracks where I can slide in (I’m always joking that I've been “gaining access” since I was 10). I came to documentary filmmaking after being an investigative journalist and documentary producer. It was a long evolution for me to understand that I actually want to direct, but now I feel like this is my calling. The power of documentaries to make a difference in people’s minds, to talk with characters and audiences that are not part of my “bubble” is something I just want to be able to keep doing.

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