B.Z. Goldberg was born in Boston but grew up in Israel just outside of Jerusalem. B.Z. attended New York University Film School where he studied with Brian Winston, media pioneer George Stoney, and Boris Fruman. In 1987 when the Palestinian uprising broke out, B.Z. returned to Jerusalem to produce television news for Reuters TV, the BBC, NBC, CNN and NHK. In 1995, armed with this attitude of curiosity and hunger, he and Justine Shapiro started meeting children in the Middle East, some of whom would become the subjects of Promises. B.Z. is fluent in Hebrew and conversant in Arabic.
Justine Shapiro graduated from Tufts University (Magna Cum Laude with honors in History and Theater) and went on to study theater in Paris for two years. She moved to Los Angeles where she appeared in a few films and TV shows. Teaching part time as an ESL teacher and hearing the students’ stories sparked in her a passion for documentary filmmaking. Partnering with B.Z Goldberg, Justine has directed the film Promises. She is a member of SAGAFTRA and is fluent in English, French and Spanish.
Followed for three years between 1995 and 1998, “Promises” follows seven children from Palestinian and Israeli communities. The film follows them as they grow, develop bonds, and play outside of the boundaries of prejudices that they have heard from their parents and communities.