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July 13, 2020 2:24 pm

Robert De Niro Talks About Visiting Israel, Future of Filmmaking With Tel Aviv University Students

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Robert De Niro during a webinar with Tel Aviv University students. Photo: Tel Aviv University.

US actor Robert De Niro reminisced about his first trip to Israel and what lay ahead for the film industry during a webinar on Friday with Tel Aviv University students.

“The Irishman” star, 76, recalled visiting the Jewish state for the first time four decades ago. During that trip, he met and formed lifelong friendships with late Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and late President Ezer Weizman.

The Oscar winner’s most recent trip to Israel was in 2013 with one of his children for late President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday celebration. The actor described Peres as “a great person, a great statesman.”

More than 2,000 participants — including students from TAU’s Steve Tisch School of Film and Television — took part in the webinar, which was part of an ongoing series of talks with major figures in the film and television industries as well as TAU experts in various fields.

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The virtual conference was moderated by TAU graduate and former Israeli Consul in New York Ido Aharoni.

De Niro, whose film “The Irishman” was financed by Netflix and is streaming on the platform, also discussed whether he thought streaming services could signal the end of cinema, especially in light of current lockdowns and social-distancing restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, “Streaming is good because you can tell a story in a much longer and detailed way. But I don’t know where we are going with it, especially with this COVID-19. There will always have to be theaters. You want to watch a movie with an audience. I do at times, especially a comedy or any movie that has something in it.”

He concluded the event with advice to TAU students: “Keep your own voice, specifically yours, as much as possible…Personalize your performance, along the lines of what is demanded of it. Follow your instincts.”

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