Page 7 - MidWeek Kauai - June 1, 2022
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Young Filmmaker Finds Success Focusing On Peace Effort In Middle East
JUNE 1, 2022
people who were touring me around kind of looked like two great friends who had known each other for a long time,” recalls Steven. “It didn’t look like there was any tension be- tween them. Just being able to see a Jewish woman cooperating with an Arab woman gave me a sneak peek into what Sindyanna did as a whole, and that’s what got me really interested.
institutions, Riverdale Country School, in Manhattan. “In school, you have to write all these essays and paragraphs according a certain topic. For me, I could decide how I wanted my video to go. Obvious- ly, it would have to be informative, but I could decide how I wanted to organize the entire thing. It gave me a sense of freedom.”
      “It’s why I created the documen- tary: to show people who think that Jews and Arabs will always be at war that no, they can live in peace. Sindyanna is perfect example of it,” he continues. “All it real- ly takes is for two people to take a leap of faith, to meet the other community and see what they’ re actually like.”
Despite the numerous film festi- vals the documentary has already been a part of, Steven says he’s not done yet.
“I’ m still submitting the last wave (of entries) to other film fes- tivals,” he notes. “After that, I’m probably going to release the film on my website so that everybody will be able to see it.”
(Above) A visit to Israel three summers ago inspired Steven Hoffen, at left, to create a short documentary about a nonprofit made up of women, including Hanan and Hadas (inset), and how hydroponics is helping them to grow peace in the region.
Neither is he finished with film- making in general. He’s currently working on a short video series about the plights of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers fleeing to Israel. To solve their food inse- curity problem, Steven launched a fundraiser through his nonprof- it, Growing Peace Inc., to have a hydroponics system installed at a food bank.
“This food bank is kind of special to me because it opened up at the beginning COVID and it primarily serves these asylum seekers. Because they aren’t citi- zens and for a couple of different reasons, they don’t have the same rights and they struggle to obtain food,” he explains. “So, we built this hydroponic system to provide them with nutritious food.”
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His interests in hydroponics has   projects here.”
   Aside from providing the film’s narration, Steven was responsible for writing its script, conducting its interviews and editing everything down to its final version.
also led him to begin installing sys- tems in New York, as well.
As for what his future holds, the youngster would only say that continued life behind a camera is definitely in the cards.
“I really enjoy writing. For some reason, it was fun just to write my own script,” says the eighth-grader who attends one of the country’s finest private college-preparatory
“I couldn’t go to Israel to see the hydroponics system because it was in the middle of COVID, but I am going there this summer to fi- nally see it. I was really hoping in New York that I would be able to get some hands-on experience, so that’s why I’ve been doing all these
“I’m still kid, so I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be doing after col- lege,” he says. “But filmmaking is definitely an option.”
To follow Steven’s projects, visit
              Creating that
 “place of peace
and balance”
in your garden
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