- 1967 - 2007 (Creation)
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Associated Producers Ltd. was founded by Simcha Jacobovici and Elliott Halpern in 1983. As a writer, producer and on-air presence, Jacobovici has long been the company’s guiding force, and he also serves as the most visible media representative. Jacobovici was born in Israel in 1953. His parents, Joseph and Ida, were Romanian Holocaust survivors and Jacobovici and his sister were raised in a religious home. The family moved to Montreal when Jacobovici was nine, and he graduated from McGill University with an honours degree in philosophy in 1974. In 1978, Jacobovici enrolled in an MA program at the University of Toronto and while there became involved in activism (in 1979 he served as president of the International Congress of the World Union of Jewish Students, and in 1980 he was awarded the Knesset Medal for his Zionist work on North American campuses). He graduated in 1980 with a MA in international relations. Jacobovici had been interested in the problems of the Falasha (a community of Ethiopian Jews who were being persecuted in that country) since 1978, and in 1982 he secured funding from CBC’s Man Alive series to travel to Ethiopia and Sudan to document their plight. He was accompanied by former National Film Board of Canada director Peter Raymont and a production crew, and the film that they produced, Falasha: Exile of the Black Jews, was released in 1983. Following its release, the Israeli Knesset launched Operation Moses, the airlift of the Falasha to Israel. When Jacobovici began his next film, he realized that he needed a writer to produce the script. He ran into Elliot Halpern, whom he had known during his time at the University of Toronto (and where Halpern had served as the editor of The Varsity). Though he was by that time working as a lawyer, Halpern was convinced to write the script. The project was never completed, but the new production company, Associated Producers Ltd., would go on to great success.
Over the next several years, the company produced a number of well-regarded (and at times controversial) films. These included Deadly Currents, a two-hour feature documentary about the Palestinian Intifada that won a Genie Award for best feature-length documentary. In the 1990s, Associated Producers made several films on topical medical issues, including Plague Monkeys and Plague Fighters about the Ebola virus, and Frozen Hearts which explored the use of hypothermia during heart surgery. Jacobovici’s interest in Israeli and Judaic issues shaped later projects, such as Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies & the American Dream, Quest for the Lost Tribes, The Struma and Impact of Terror. In 1999, Associated Producers entered into a five-year agreement with England’s Yorkshire Films to co-produce new documentary series.
Halpern left the company in 2002 to form Yorkshire Associated Producers (YAP) while Jacobivici kept the original company. Associate Producers Ltd. also includes Producer/Director Ric Esther Bienstock and Producer Felix Golubev.
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Received from Associated Producers Ltd.
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