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Gideon-Raff

Gideon Raff

Israeli Screenwriter and Director; "Homeland" and "Prisoners of War"

Gideon Raff is an Israeli film and television director, screenwriter and writer. He is best known for the award-winning 2010 Israeli television drama series “Prisoners of War” (which he created, wrote and directed) and its acclaimed US adaptation, “Homeland” (for which he won two Primetime Emmy Awards in 2012). After serving three years as a…

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Gideon Raff is an Israeli film and television director, screenwriter and writer. He is best known for the award-winning 2010 Israeli television drama series “Prisoners of War” (which he created, wrote and directed) and its acclaimed US adaptation, “Homeland” (for which he won two Primetime Emmy Awards in 2012).

After serving three years as a paratrooper in the Israeli army, he completed a degree in Film at Tel Aviv University. For a year or so, during the dot-com bubble, he was responsible for content at a start-up, and wrote a weekly column in Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv about his experiences. The columns were collected into a book, “Diary of a Start-Upper On The Way To Mecca.”

Having moved to Los Angeles in 2003, Raff completed a graduate degree in directing at the American Film Institute. His graduation short film “The Babysitter” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. On the strength of this, director Doug Liman hired him as director’s assistant on the 2005 film “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” which starred Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Raff made his feature-length directorial debut in 2007 with “The Killing Floor,” a psychological thriller (which he also co-wrote and co-produced). His second feature was the horror film “Train,” starring Thora Birch, in 2008. Raff returned home to Israel for the production of “Prisoners of War,” a television drama series which he created, wrote and directed. The series became Israel’s highest-rated drama of all time and went on to win several Israeli television awards.

Even before filming of “Prisoners of War” began, the rights to develop an American version of the series had been sold to 20th Century Fox Television based on the strength of the script alone. This resulted in the acclaimed series “Homeland,” developed by former 24 producers and writers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa in cooperation with Raff, and broadcast on cable channel Showtime in the autumn of 2011. In addition to translating the original scripts from Hebrew into English, Raff acted as an executive producer on the US show and co-wrote the pilot episode.

Raff returned to Israel in 2011 for production of the second season of “Prisoners of War” (which he again wrote and directed). The new season did not begin airing in Israel until October 2012 – just two weeks after the second season of “Homeland” started airing in the US.

In December 2012 it was reported that Raff had sold the pilot for a new TV drama series, “Tyrant,” to cable TV channel FX. The drama revolves around an unassuming American family caught up in the turbulence of the Middle East. Raff created the concept and wrote the pilot script. In November 2013 Raff and “Heroes” creator Tim Kring finalized a six-episode deal with USA Network for “Dig,” an archaeological thriller about an American FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem. The TV series is due to premiere in late 2014.

Raff is an animal rights activist. Having previously been vegetarian, in 2007 he turned vegan. In 2012, as part of a PETA campaign, Raff wrote to both the United States Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense, to protest against use of live animals to train army doctors in battlefield surgery.

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