Ilan Ziv

Ilan Ziv was born in Israel in 1950 and came to the United States after fighting in the Yom Kippur (The October) War in 1973. Ilan Ziv is a graduate of New York University Film School, and in 1978 he co-produced New York's first Middle East Film Festival. That same year he founded Icarus Films, a documentary film distribution company, which he left in 1980 to devote himself to making documentary films. Since then, he has directed dozens of documentaries dealing broadly with issues of human rights and investigations of contemporary history.

His six-part series on capitalism, was first broadcast on ARTE October 2014 and received rave reviews. The Capitalism series is now distributed internationally. "With this series," wrote Le Monde in a full-page review, "Ilan Ziv authored a captivating epic that helps us understand today's crisis of inequality... the series will undoubtedly remain a major contribution to social and economic thought."

Exile A Myth Unearthed, an investigation into the political ramifications of the myth of the Exile of the Jews, has been recently shown on the BBC, as well as a dozen or so television networks world wide. The Sunday Times Critics' Choice wrote: "Ilan Ziv's documentary is a brilliant historical investigation." "[It] has ramifications for relations in the region," wrote The Radio Times.

His film Jesus Politics: The Bible and the Ballot, a personal examination of the role of religion in American politics, premiered before the 2008 US elections in France, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, Austria, and Denmark, and PBS in the United States. It was hailed by the Toronto Globe & Mail as a "fascinating documentary... admirably balanced." The Times of London called it "an eye-opening film." La Vie in France described it as "gripping"; "highly original...point of view...powerful imagery and spectacular editing," wrote Israel Today.

In June 2007 his film Six Days: The War That Changed the Middle East opened theatrically in New York and was broadcast around the world including on PBS in the United States. His other critically acclaimed films have included On the Edge of Peace (1995); Tango of Slaves (1994); and Human Weapon (2002) hailed by The New York Times as "gripping and important." His films have been broadcast by leading television networks and presented in film festivals around the world. Accolades include the Prix Europa (Europe's highest television award), Silver Nymph and International Jury Award in Monte Carlo, and Cine Eagle in the United States. The Best Documentary Award at Israel's Haifa International Film Festival.

Icarus Films is proud to distribute 18 films by Ilan Ziv. Discover more of our featured filmmakers.


Director Ilan Ziv traces the origins of today's antisemitism in France from the Middle Ages to the infamous Dreyfus Affair.

Ilan Ziv | 2022 | 120 minutes | Color | French; English; Hebrew | English subtitles | Closed Captioned

A five-part documentary series that presents a fresh, insightful picture of contemporary life across the Arab world.

Various | 2001 | 130 minutes | Color | Arabic | English subtitles

The story of a woman caught up in a cycle of pregnancies because of social pressure to produce a male child, and two other stories of babies, in need, or absent, in Arab countries.

Suheir Farraj, Abbas Hashim, and Abeer Esber | 2001 | 26 minutes | Color | Arabic | English subtitles

A Moroccan woman confronts her liberal bourgeois family and their servants about the relationship between them.

Yto Barrada | 2001 | 26 minutes | Color | Arabic | English subtitles

The stories of people confronting obstacles to their personal relationships and happiness in Algeria and Lebanon.

Samia Chala and Muriel Aboulrouss | 2001 | 26 minutes | Color | Arabic | English subtitles

Explores the hopes and aspirations of Arab men and women as embodied in the dreams and realities of flying.

Ghalia Sheikh, Lubna Haddad, Abbas Hashim, and Raed Helou | 2001 | 26 minutes | Color | Arabic | English subtitles

Four young women face issues of independence and empowerment in Algeria, Egypt, and Lebanon.

Ali Bilail, Samia Chala, and Muriel Aboulrouss | 2001 | 26 minutes | Color | Arabic | English subtitles

Six-part series. How much do we understand about how capitalism originated, and what makes it work?

Ilan Ziv | 2015 | 318 minutes | Color | English | Closed Captioned

Capitalism is much more complex than the vision Adam Smith laid out in The Wealth of Nations. Indeed, it predates Smith by centuries and took root in the practices of colonialism and the slave trade.

Ilan Ziv | 2015 | 53 minutes | Color | English

Adam Smith was both economist and moral philosopher. But his work on morality is largely forgotten, leading to tragic distortions that have shaped our global economic system.

Ilan Ziv | 2015 | 53 minutes | Color | English

The roots of today's global trade agreements lie in the work of stockbroker David Ricardo and demographer Thomas Malthus. Together, they would restructure society in the image of the market.

Ilan Ziv | 2015 | 53 minutes | Color | English

Have we gotten Marx wrong by focusing on the Communist Manifesto instead of on his critique of how capitalism works - a critique that is relevant and as penetrating as ever?

Ilan Ziv | 2015 | 53 minutes | Color | English

The ideological divide between the philosophies of John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek has dominated economics for nearly a century. Is it time for the pendulum to swing back to Keynes? Or do we need a whole new approach that goes beyond this dualism?

Ilan Ziv | 2015 | 53 minutes | Color | English

An exploration of the life and work of Karl Polanyi, who sought to reintegrate society and economy. Could the commodification of labour and money ultimately be as disastrous as floods, drought and earthquakes?

Ilan Ziv | 2015 | 53 minutes | Color | English

Information on all the main speakers, academic consultants, and additional interviewees featured in Capitalism.

Ilan Ziv | 2015 | 320 minutes | Color | English

A new look at history that re-shapes the Middle East conflict.

Ilan Ziv | 2014 | 104 minutes | Color

Tells the story of the conflict in Peru which left over 10,000 dead or "disappeared" through an investigation into the killings of eight journalists.

Ilan Ziv | 1985 | 35 minutes | Color

The first sober, in-depth examination of the history of suicide bombing. Filmed in Iran, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Israel, Palestine, Europe and the United States.

Ilan Ziv | 2002 | 55 minutes | Color | English | English subtitles

A sweeping picture of history, changing lives, occupations and displacements on the West Bank, and political division within the Israeli Jewish community.

Ilan Ziv | 1983 | 120 minutes | Color

A personal investigation into the role of religion in American politics, and specifically this year's presidential election.

Ilan Ziv | 2008 | 90 minutes | Color | English

They had little in common in life, but Israeli soldier David Biri and Palestinian Fahmi Abou Ammouneh are linked in death, their fates tied to a Gaza crossroads between an Israeli settlement and Palestinian refugee camp.

Ilan Ziv | 2004 | 52 minutes | Color | English

December 3, 1984. Bhopal, India. The worst chemical disaster of all time. How has Union Carbide manipulated the US and Indian legal systems for 20 years to avoid facing justice?

Ilan Ziv | 2004 | 52 minutes | Color | English

Chronicles the first year of the implementation of the Israeli-Palestinian accords as experienced by both Palestinians and Israelis from all walks of life.

Ilan Ziv | 1998 | 103 minutes | Color

The first in depth look at non-violent revolutions around the world.

Ilan Ziv | 1989 | 53 minutes | Color

Investigates the possibility of complicity - knowing or not - by the commanders of the United Nations forces in Bosnia in the disaster that befell Srebrenica.

Ilan Ziv | 1996 | 39 minutes | Color

Describes the coalition formed by Fundamentalist U.S. Christians and militant Israeli Jews to destroy the Dome of the Rock, Islam's third holiest shrine, and to build a new Jewish temple in its place.

Ilan Ziv | 1985 | 42 minutes | Color

The war that was launched in the name of defense of our democracies might have become its biggest threat.

Ilan Ziv | 2022 | 104 minutes | Color | English | English subtitles | Closed Captioned

A Holocaust survivor's journey to Warsaw becomes the springboard for a meditative essay about history, memory, and their preservation in imagery.

Ilan Ziv | 1999 | 106 minutes | Color

Chronicles the Yellow Wasps, a Serbian paramilitary unit operating in Bosnia in 1992.

Ilan Ziv | 1996 | 70 minutes | Color