Ivory is inspired by the true story of influential, Harlem Renaissance muralist John Biggers and his professor, Viktor Lowenfeld, a refugee from Nazi Germany who spent several years teaching in an all-black college in the segregated South.
Ivory is a study of the emotional bonds and divisions between the Jewish and African-American communities in America today.
Mr. Pleasant is a feature-length narrative film that follows Asher Naim, Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia during the mass airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1991. After the evacuation of the Israeli-Ambassador to Ethiopia following an attempted assassination, veteran Asher Naim is called up as Israel’s representative in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is in the midst of a brutal civil war with rebel forces closing in on Addis Aba where tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews have congregated in the hopes of immigrating to Israel. The Ethiopian government is holding the Jews as de facto hostages as they try to pressure the Americans to send weapons in support of the ruling dictatorship. As Asher negotiates between the parties (who insist they aren’t really negotiating) he learns more about the Ethiopian Jewish community and realizes the incredible hardships they will face if his mission is successful. The film follows Naim as he witnesses the final weeks of a 2,000-year-old culture that is forever changed in a matter of hours as the Ethiopian Jews board planes for a new world. On a broad level, the film is about the evolution of culture in an era of mass immigration. In an era of political turmoil over immigration, Israel is unique in its active pursuit of immigration and this story can serve as a trigger for a discussion of contemporary issues in America.