Israeli Actor Ido Samuel Makes Himself at Home in Hollywood’s Indie Film Community

Samuel's short film “Ben-Dod Sheli” will play Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival this March

Ido Samuel grew up dreaming of coming to America one day.

When his career goals led him to come to Hollywood, it was not easy for the young Israeli actor to leave his family and familiar world behind for a new life; but when he finally seized the opportunity and moved here, he knew he had made the right choice.

Samuel's latest short film “Ben-Dod Sheli” written and directed by Daniel Yonathan, is about a young American who travels to Israel intending on joining the Israeli Defense Forces and while visiting his cousin in the West Bank, the two take an unsuspecting ride in a stolen cab.

The film, a thesis film from CSUN, was a recent semi-finalist for the Student Academy Awards, and will make its festival debut at the Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival on March 18, 7:30 p.m., at The New Vic Theater, 33 West Victoria Street in Santa Barbara.

Ido (ee-doh), best known for playing Yossi in the 2012 Sony Classics film “Fill the Void,” loves the way that acting allows him to express himself as a person and a Jew.

The film won in 7 categories (including Best Picture) at the Israeli Film Academy Awards and was Israel’s official submission for the 2012 Oscars.

Moreover, “Fill the Void” played in numerous festivals including: Venice, Palm Springs, Telluride, Sundance and was up for numerous awards at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards.

While still in Israel, Samuel was the face of the “kidnapped soldier” in the Israel Defense Fund’s awareness campaign under the slogan “Don’t Catch a Ride, It Could Catch You.”

Employing jarring images and shocking warnings, the campaign aimed at preventing soldiers from being kidnapped by terror groups while hitching a ride.

Samuel appeared in commercial spots, on posters and in videos to personify the vulnerability of Israeli soldiers to terror groups seeking to use them as a bargaining chip in their efforts to release Palestinian prisoners.

Samuel’s intense blue eyes and quietly commanding presence have made him the top choice for many film roles in recent years.

He has completed “East of Byzantium: War Gods and Warrior Saints” a documentary for St. George and is currently filming “Introducing Jodea,” a comedy directed by Nick Moore and written by co-star Chloe Traicos.

Along the way he has done television including a featured role on the Emmy Award-winning Amazon series “Transparent.”

Most recently, he played a Jewish concentration camp inmate who, along with others, sabotages Hitler’s V2 Bomb, in Valerie McCaffrey’s short “Dirty Bomb.”

Samuel is also fluent in several languages including Hebrew, French, Arabic, Russian, Italian, Polish and Yiddish.

With a career trajectory that appears limitless, Samuel is grateful that he trusted his instincts and followed his heart when success beckoned.