Torah Tropical


On a quest for spiritual enlightenment and a better future for their two daughters, struggling Colombian parents Isska (formerly Paola Andrea) and Menajem (formerly Óscar Javier) reinvent themselves as Orthodox Zionist Jews who believe Hashem is calling them home to the Promised Land. Over the course of a year in which reality and religious parable collide, Isska and Menajem risk everything in an attempt to make Aliyah to Israel, putting family and faith to the ultimate test.

Phase of Support: Post-Production

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Ezra Axelrod

Ezra Axelrod - Director and Producer

Ezra Axelrod is a music composer, writer and first-time filmmaker originally from rural Eastern Oregon. In 2017, after 19 years of exploring Colombian stories and the consequences of the US’s disastrous Plan Colombia, Ezra settled permanently in Cali, Colombia, the contemporary epicenter of the Drug War, to work on peace process initiatives with his long-term partner, Cali-native and International Drug Policy expert David Restrepo. In 2021, Ezra and David founded production company ThisTopia, a vehicle for developing transmedia storytelling projects from Southwestern Colombia that draw international attention to defiant local stories at the forefront of global paradigm shifts.

Jimmy Ferguson

Jimmy Ferguson - Director

Jimmy is a multicultural, award-winning film artist with deep experience in all stages of production spanning fiction/narrative, documentary, commercials, and contemporary art. His narrative and documentary shorts have premiered at Mill Valley, DOC NYC, Maryland, Salento International, and Newport Beach Film Festivals. Jimmy’s honors include: LA Filmmaker of the Year (2008), a Jerome Foundation grant (2014), and a QCA Artist Commission (2019). He participated in IFP’s Project Forum (2013) and EAVE’s Ties That Bind (2017). Jimmy won a CINDY Gold Award for his #NotAFan campaign against domestic violence (2017). Jimmy is a current member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective. Jimmy has a keen interest in contemporary spirituality, is fluent in Spanish, and is passionate about exploring Colombian narratives.

Gloria Nancy Monsalve

Gloria Nancy Monsalve - Director

Colombian script-writer and director Glory Nancy Monsalve’s film career started in 1998 when she shot the making-of documentary for Victor Gaviria’s iconic film The Rose Seller. Since then, she has worked closely with Gaviria as a script-writer, including 2014’s The Animal’s Wife, and Sosiego, currently in production. Gloria Nancy has served as script-writer for a wide variety of Colombian films and TV series and is the winner of multiple awards across Latin America, including Colombia’s India Catalina Award for Best Film (Los asombrosos días de Guillermo). For the past five years, she has been establishing a co-direction and writing alliance with Jimmy Ferguson, and the two are developing a fiction feature called Ximena, about the confluence of risky underground plastic surgery and sex work in Medellín.
David Restrepo

David Restrepo - Producer

David is an economic, cultural, and environmental innovator from Cali, who, through his company Aguacatal Ventures, develops community regeneration initiatives in Southwest Colombia. As co-founder of ThisTopia, David produces transmedia storytelling projects that are at the forefront of paradigm shift. He is also a researcher at the Center for the Study of Security and Drugs (CESED) at the University of the Andes in Bogota. After 10 years working as a strategy consultant in London, where he advised Fortune 500 companies, he returned to Colombia to spearhead transformational projects such as creating a licit market for coca leaf, and thus put an end to the catastrophic War on Drugs.

Heidi Paster Harf

Heidi Paster Harf - Producer

Heidi is an American photographer who lived in Cali, Colombia for nearly 20 years. Her photo essay about the lives of the emerging Jews of Cali was published in April 2021 in The Washington Post Magazine. Through her company Uncaged Capital, Heidi connects international investors with unique opportunities to support cutting-edge stories from Colombia, bringing international audiences intimate access into the everyday “magical realism” that this country is known for, but that so few have truly seen up close. After living through some of Cali’s most violent years, Heidi knows first-hand the havoc wrought by the US’s Drug War, and is passionate about facilitating regenerative projects in this captivating place.

Project logline and bios courtesy of the grantees.