Librettist, screenwriter and director Rachel C. Zisser makes her Royal Opera debut in the 2017/18 Season as co-librettist with Samantha Newton on Na’ama Zisser’s opera Mamzer Bastard.
Zisser grew up in a small religious town in Israel, served her national service on a rehabilitation ward for sufferers of major trauma and studied Jewish philosophy on a Kibbutz for a year. She left her orthodox Jewish background to study film, and graduated from the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem. She met Samantha Newton while they were both film directing fellows at the American Film Institute Conservatory, Los Angeles. They began their creative partnership with the film Traces, co-written and directed by Zisser, which was given its premiere in competition at the Berlinale. For Traces Zisser won the Bridges/Larson Spirit of Excellence Award and the Richard P. Rogers Excellence Award, awarded by director David Lynch. Zisser and Newton are currently developing a television series, The Kindling, with Christina Wayne (Breaking Bad, Mad Men) at Assembly Entertainment and ITV Studios America.
Zisser’s short films have played worldwide at many festivals including Cannes Film Festival, Beverly Hills Film Festival, Jerusalem Film Festival and Sydney Film Festival. Zisser’s documentary feature film Room 6 was broadcast in Israel on YESdocu.