Eli Ziv “SMC is a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world, just sitting in the cafeteria. Just don’t be shy, because you’re going to meet some great people.”

He has the trim look and haircut that puts you in mind of the Israeli soldier he once was. “Yeah, I had that experience, but I’m not really crazy about the army,” says Eli Ziv, now in his third semester at SMC. “But Israel is my home, and the people there are very warm and welcoming. In fact, you have about 300,000 Israelis right here in LA. It’s an invasion!” he says with a laugh. “First we take over the West Bank, then we annex LA!” But all joking aside, Eli has some very serious reasons for choosing to study Animation at SMC’s Academy of Entertainment & Technology.

“The art teachers here come from the best schools in the country, and they’ve all worked as professionals. So you’re learning from the very best, and at an incredible price,” says Eli. “I’ve studied here with Ronn Davis, who’s actually related to Miles Davis, and he absolutely inspires all of us. He’s just as much a philosopher as he is an artist.” But in finding his way to SMC’s top-notch teachers, Eli generously acknowledges receiving top-notch help. “Teresa Morris is a counselor in the International Education Center, and she’s, like, the sweetest person in the world. She just wants to help everyone in every way possible. So go see her!”

With his eye firmly fixed on a transfer to Cal Arts, Eli reports that his arrival at SMC had its germination in Israel. “Back home I was looking at a lot on colleges on the Internet, and I found out about SMC’s transfer rate to other schools in Animation and Film. And it’s just the best,” says Eli. “After Cal Arts, I want to go to work for Disney and Pixar, and possibly have my own animation studio someday,” says Eli. “At SMC, you get the very best training in the US to go into these fields,” adds Eli. “But there’s also the intriguing aspect of meeting people from Japan, India, Germany, Palestine… Oh! It’s just like studying in the United Nations!”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.