Senior Producer, Capture Productions
Integrated International Studies Major
"I remember sitting at home in Jerusalem with three good offers from different
schools, waiting impatiently for a fax from Terry Jackson, Knox's director of
financial aid," recalls Talal Jabari '99. "When I received the fax, I didn't have to think twice. I immediately started packing."
Jabari, who now lives between Palestine and New York, was attracted to the size of the school. But once here, he realized another benefit: fickle exploration was not only allowed, it was encouraged.
"I'm glad to say that my academic performance at Knox wasn't entirely positive," says Jabari. "I changed majors about a half-dozen times in my first two years. Today, rather than lament my early C average, I boast about the amount of knowledge I acquired through my studies in Knox's various departments."
Jabari settled on an integrated international studies major, which combined his interest in current events with his natural love for the diverse. After graduation, Jabari earned an MA from the University of Leeds and soon found himself covering the Second Intifada for news sources like BBC World Service, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Al Ahram Weekly, an Egyptian English-language newspaper.
By 2002, Jabari was working as an associate producer for CBS News and as a field producer for the television newsmagazine 60 Minutes. The struggle here was to tell an often complex story in a compact amount of time, and naturally, Jabari began to reach for longer mediums, working on an award-winning documentary film series entitled The Shape of the Future as well as shooting and producing several episodes for Al Jazeera Documentary Channel's Best-Seller series, Israel from Within.
Yet it was in 2007 that Jabari came into contact with the subject matter that would eventually evolve into his directorial debut. In preparation for a new baby, Jabari and his wife were childproofing their apartment.
"Like every new father you want to make sure your baby is safe," Jabari told the Daily Loaf in 2010, "so we cleared out the sharp objects in our house. And we noticed that our neighbor at the time had an antenna on his roof. Now, you heard rumors about [potentially negative effects], so I began doing some research, and realized that they were more than rumors, there was specific information out there."
The documentary, entitled Full Signal, investigates both the current research about the health effects of cellular technology and the difficultly of resisting the installation of cell phone towers in local neighborhoods. For Full Signal, Jabari interviewed a wide range of sources, including Leif Salford, who is the former President of the Swedish Neurosurgical Association and who has found that low-level radiofrequency radiation has the ability to damage neurons in the brains of experimental animals. Filmed in ten countries, the documentary has earned numerous awards for Best Documentary, and has been broadcast on major channels in the US, Canada, and Europe.
Because of his success, Jabari looks back at his time at Knox with thanks. For this reason, he's one of the College's star donors, meaning he's given to his alma mater every year since graduation. Says Jabari, "The reason I continue to give to Knox is to help the college I called home for four years give a similar opportunity to someone else."
*A star donor is a person whose given to Knox every year since his or her graduation. Read more about Star donors.