Ronit Bezalel was born in London, England in 1969. She holds a Bachelors of Arts from McGill University and a Master in Fine Arts from Columbia College Chicago. Bezalel launched her professional career at the National Film Board of Canada, where she created When Shirley Met Florence (1994), a documentary about a fifty-five year friendship between two Jewish women living in Montreal.
Bezalel specializes in creating character-based social documentary films that derive their effectiveness through emotional connection between characters and audience. She’s interested in recording the intimate moments in everyday life using natural lighting, a small crew, and a handheld camera. Stories unfold slowly through cinema verite scenes. Bezalel's work covers a wide range of issues from the demolition of Chicago’s social housing to Montreal police brutality.
Bezalel’s films have screened at festivals worldwide, including: the Montreal World Film Festival, Mostra Internacional de Films de Dones (Barcelona), Yorkton Film Festival, Regent Park Film Festival (Toronto), Sydney Film Festival, FIDMarseille (Sunny Side of the Doc), Milan International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Chicago International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival – where she won the Silver Documentary Prize, Cinefable / Quand les lesbiennes se font du cinema (Paris), San Diego Jewish Film Festival, The Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (Montréal), Festival international de films de Femmes (Créteil, France). Her work has also shown on television in Canada, the States, England and Australia.
Newsweek Magazine (January 2001) honored Bezalel, as one of the Top 15 Women of the 21st Century for her documentary, Voices of Cabrini: Remaking Chicago’s Public Housing and subsequent grassroots screening tour which galvanized audiences around issues of affordable housing. She has also been awarded grants from the McArthur Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Paul Robeson Fund, and the Illinois Humanities Council.