Homeland Executive Producer Is Coming to Town for Chai in the Hub

We caught up with Gideon Raff before this weekend's ceremony.

Executive producer Gideon Raff participates in the "Tyrant" panel at the FX Winter TCA Press Tour, on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at the Langham Huntington, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Phil McCarten/Invision for FOX/AP Images)

Gideon Raff Photo by Phil McCarten / Invision for FOX / AP Images

Homeland executive producer Gideon Raff is shipping up to Boston this weekend to speak at this year’s Chai in the Hub event.

Organized by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, the annual ceremony honors up and coming members of the local Jewish community and previously featured actor Jeffrey Tambor as a guest speaker in 2015.

Like the Transparent star, Raff isn’t overly religious, but has a ton of respect for the Jewish traditions after growing up in Jerusalem and serving as a paratrooper in the Israeli army. In particular, he finds that his love for storytelling comes from his roots in Judaism.

“Judaism is a very big part of my identity, who I am, and I think also my DNA in terms of my storytelling,” Raff said. “I grew up in a household that was very intellectual, we read all of the time, and we were given books when our hands were free. I think that’s a very Jewish thing.”

“Telling stories is part of our tribe,” he added. “Even though every few years the whole world tries to get rid of us, we manage to survive with our story because the story keeps getting told.”

Raff has proven to be a master storyteller as his work has taken the television world by storm.

His hit Israeli drama Prisoners of War was adapted into the critically acclaimed show Homeland and earned Raff two Emmy awards in 2012. Aside from his duties as executive producer, Raff’s been a lot more hands off in recent seasons in order to focus on other projects, such as the USA miniseries Dig and FX’s Tyrant.

As small screen projects continue to outshine films thanks to television’s new golden age, the Israeli-born filmmaker is happy to be a part of this great era of entertainment and believes that the medium lends itself well to telling more nuanced stories.

“If you’re looking for a grown up story, if you’re looking for a sophisticated story, it’s now in television,” Raff said. “It’s more of a novelistic experience and you can tell a long-form, deep story, and that’s what’s happened to television which is fantastic.”

Since everyone from HBO to Amazon is churning out shows left and right, Raff is a bit worried by an over saturation of content, though.

“I think they are making over 400 new scripted shows this year,” he said. “When the f–k am I going to have the time to see them?”

Despite all of the noise, Homeland has risen above the pack en route to several award show wins. Raff credits the zeitgeist of the times for helping the series capture the interests of fans and also praises Claire Danes for her take on CIA officer Carrie Mathison.

And while most of his work so far has dealt with foreign affairs and the Middle East, looking ahead, Raff doesn’t plan to stray too far from these types of stories with future projects as long as he can keep them as realistic and grounded as possible.

“In terms in my work I think staying grounded in a more realistic, dangerous world is something I gravitate towards,” Raff said.

Chai in the Hub 2016 will take place at the Royal Sonesta Boston on Saturday, February 6.

Update, February 5, 9:53 a.m.: This post has been updated to reflect that Gideon Raff is the executive producer for Homeland, not its creator.