Carol Polakoff grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and studied at the University of Pennsylvania. After working as a photojournalist in Jerusalem, she studied film at the London International Film School. Returning to Israel, she began working as a television journalist for ABC. Moving to LA to pursue a career in motion pictures, she worked on movies, TV and documentaries. Her award winning documentaries as Producer/Writer/Director include: CUBA: IN THE SHADOW OF DOUBT and THE CLOSING DOOR: AN INVESTIGATION OF U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY, both for PBS. Her television work has been nominated for 16 Emmys, and she has received two Director's Guild awards. She produced TV movies for ABC, “Sexual Advances” on sexual harassment in the workplace, and “Held Hostage” about the first American hostage taken in Beirut. She made documentary film on the eve of the peace accord between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority honored that film and her photo series of democracy at work in the Middle East by inviting her to act as an election observer to the first Palestinian Elections in 1996. Based in Paris since 1994, she has shown her work as a photographer as part of the Mois de la Photo and other venues throughout Europe.
In 2009 she opened her development and production company in New York. Her projects (current and past) include an English remake of award winning Danish Oscar contender “Terribly Happy”, an original screenplay set in modern day Tehran set against the execution of two gay teenagers, “Secret Sky”, an adaptation of "On Beauty" by Zadie Smith, and an adaptation of the Pulitzer prize winning book "American Prometheus" based on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Her screenwriting includes the adaptation of the book “Love and Terror” (The Last Night) by Alan Jolis- a romantic thriller set during one fateful night during the French Revolution which is in development at Amazon Studios.
In 2013, she opened the newly named Viewfinder Pictures in Los Angeles to pursue feature and TV development. Her TV slate includes series set up at Fox/FX, one a future crime based limited series written by Ed Burns (The Wire) , and an adaption of a series of seven French novels, “The Iron King” written by Christopher Kyle which is set up at HBO.
She is currently writing and will direct the feature film adaptation of "Speak Sunlight” by Alan Jolis, a coming of age story set in Paris and Pamplona during the Franco regime.