May 29, 2008
Israeli films take a lead role at Cannes
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Morag submitted the film to the Cannes festival herself, revealing that it was not selected for Tel Aviv University's film festival.
"Silence" -- "Shtika" in Hebrew -- is Morag's first short fiction film, running 18 minutes. And using only 18 words, it portrays the intentionally ambiguous relationship between Mashda, a 12-year-old Arabic girl from a difficult and fatherless family, and Amnon, a 45-year-old Israeli.
"There's not a lot of connection and attention in Mashda's family. The mother doesn't speak to her in the film," Morag said, explaining that the drama happens "between the shots."
Because of the recognition conferred by Cannes, Morag is committed to continuing her film career. She is working on the script for a longer documentary and considering a new fictional film, even though the idea is overwhelming since "Silence" consumed two years of her life.
"It was really hard to finish. I wasn't satisfied," she said.
She used her time in Cannes to meet as many industry people as possible. "I'm so tired, and I'm having the time of my life," she said, expressing the universal dichotomic reaction to the Cannes Film Festival.
Meanwhile, Nadav Lapid, in Cannes from May 16-23, was selected to participate in L'Atelier, created in 2005 as part of the Cinéfondation with the goal of helping 15 filmmakers find financing for production-ready creative projects.
Lapid, 33, who squeezed in meals between "pitching the project and trying to charm guests," is looking for $1.3 million to complete his estimated $1.9 million for "The Policeman." His first feature, the film tells the story of two groups -- policemen and young revolutionaries -- whose paths cross following the taking of a billionaire hostage. Lapid said he hopes to hear from potential financiers two or three weeks after the festival ends.
A graduate of the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School, Lapid directed "Mahmud Works in the Industry," which was selected for the 2004 Cannes Cinéfondation. A second film, "Road," screened at the Berlinale, and his graduation film, "Emile's Girlfriend," was chosen for the 2006 Cinéfondation. Most recently, he spent five months working in Paris on the script for "The Policeman" as part of the Cannes Film Festival's Residence Program.
Lapid has also written a novel, "Continues to Dance," published in 2001, and previously worked as a journalist.
Eschewing genre films, Lapid prefers things to be realistic and nonrealistic, absurd and concrete.
"I like to take a fantastical situation and shoot it realistically," he said, adding that "when people can classify you, you're a little bit dead."
These days, neither the prolific Lapid nor Israel's film industry are even close to dead.
But only five years ago, Israel Film Fund's Schory said he had to chase film agents, producers and distributors down the corridors of Cannes' oversize Marche du Film (Film Market) exhibition hall, begging them to see an Israeli film.
"Now they call me. They ask me, 'What's new? What's cooking?'" Schory said. "There's a dramatic change. Really a dramatic change."
Interview with director Folman in English from France 24
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