What and when was the first movie you made?
Iris: The first movie I made was a short documentary: My Kosher Shifts, about a Kosher hotel in London. In 2009 I moved to London to study documentary filmmaking. In order to pay the rent I found a job as a receptionist at a Jewish hotel in North London. As a secular Israeli who has never before interacted with Orthodox Jews, I was rather excited when I started to have intimate conversations with my guests: religious Jews from different countries, sects and backgrounds, and realized that I should turn it into a film. The film basically shows my conversations with several guests, where we exchange our thoughts and opinions about religion and life. I had filmed it in a very minimal, guerrilla way, so that the filming process wouldn’t change the nature of the conversations too much. I called this technique the ‘Abandoned Camera’. The film which I’m showing now: Women in Sink, is actually following the same technique, of capturing my conversations with individuals from a closed community, while I’m serving them. I’m also exploring this method through a practice based PhD research.
Tamara: Rober- A documentary about my father whom I never knew.
Adi: First movie I produced was a three film project about child trafficking and prostitution including a documentary and feature film. I’m still slightly post traumatic about it, being held in Cambodia against my will, and touring the country with the movie. The First movie I acted in was when I was 12. All I remember is wardrobe stuffing the bra with cotton balls to create cleavage I still don’t have.
Is there a sentence or scene you can recount that has stuck in your mind during the making of the movie (even if its not in the final edit)?
Tamara: “It’s a perfect perfect educational success. You have wanting not to know, and wanting not to teach. And this is how the narrative goes on”. (Prof. Nurit Peled Elhanan)
Iris: One of my characters (that did not make it into the final film) was a very young Christian Arab woman, almost half of my age, who came to do her hair before her wedding. She told me that she had kept herself for her soon to be husband and that tomorrow is going to be her first time. It was an intimate and emotional moment we both shared – of a connection between two women at entirely different stages. While I was washing her hair she expressed her fears and excitement; I told her about my first time, that it was rather meaningless and not at all special. We realized how different our societies are when it comes to sex and modesty, and it made wonder about my own choices and about the idea of freedom. I used to think that my liberal life-style is so exciting and fun, but seeing the spark in her eyes made me rethink all that. Well, at least for a few minutes.
What is your dream project?
Tamara: A documentary series of films, exploring human feelings, each concentrated on a feeling, shot all over the world, amongst different cultures and people.
Iris: My dream project would be a journey documentary with my father in Egypt, to search for my Muslim side of the family. My father, Moshe Zaki, was born in Cairo. His mother, Souad Zaki, who was a famous actress and singer in Egypt, fell in love with a Muslim Qanun player, Mohammed Elakkad, who hailed from a great Egyptian musical family. They married and had my father, but after a few years they ended their relationship. When it was unbearable for her to stay in Egypt due to anti-semitism, my grandmother left to Israel, with my father, and my grandfather to New York. After a few years my grandfather asked her to join him in New York, and they remarried. They later moved to Israel together, where they lived until they died. My father, my brother and myself, had all been raised as Jews, though I am very much tempted to explore my Muslim roots and try and find my Muslim family in Cairo.
Adi: I’ve been developing a film for years about a poet. That’s why it’s taken years. I would say it’s now more a nightmare than a dream— just kidding. My dream project would be one that I write and act in or direct.
Come see the Voice of Change, five women filmmakers discussing their artistry, heated themes and life in the Middle East. How do you call to action through film? Conversation, wine & cheese to follow the panel.