Writer/Director Dor Fadlon’s short film Eva-Working Title took home the Special Jury Mention from TriBeCa Film Festival 2011. Here is our Exclusive with Dor Fadlon about his career and short film.
Eva – Working Title
Written and directed by Dor Fadlon (Israel)
Here is our Exclusive Email Interview with the talented Israeli Director:
1. Can you tell me about your youth in Israel and how you got interested in Poetry? Was poetry your first style of writing and how did you morph this into writing a script for a short film?
I got interested in poetry during my army service, It was a combination of a girl, a friend and a poet. My girlfriend was in the army jail at the time and a good friend gave me a collection of short stories and poems by Charles Bukowski named “Play the piano drunk like a precaution instrument until the fingers begin to bleed a bit”. I never read poetry before and I didn’t know “that” kind of poetry existed. Every night I read 5-6 poems and started writing poetry not long after. During my first year in the poetry writing program in Tel Aviv University, I stopped writing. I looked for another way to express myself and there was film. I think that the broken narrative & violence of Eva – Working Title is partly influenced by my love to poetry, which in a way is usually violent and non confirming.
2. Where did such a violent story plot line come from? With your medical background in the Israeli Army, did you witness “assaults” like this at any point or is the story completely fiction?
My background in the IDF has nothing to do with the film. I served as combat medic instructor which meant I spent most of my service teaching. I had vast theoretical knowledge but very little practical experience. Eva – Working Title started as a second year exercise in film school. We were shown the Arnolfini Wedding painting by Jan Van Eyck. In short, the painting “fakes” a situation, the woman is not really pregnant. The painting serves as proof for the couple marriage yet the woman looks dissatisfied to me. Also in the painting is the reflection of the painter in a small mirror. I felt the painter included himself to assume responsibility for his “wrongdoings.
3. How did the project get started? How was the casting process for Eva’s character? What made Evelin Kachulin stand out to you?
When I screened that exercise (2 min long) to Aharon Kashales (co-director and writer of Rabies, and one of my teachers at Tel Aviv University) he said I should turn it into a short film. At the time I didn’t think it was a good idea, but 2 years later here I am. Casting for Eva was easy: Evelin Kachulin and I studied in the same faculty building in different departments, she played in earlier projects of mine including the original 2nd year exercise. So when I was writing the script I was writing it for her. She’s both very talented and tough, that’s a rare combination. I don’t think anyone else could have played her part. I should thank Tel Aviv University Film department for its support and the freedom they allowed me with this unconventional project.
Production was very demanding, especially for the actors. The first time Evelin and Dror met was on set and the first thing we shot was the rape scene. It’s a complicated scene which is shot in a long take, involves running through the woods with the camera pointing in all direction, so it was really hard for the crew members not to get caught in the shot. Because it’s so demanding for the actors DP Ori Rom and I ran a lot of tests earlier and decided to shoot that scene without 35mm lens, we couldn’t allow takes to be stopped because of our mistakes. We shot on Sony Z1, at times with 35mm adapter and lens, at times without. Shooting schedule was not too tight, on the first day we shot all the scenes in the forest (Ya’ar Ben Shemen) from 08:00-18:00 and on the second day we shot the interior of the cab and the apartment (in Tel Aviv) from 16:00 until 07:00 am. After the rough cut we added a scene in the apartment and shot it for half a day.
5. How much footage did you shoot and what was the edit of the film like?
We didn’t shoot that much. I think we shot about 20 shots, and about 13 made it to the film. Almost each scene is composed from one-two shots, so editing was supposed to be easy, but it wasn’t. The film is intense and disturbing and watching it over and over during editing was difficult. My editor Yoav Shaked did a great job with the film, discovering great sensitivity and patience not only with the film but also with me, as we selected the takes and juxtaposed the shots.
6. How far off your original idea is the short that was at Tribeca?
I must say it’s pretty close to what I had in mind.
Tribeca FF -
7. Congrats on making it into the shorts program. Where all did you send into and what made TFF stick out to you the most? How did you hear that you were accepted into TFF?
Eva – working title is an intense film and is a difficult fit to most programs. For almost a year I got rejections from Film Festivals from around the world, apart from Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival where “Eva” won special jury mention. I am incredibly thankful to Tribeca Film Festival for their decision to include Eva in this years program. Being accepted was very exciting.
8. Have you had a chance to check out the other 7 films in your shorts section? You’ve now been through a screening and a Q & A at Tribeca, what was it like?
Eva – Working Title was competing against 9 other films in the Student category. Student film didn’t screen together at the same program but were scattered among all shorts programs. I thought that made a very good combo and demanded that student films will step up to the level of other shorts. Because of that it was difficult for me to watch all the student films. I saw about 6 out of the ten, including Rooms (directed by Joanna Jurewicz) which won Student Visionary Awards and is an excellent film I enjoyed alot. Exit Strategies, the program Eva was screened in was a collection of great shorts and a very interesting combination as it starts with a comedy (Pentecost, directed by Peter McDonald) and gradually shifts to Eva – Working Title and Picnic (by Gerardo Herrero) which are very dark films. Also congratulations to The Terms that won special mention for short film and was screened in the same program as Eva.
9. Do you have a favorite moment of TFF?
The entire festival has been an amazing experience and an emotional roller-coaster: tough first Q&A, 2-3 members of the audience leaving on each screening of Eva and in the end a Special Jury Mention and a great review by Kurt Brokaw in The Independent. Wow.
10. What is up next for your short film? Any other projects?
I am going to continue sending Eva to film festival hoping it’ll get more screenings, In May I am co-directing (together with my good and talented friend Ophir Ben Shimon) a music video for Yehu Yaron which is an artist I greatly admire. Lastly I am working on a feature project which is an adaptation to a short story by Milan Kundera.
TriBeCa Page for the Film – Click Here.
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