Director's path
to the testament

he Testament is Israeli director Amichai Greenberg’s first film which won numerous awards in 2018. It tells the story of Yoel, a meticulous historian leading a significant debate against holocaust deniers, discovers that his mother carries a false identity. A mystery about a man who is willing to risk everything to discover the truth.
A moment before he starts working on his new film, we sat down with Greenberg for short insights behind the scenes. 

 

What did you do between graduating from high school until the production of "The Testimony" and what led you to write the script ?

 

Amichai :  I've done a lot of things that are not movies. I also did things that are TV, but at some point I realized that money can be made more easily than other things, and it came to a stage much later that I experienced a personal crisis, which more or less all collapsed around me. I realized then that the preoccupation with film and visual matters is significant for me not only financially but also very. Something very nourishing for me and then I went with all my might over this script and realized it.

              What that led me personally this scenario Specifically, it was kind of a personal crisis and the feeling of walking in the direction of a loss of identity or a question of what defines me as a person and I chose to exercise it in the script of this film that deals with issues of identity in red has lost his identity and to deal With this.

             

In hindsight, what advice would you give the directors and directors of the first film when choosing a producer?

Yoav Roeh produced the film and it was an excellent experience. I could not choose a better producer. The producer's selection process really took a lot of time. I have quite a bit of experience with it because I went through with some producers and examined the matter until I got to Yoav. Now I would divide it into two very important things: one - check if the producer and you see eye to eye the content of the film and the direction of where it goes and of course the development of the script if need more. it's very important. I met producers who wanted the film even wanted very much but thought to develop it in other directions did not match what I wanted and it was very important to find out from the beginning and not get to it later. So that's one important thing. The second thing that is very important is to find ... create a state of win-win situation In other words, to find a producer whose professional level will also be very important for this film to succeed. Here, too, I met with quite a few producers who wanted and were ready to produce the film, but in practice I saw that there are many other projects on the shelf, and not only that. There are all kinds of hints about these things.For example, I made an appointment with a producer and three times it was canceled because he is busy, so maybe it really is, really can happen one-time cases but when you understand that the producer is very busy to make your film you want a producer that will be completely dedicated Be devoted to a movie, especially when it's a first movie. So it is a very, very important fact that you will find a producer who can really make a profit if the film succeeds.

            I think that beyond that it is also important to meet with the producer after you understand that this is something that goes in a good direction. Very quickly understand what contract you want to sign together. Do not wait with it too long. Again, you do not want to enter, start a process of discus and a discussion that you understand that you are actually contractual terms between you will not materialize and then much more difficult to dismantle the package when the matter of the contract only comes much more consolidated.

              Regarding the contract in a specific way, I have a lot to say about standard contract terms and so on, but that is for another conversation.

              Only one important thing that may be an introduction to even the whole answer to this question. As creators, especially if we are scriptwriters, we feel very lonely in the process, and then when someone finally produces, he comes and says, I really like their film. We have a temptation to jump on this band and not do too many tests. So it's a mistake, because the thing that costs the most money for us and in the market is the investment and time of writing the script because there is no funding for it. It is actually we as project creators. So ... once a script comes to a producer, you have to choose well. It is of course good that the producer is interested but that is not enough.

 

The entire cast makes an excellent fact, especially Uri Pfeffer, who is one of his best performers.

Thanks for the compliments regarding casting . I agree. They really worked fine. First of all I think casting is an important writer stage in the production of the film, at the level of the film at the creative level. It's important to focus on it and work with a good band or cast that understands your sensibilities. Here, too, it is worth doing a test and seeing what a musical or a band of workers is doing wellwith you .

              Here in our case , Esther Klein was excellent, she was very sensitive and sharp and it helped a lot. I usually build the casting like an onion. I mean, I start from the most important job and then build around it. Until I have the key player, it is very difficult to decide on other players because the other players are always in relation to him. If you need to create conflict, express some contrast and each time another conflict, then if you start with the main actor and then go to the second most important figure then this is the main conflict of the film. After that, the other players have to express a different kind of side, as if to pull out a different kind of side of the main character and then depending on who you chose the second player or the second player then choose the third and fourth and so on. So it's very important. I sometimes see movies about the relationships of spouses that the whole film is even about spouses, the two actors are excellent but it makes an impression where they have not examined one in the context of the other, so this is something super important in my choice of actors.

              In terms of rehearsals and so on, I do not have any tricks or anything, I just use my abilities as a person, just as a person with some sensitivity to people and with that I try to reach the players. Each player needs another way. I try to demonstrate to them a lot of what I'm looking for, to show them examples, if they need to, of course. There are players who do not need it and you immediately realize that they have it and then in this case I give them a lot of freedom to look for the character before I drop what I think about them. If I see that it does not work then I put in more specific guidance. And it again depends on the character of the player. In our case, for example, with Uri, we went to Mea She'arim, turned around, showed him all kinds of characters, and he alone took the comments or the things that interested him. And that's how I think he first built the character in himself, he looked for places to dare to express the character of Yoel in his game.

 

What was the hardest thing for you while filming?

 I do not know if there is one thing that is the hardest. Photos of this super-intensive period, is also very enjoyable where you feel that you are at war with the whole world. Not necessarily war, but rather as if you were confronting and you are trying like a hunter to succeed in bringing as much material as possible to the cave so that afterward you will have something to work with. So, of course, the budgets are not so high, so all the time you have to choose ... Choosing sometimes means knowing what to give up and what's more important. priorities. So it's just being all the time, I think with all the stress and pressure being very, very attentive to what is happening. A lot of things happened during the filming that were different from what we planned and the fact that I could be attentive to it is also the producer assistant but the fact that you can be attentive because someone keeps you and handles all the technical issues allows you to find new and surprising solutions. Many times it serves the film's why it's very important even at the level of the game, at producing, working with locations throughout the city, and so on, know how to work with Hblt"mim jumping and quite often serve the film and show you the things that actually were not supposed to work in the first place and just not dead Pay attention to them.

              In my case it was a classic. It was a boom of some player who was already selected and everything was sure he was going to arrive ... A player is also very well known and when we arrived in Austria it turned out that the person had a stroke a few hours before we landed and I just decided to take this character off the script and make it not Comes and only talks on the phone, which in retrospect is much more true and also served the film at the level of its rhythm and mystery. So this is just one example of the limitation that at the end of the day I think helped the film very much.

 

What is the difference between the world of Israel in terms of the Feed-back movie?

I think that this is not necessarily a Jewish issue, but for some reason here in Israel, I think it will be considered as such. Preoccupation with the whole world that I met him raises a lot of questions and a lot of curiosity, rather than of course Jewish identity, whether it's in Venice, Warsaw, Stockholm, South Africa and Beijing - Not festivals Jews and people there very, very connected and engaged question of identity, the search for truth .

              Land I felt on the one hand there is an audience very strongly that interests him but also some kind of orientation, I do not know if it's Israel / Tel Aviv home, associate engaging in this identity as something related to religion or something heavy or something very preoccupation which is already some world Who do not want to be in it. I feel that there is this dimension in Israel, I do not know how great it is, but I do feel it while in the world I feel exactly the opposite. This issue of identity actually draws a lot of people, whether Jewish or not, and generates a very great curiosity . Even the reference, I think, the land have some dimension of the search for some kind of drama, family drama Israeli one, and it has some kind of convention and the rules are a bit Frobintzialii eyes from.They seem to have found a niche and are looking to recreate this niche, which is an excellent niche and make excellent films, but you see a lot of such films in Israel ... and I think there is room for other films , movies that are a little more influenced by genre. I think that genre in general is especially good for young artists like me, because it is ... genre is crutches - there is a game on them and you can easily mold the content you speak, but to see that the rules of the game is very helpful, The audience to certain places and you ... and that makes it easier.

              So if I would sum it up, I think that in the world there is more openness to genres than in Israel, and the issue of identity in Israel is a little more classified for a certain type of people, and while abroad I feel it is much more open.

 

What were the cinematic influences that accompanied you during the film 's work ?

The most important influence I think was of the movie "The Conversation" - The Conversation Of Coppola . Anyone who looks at the film or knows it will see all sorts of things that are actually inspired by it.We make a film in all sorts of aspects: in the workplace, in the colleague, in the type of the little anal person, the fact that he has no one to talk to, and so on.

              More films that intrigued me towards the film, of course, many Kieslowski films , including "Blue" deals with his issue discusses a woman but also a world that is very very internal figure, a character that is actually alone.

              Another film was the impact on this film and that the rooms testimony "Paris-Texas" at the end of his actually very Connect with me even if it is not connected to one of the meeting rooms of FIFAcommittees -soao but the fact of the world within a world very, very Very connected to me.

            That's it, I think that when you make a movie, you're looking for things that are close, it helps a lot.                 Movies that I've seen, someone has already done it, so it avoids hesitations and gives some direction.

 

What is the next project?

I am now working on a script that is some kind of inspiration for Zen and the art of holding fashion. A film I read when I was 18 and very much influenced my life. Then a road trip in which case Ben kidnaps the father to some kind of journey in the desert where they get stuck together. I think that this issue of father-son employs me, as you see in this film as well as the desert ... I feel that the desert in Israel is not enough used in cinema. Many times it comes as a backdrop for movies about development towns and social distress that is important and interesting but I wanted to take it to a more existential place and there are so many different types of desert in this country and that ... I think a lot easier to production on the level of location, But it's cheap to produce a name in Teva's location, and Israel is so special that it's very intriguing to deal with this kind of location, a film that mostly takes place in the desert.

 

            Good luck! 

AWARD WINNING AMICHAI GREENBERG ON THE MAKING OF HIS FESTIVAL GEM
by THE JERUSALEMITE EDITORIAL 

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