“We hope the film will shake the normal beliefs of what domestic violence is, it's not just physical”

Hava Luzon, Mili Ben Hayl and Tamar Shippony

Mili Ben Hayl and Tamar Shippony, a couple in real life and in film, have their own production company in Jerusalem- '288 Sparks' where they produce & direct films together. Mili majored in film and Tamar in art and when working together they have developed their own special language. At the moment they are working on two new feature films, one in pre-production stages scheduled to be filmed April 2018. 'Cheer Me Up' is there first feature film.  "Cheer Me Up" is based on true life events surrounding Hava Luzon, who experienced suppression and domestic violence for 20 years before finally finding her way out. The film was screened at the Kolkata International Film Festival and there in the international competition for women directors’ category, Special jury mention went to this film.

What drew you to making a film about domestic violence?

As the quote from a song by John Lennon says "Life happens when your busy making other plans", and so that is what happened, we didn't at all plan to make a film about domestic violence. It all started when Mili was giving a script writing workshop to single mothers. There she met Hava Luzon, a single mother to 3 children, who brought unsettling scenes from her life with her ex-husband. Hava’s scenes were so strong and emotionally brave that she couldn’t ignore them, Hava experienced domestic violence for 20 years and succeeded to find her way out. After a few weeks she approached Mili after class and wanted her help to combine scenes into a full script for a movie, she said to her: “I want to help other women see the signs before it’s irreversible”, Mili immediately agreed.

What sort of challenges were you faced with while making this film?

We feel that when being in a process of creativity it is very natural to have challenges and obstacles to face, it is part of the process and when embracing them it's much easier to handle. There is a nice saying "From Breakdown to Breakthrough" and we did have quite a few breakdowns, but we just kept on going. At first we weren't able to raise funds for the film, we tried sending the script for two years and didn't get anything. So we decided to film independently and set out with only $5,000. Once we got to the post-production stages, we needed more money and so we opened a crowd-funding project where we raised around $25,000 in 40 days, this was a big challenge! and a very intensive 40 days!).

This amount we raised disappeared in the post production expenses before we noticed and than again we had to raise more money to continue. We were very focused with the film we wanted to present to the world so we didn't want to compromise about the sound and color correction.  These stops to raise more money were challenging for us but if you look at it in a different angle they have allowed us to develop slowly with the film and present a much more mature product than if it was done faster.

Do you have any special moment that you’d like to share from the shooting?

Hava Luzon was with us on the set every day. Some scenes were emotionally charged for her, since they are based on true life events from her life, and so there were some tough moments for her where she wouldn't stop crying, seeing her far away past enlivened and re-enacted again before her eyes. These moments were hard for us because we had to be very focused with getting the scene right from the actors and camera and yet be there for Hava as well. It was very important for us that she was on the set, she helped us be more accurate with the actors, set and costume design, and adjust nuances that were important for being as true as we can.

How prevalent is violence against women in Israel?

Unfortunately it is very prevalent. It's in the newspapers quite often and we are sure there are many woman that keep it in silence. This film is about them. And yet, we feel that there is a conspiracy of silence among woman and men all around the world that this kind of violence that is presented in the film is "a normal life" and that this is the natural power of balance between women and men.

We wanted to touch upon the more “silent” areas of violence - the gray areas - violence that is more covert and at times can be more manipulative and dangerous. It was important for us to show the distress and anxiety the husband was going through, and to show that violence many times hides behind the excuse of “love”.

What do you think are the origins of male violence against women? Is it biological? Sociological? A desire for power and control?

This is a serious question, we are sure that whole books can be written on this subject yet we must stay modest when facing this kind of question and admit we don't know the answer for it.

What message do you hope that viewers take away from this film?

We hope this film might raise awareness in people, both men and women either to seek out help, or even better to awaken their inner strength and break free from suppression and fear, knowing that they have control of their life and that they can do something about it. We also hope the film will shake the normal beliefs of what domestic violence is, it's not just physical, there are so many women and men who believe living under these situations is normal, we hope people will consider the way they speak and behave to each other again and notice the more subtle nuances that may have been overlooked.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Follow by Email

copyright © . all rights reserved. designed by Color and Code

grid layout coding by helpblogger.com