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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

From the Mouths of Filmmakers: Talya Lavie

Talya Lavie. Photographer: Eran Cohen 
By Talya Lavie and Joshua Handler 

Recently I've been disturbed by the amount of people who don't seek out independent films, non-English-language films, and classics.  So, I asked some of the most distinctive voices in independent and world cinema to submit responses to a few questions about why/if they think indies/non-English-language films/classics are important to view, and how those films have been influential on their careers.

The responses below are from Talya Lavie, writer/director of ZERO MOTIVATION, winner of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival's Best Narrative Feature Prize (the festival's top honor) and the Nora Ephron Prize, a prize given to a "woman writer or director with a distinctive voice."  ZERO MOTIVATION was also nominated for 12 Ophir Awards (the Israeli equivalent of the Oscars), the most of any film this year.

Do you feel that it is important for aspiring filmmakers and filmgoers to view independent and world cinema and why?
Watching films from different cultures and different artistic styles is one of the best ways to expand your horizons; it's the ultimate way to travel without a passport. Since cinema combines almost all art forms, it can provide a very intense view on the local people and artists.  
Do you feel that it is important for aspiring filmmakers and filmgoers to view films of the past and why?
Like most art forms, films also use references from past works, with the use of homages and tributes. I personally think that it's important to respect the greats and also it's fun to watch old movies.
How did viewing indies and films from around the world help you when directing ZERO MOTIVATION?
I draw inspiration from everything I see, so I try to watch as many films as I can. Before shooting ZERO MOTIVATION I focused more on army/war films and you can see a few homages in the film.
What's one Israeli indie film and one non-Israeli film that you would recommend that film-lovers or young/aspiring filmmakers see?
Almost every Israeli film is considered indie, budget and distribution-wise.
I'd like to recommend the film FILL THE VOID, directed by Rama Burstein, that offers a unique glimpse at a fascinating Israeli subculture, the Hasidic Ultra-Orthodox community in Tel-Aviv. The film is extremely moving and beautifully shot.  
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE directed by Sean Durkin - I loved this film. It has a beautiful structure, which takes the viewer on a journey into the haunted heroine's stream of consciousness. It has precise craftsmanship, yet still keeps its free spirit.
From the Mouths of Filmmakers continues on Friday.

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