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The Director’s Chair Issue #22 – Feb. 25, 2002 (On Israeli Cinema)

Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors

February 25, 2002          Scene 3 – Take 2

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Web Site: http://www.actioncutprint.com


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1.  Introduction
2.  The Busy Person’s Guide to Directing
3.  FREE Bonus for Subscribers
4.  Action-Cut-Print!
5.  Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
6.  Quote of the Month
7.  Feature Article – “On Israeli Cinema”
8.  Film and TV Domain Names
9.  Directing Tip – Developing Small Character Roles
10. Tips for Young Filmmakers
11. Out Takes – “Totally Absurd Inventions”
12. Share This Ezine
13. Suggestions & Comments
14. Subscribe & Unsubscribe Information
15. Copyright Information


Welcome to Issue #22 of The Director’s Chair (February 25, 2002).

1) THE FEATURE ARTICLE – “On Israeli Cinema” – by Maia Shani

Maia Shani, a film student from Israel, talks about Israel and
cinema – two concepts that strike her as very different in their
nature. The first is associated with war, violence, dispute; the
second with art and freedom.

2) THE DIRECTING TIP – Developing Small Character Roles

“Dealing with Difficult Film Professors” by Cody Agenten

4) COMMENTS – I am always looking for comments about this ezine
and my web site, Action-Cut-Print! So if you have any comments,
suggestions, or advice, please email me at:

5) VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – If you would like to contribute articles,
tips, links of interest, industry news, interviews, special event
dates or other resources to The Director’s Chair please email:



Peter D. Marshall


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To read back issues of The Director’s Chair, visit:


“I’m placing my thoughts elsewhere while you chatter away.”

Anthony Hopkins to Emma Thompson in ‘Remains of the Day’ 1994

7. FEATURE ARTICLE – “On Israeli Cinema”

“On Israeli Cinema” – by Maia Shani

Israel and cinema – two concepts that strike me as very different
in their nature. The first is associated with war, violence,
dispute, the second with art, freedom. Like any country, Israel
too has a film industry, but as much as Israelis grow up on
American cinema and on the Hollywood dream, as far as film
production goes, Israel belongs somewhere between third world
cinema and countries like Argentina and Iran, who have actually
already made their mark in the world.

As a young student of film and television in Israel, I’ve met
many young people, who are frustrated with Israel’s film
industry. On completing their studies in film, they either
compromise and go to work in television, take small-time jobs as
editors, sound men etc., or abandon the field altogether. It
seems like something stands in the way of fulfilling the dream
and of becoming real film makers. What actually stands in the way
are factors such as tight low budgets and strict puritan rules.

In light of the high standard of any other art form in Israel, it
is surprising we haven’t so far managed to achieve a high
standard of film production. We have good musicians, good
artists, renowned writers, but what we don’t have are directors
and producers who make a difference. Along with Israeli theatre
we are still struggling to keep our heads above water.

The main problem of Israeli films, ever since the formation of
Israel in 1948, has always been the issues they address. Israel
has not yet satisfied the need to talk about notions such as war,
army and the struggle between sectors in Israel. Most Israeli
films ever since the forties have dealt with these issues: the
struggle between Ashkenazi Jews (Jews from Europe) and Sepharadic
Jews (Jews from Africa), how war affects the society and the
individual, and in the nineties, the subject of Russian Jewish
immigration and absorption in society.

With a war breaking out in Israel approximately every 7-8 years
and the dispute between different sectors within the Israeli
society, what we see on the big screen is films whose subjects
are soldiers in the Israeli army, wars and their aftermath and
social justice.

In the fifties the ‘Burekas’ film was the most popular genre
around: films that used humor to present the unofficial war
between the Ashkenazim and the Sepharadim. The Sepharadim were
always depicted as low class and grotesque, whereas the Askenazim
were the ruling class, the ones you wanted to be like or marry
into. To this day, some of those films are still in top priority
if you want to enjoy a Saturday morning having lots of laughs.

Films that deal with personal issues of individual characters
were also made in Israel, but were much scarcer. ‘The Personal
Cinema’ as it is referred to has introduced a few good movies but
the movies best known are those dealing with the Holocaust,
wars, army service and social discrimination.

We still have a lot to learn in terms of film making. The truth
is we do have a very unique society with its own problems and
weaknesses, but we have great minds, and if ‘they’ can do it, we
can too.

Maia Shani was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. After her army service,
she studied film making for her bachelor degree. Her main goal
now is to become a film director and a screen writer. Maia is
presently taking film courses at Ryerson in Toronto, Canada.


“If you want to be on the Web, you need your own Domain Name!”

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websites promoting their projects. Writers, directors, editors,
and actors can now showcase their demo reels to the world with the
use of streaming media.

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Remember, your domain name is YOUR IDENTITY on the Internet, and
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“pointing” those domains to your main website.

To find out more about getting your own Film and TV domain name,
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9.  DIRECTING TIP – Developing Small Character Roles

Any character in a script that is worth keeping is worth
developing. Allow the smaller roles to have offbeat remarks or
unique bits of action to make them memorable.


“Dealing with Difficult Film Professors”

If you have ever attended a film school before, I’m sure you have
noticed that, more often than not, the teaching staff are
difficult to deal with.  Either they grade to hard, aren’t
personable, or are stuck in their own styles and modes of
producing film.  This can often be disheartening for young
filmmakers as it brutally shows them what some aspects of
filmmaking are like.  I know I’ve had to deal with some difficult
ones in the past, and I would like to share what I have learned
about these dictators.

One thing that many people have had to deal with in film school
is the fact that you as the filmmaker has one style, but your
teacher wants another or even hates your own style. This can be
hard because you may spend a lot of time on a film that you
absolutely love, but your professor fails you.  Trust me, it

Here’s what I have found when it comes to this.  I know it sounds
odd, but conform to your teacher, don’t try and rebel because
it’ll get you nowhere in most cases.  Make what your teacher
wants, but also inject your own flares and styles into it, making
it stand out and still keeping your GPA high.  Many teachers have
many tastes, it’s best to learn how to mold your work to a
specific teacher.

I have a professor this semester that I hope no one has to deal
with in the future.  He’s a great filmmaker, but he hates
everybody else’s attempts at filmmaking.  He doesn’t even offer
constructive criticism, it’s just pure criticism.  I got so mad
at him once that after I screened a film, and he tore it apart, I
threw the actual film at him.  I don’t suggest that, but I felt
better.  When it comes to people like this, only listen
half-heartedly to them and move on.  Filter what they have to
say, only taking the good chunks, then move on. And always
remember, talk back!  Some people like to have provoke
confrontations with others, so play their game, fight back.  This
will, (often), lead to more respect giving to you than before.

I hope this helps at least a little.  If you have anymore
questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me!

Cody is a young filmmaker from Northern Wisconsin who is
presently enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
To contact Cody, email: cody.agenten@gmail.com

11.  OUT TAKES – “Totally Absurd Inventions”

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Peter D. Marshall
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