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Jack Faber, Amir Harel

Poland, Israel

TFL Awards

TFL Production Award 2015 (€ 50.000)

TFL Audience Award 2015 (€ 30.000)

synopsis

For the two high-school couples forming the elite group of their class, the last night of their mandatory Heritage Tour in Poland is the final chance to ‘set things right’ with the class reject, Elijah, before flying back home to finish their studies and enlist to active military service. When Michal seduces Elijah to her room after lights out, he is unprepared for what is waiting for him there. But the private reeducation crash course the group is executing - in which brutality, sexuality and smartphones are mixed up in a series of ‘trust’ and grim intimidation games - quickly goes completely out of hand.

While the group members try to settle the score with Elijah - who didn’t cooperate with the ‘togetherness’ mindset of the tour - their aggressive unity is fracturing in face of his unexpected resistance. Failing to fall for the victim’s role, Elijah is causing the group members to confront their own hidden agendas and inner doubts.

As Michal is starting to have a change of heart, she finds herself isolated into greater danger. Through the accelerating extremities of this escalating night, she has to decide whether to save herself, Elijah or the group. Because the only thing that might save the group now from disintegration is forcing Elijah to confess that he is not just a mere victim, but was justifiably chosen for his transgressions against them.

Cross-haired between their conflicting relationships and deflected desires, Elijah has to find a way to survive this severe initiation ceremony throughout the night.

intention

In this condensed and compact cinematic challenge, I deal directly with the bases of the militant state of mind. The collective trauma upon which contemporary societies, such as the Israeli one, are founded and formed, is creating a binary perspective containing only victims and perpetrators, especially among the younger generation.

The Heritage Tour - an integral part of the Israeli education system - is an extreme exploration ground for this theme. The tour, like the military draft it precedes, is an initiation ceremony that teenagers are demanded to pass in order to be accepted openly to society as adults. It acts as an essential missing link for understanding the Middle Eastern conflict. It is rather impossible to conduct nowadays any productive discussion on the condition of occupation in Palestine without relating to Auschwitz. For deeply inflicted societies, there is no clear separation between past, future and present. The former constantly exists within the latter.

Therefore those teenagers who are schooled constantly to fear the future because of catastrophic collective history are embodying that missing link which perpetrates the situation of occupation in the solidified state of mind.

The events this film is based upon are rooted deep in my autobiography. It all happened in my high school, in my class, with the people I studied with. Although I was not participating in that tour, I remember what happened when they returned. I remember the justifications and excuses - and after the original shock, the understanding and acceptance by teachers, parents and students alike. I dropped out from that high school soon afterwards. I decided to dedicate my time to finding ways to deal with such deep inherited cultural conflicts.

Living and working in Europe in the last couple of years, I learned that this film is the way to successfully recreate this essential missing link between the painful past and the impenetrable political present, while projecting a possibility of hope for the future.

budget & financing

Extreme Emotions is an independent film production company set up by producer Ewa Puszczyńska in addition to her work as a producer and head of development at Opus Film. Two years ago, Extreme Emotions joined Lama Films, one of the leading Israeli production companies, to produce Jack Faber’s film. Both companies focus on strong social–cultural projects that reflect the state of the modern world and its society. Realising that without a well-developed script we will not be able to move the project to the stage of financing, we worked on solid research, visuals as well as participated in labs and workshops. Moreover, we started working on initial cast and flew Israeli actors to Poland to shoot two scenes during the EKRAN programme in Warsaw. This was also when Łukasz Żal, Oscar-nominated Polish cinematographer joined the project. The project was enthusiastically received at the Polish Days during the New Horizons Film Festival in Wroclaw last July. International producers, sales agents and distributors expressed their interest in joining it. They were impressed by the scenes we shot and visuals presenting the mood of the cinematographic language we want to use in the film. No deals have been signed, however, as we are still working on the best co-production strategy for our film. Due to the film’s subject we would like to co-produce it between Poland, Israel and Germany, but we will also consider partners from other countries (there is a strong interest from France and the Netherlands) if it is with benefit for the project. The first stage of beginning the financing of the film was to apply to the Polish Film Institute for a production grant, expecting to get € 350.000.

distribution & sales

A A will be positioned as a film by an emerging filmmaker with a strong director’s vision and innovative cinematographic language. We will focus our marketing efforts both on local (Poland, Israel) and international audiences. The choice of a sales agent is crucial for the distribution strategy and time line. We have already been talking to New Europe Film Sales, NDM International Sales and Films Boutique as they seem to be the best choice for our film. We believe that working with any of them guarantees that the film will reach its audiences around the world. They will also work with us on festival strategy. Our goal is to premiere the film internationally in Berlin and then in Toronto. There are three companies interested in the distribution of the movie in Poland – Gutek Film, Aurora and Solopan. All of them experienced in distributing art house films and getting their audience in the local market. In Israel, distributor’s Minimum Guarantee is a part of the film’s financing plan. We address the movie mainly to young adult viewers who treat cinema as a form of dialogue with the world. A dialogue on important and urgent subjects carried out in an artistically engaging way.

videos

Last night of the Israeli high-school Heritage Tour in Poland. A group of students are working on a plan. When it spins beyond control the violent nature of their present lives erupts.
243-jack-faber
Jack Faber

Film Director, Interactive & New Media

315-amir-harel
Amir Harel

Production

production notes

directed by
Jack Faber

total production budget
€ 978.765

current financial need
€ 656.765