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Shake Your Cares Away

Tom Shoval, Gal Greenspan

Israel, France, Germany

synopsis

Alma Arbel is a millionaire who inherited her family’s fortune. The Arbel family owns a villa in Caesarea, the historic royal city, which is now the home of Israel’s richest. The villa, a forlorn monument of modern architecture, is located a few steps away from the shore, almost completely isolated from anything else. This is Alma’s world. Haunted by a restless urge to help people in need, Alma builds a “shelter city” on her villa’s private property. Using her great wealth, she creates a secret guesthouse for everyone that needs a little solace and a place to stay; homeless, beggars and refugees. Everybody is welcome. These acts of radical philanthropy give Alma a sense of meaning and provide her with a rare rush of ecstatic joy, as she watches her self-made haven for the poor expand to immense size right under the nose of Alma’s ultra-rich neighbours of Caesarea. Some perceive Alma’s acts as complete madness, while others perceive them as a pure manifestation of kindness and charity, almost crowning her with the aura of a saint. But Alma is not one to acquiesce to any form of explanation or clarification, and she refuses any self-reflection. For it is only about staying true to her primer impulses. When Eli, a street thug, arrives in Alma’s utopia, he starts to undermine the new order and becomes the first to raise doubts about Alma’s convictions.

intention

"Shake Your Cares Away" wishes to examine the most treasured act of human kind – the good deed. What is it about this action that stirs all these feelings in us? Why is “doing good” such a remarkable, out of the ordinary action that we so rarely take upon ourselves, rather than a common everyday gesture?

The heroine of this film – Alma – the heiress of great wealth, decides to devote her life to help those in need, thus willing to spend all of her immense fortune to realize this cause.

This film’s purpose is not to solve a mysterious, contradictory character like Alma, but only to exhibit Alma’s behavior and its sideeffects; to show the troubles and complications it creates for her while she herself works wonders for others.

We can perhaps compare the emotional impact at the core of this film to the feelings that one experiences when one encounters a beggar asking for charity. Such an encounter usually provokes in us mixed notions – is this beggar “worth” our money, what will he actually do with it, is he really in need? Our morals are questioned as we constantly seek the truth behind this encounter – are we witnessing an honest presentation of reality or a false one? Are we being accosted by a sincere human being or are we being taken for fools? And, perhaps most importantly, we wonder how others will perceive our reaction in such a situation. When we drop a few coins in the beggar’s hand, we are actually exposing ourselves, in our most naked and raw form.

With this film I would like to continue down the path I chose for my first film, "Youth", which employed mixed tones and blurred the lines between genres. In addition, the film will feature echoes of two main cinematic inspirations. For one, Alma’s character is a reflection of Ingrid Bergman’s character in Roberto Rossellini’s "Europe ’51". Secondly, "Shake Your Cares Away" is deeply engaged with Luis Buñuel’s monumental "Viridiana". Buñuel’s film serves me as a guide, both in terms of style and tone. I would like to expand upon the questions Buñuel asks in "Viridiana", not only regarding the religious aspect of “doing good” and human guilt (which originated in Christianity in his case, whereas my film explores the aspect of giving through the lens of Judaism and includes a similar, central holiday-dinner set piece). Like that monumental film, the story of Alma will be told with an implied wink at the audience, and will feature moments of subtle irony and absurdity, as if to warn us that nothing has changed.

budget & financing

The total budget is about € 2.000.000. We have € 700.000 secured from Israel, and we have € 1.300.000 left to raise. We plan to raise € 500.000 from France (CNC, French TV, French distributor), € 400.000 from Germany (Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and German TV) and € 400.000 from a possible combination of Eurimages and an MG from Sales.

distribution & sales

"Shake Your Cares Away" will be positioned as the second film by an emerging Israeli director, who proved himself as a masterful storyteller with a strong cinematic vision in his previous film "Youth". We hope and believe that this film will also gain success in the festivals, but that it will also succeed in a more commercial angle as well – starring A-list actress Bérénice Bejo – and having the involvement and support of Alejandro Gonzales Iñárritu. Our goal is to shoot the film during 2017, and to premiere internationally at Berlinale 2018 or Cannes Film Festival 2018. We will release the film in Israel 6 months after the World premiere – together with United King – Israel’s largest distribution company. We aim to have a French distribution, and we are in negotiations with a number of sales companies. We are aiming to close a sales agent at this stage, before the shoot.

videos

Haunted by a restless urge to be a better person, billionaire Alma Arbel allocates her fortune for people in need. Her unconventional philanthropy becomes a dangerous passion.
5479-tom-shoval
Tom Shoval

Film Director

tom.shoval@gmail.com

5475-gal-greenspan
Gal Greenspan

Production

maya@greenproductions.co.il

production notes

original title
Hasiru De’aga Melibchem

directed by
Tom Shoval

produced byGreen Productions
40 Arlozorov st.
52005, Ramat-gan
Israel

in co-production with
Christmas in July – France
One Two Films – Germany

total production budget
€ 2.000.000

current financial need
€ 1.300.000