By Christopher Waters @ghbhpodcast
Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing an Israeli movie director named Yoav Paz on the Good Horror Bad Horror Podcast. This was a fascinating interview and I encourage that you head over to the iTunes store and listen to it.
Yoav recently debuted his first feature film along with his co-director and brother Doron Paz called Jeruzalem. Jeruzalem a is horror film, and obviously an Israeli horror film. During the interview I asked Yoav about some of the major differences between producing movies in the states and producing them in Israel. In Israel, and in other countries as well, movie producers can obtain government support and funding for their films unlike in the United States. Another very significant difference comes down to the production of movies overall. Listen to the small clip below from the interview of Yoav speaking about the differences of making films in America vs. Israel.
In 2014 there were only about forty major production movies made in Israel, and not one of these were of the horror genre. Israel’s film market is saturated with drama and comedy films and the market for horror movies is almost non-existent. Based upon my research there have only been six horror movies to come out of Israel ever, and the first Israeli horror film to be made was just recently in 2010, called Rabies directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado. Jeruzalem makes the sixth horror movie to be made and was released in Israel January of 2016.
Yoav and Doron Paz poured blood, sweat, tears and their own money into the making of Jeruzalem, a horror film in a country where horror is not very relevant, where when weighing risk vs. reward, risk may seem to tip the scales in its favor. To further increase the risk, the directors used guerilla style production techniques, shooting scenes in the streets of Jerusalem with handheld DSLR cameras, shooting scenes within in the general population who were completely unaware that a movie was being made, and nearly completing the film on their own dime.
Now came the moment of truth for the Paz brothers, when their film was nearly complete with their own money and help from family and friends it was time to submit their film to the Israeli government to obtain support and funds to put the final touches on their feature film.
The Paz brothers were successful in obtaining government support, but according to Yoav it was very little and the support did not come until the film was actually complete which created “a lot of sleepless nights” says Yoav. On July 10, 2015 Jeruzalem became the first horror movie ever to be screened at the Jerusalem Film Festival, and from there it took to the indie film circuit like wildfire being accepted to the Bruce Campbell Film Festival in the United States, Film Frighfest in the United Kingdom, to the Dracula Film Festival in Romania and many more. Eventually an American distribution company called Epic Pictures picked up Jeruzalem and it received a U.S. release on January 22, 2016.
While speaking with Yoav, he says that there is something happening across the film industry in Israel, and the growth of genre specific movies like horror are on the rise, and I expect that Jeruzalem will not be the last horror that we see coming out of Israel, thanks to Yoav and Doron Paz and the few filmmakers before them who dare to be different. Listen to the small clip below from the interview of Yoav speaking about making horror movies in Israel.
Whether you are a fan of this film or not, there is no denying the fact that Yoav and Doron Paz are truly innovative and passionate filmmakers, overcoming the stigmas and barriers that may be in their way to aid the artistic growth of the horror genre in Israel and the world.