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CIRCLE 2019 Participants : Meet Lee Nechushtan - "Two Sisters"

Updated: Mar 8, 2020

Q: Please introduce yourself and your project briefly.

A: I am an emerging Israeli filmmaker currently working on my debut full-length documentary called: "Two sisters". The film is a character-driven film, which follows the story of Goodi and Shula who together and individually challenge the social norms of family structure.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in making this film?

A: The film follows my almost ninety-year-old grandmother and her sister through a live-changing decision. Both deal with questions of love and relationships and their past choices. This film is also my family’s story, which I bring to the screen.

The most significant challenge for me was “switching hats” – serving as director and keeping the camera’s gaze on the characters on the one hand, and being there for them as a granddaughter and family member (a role to which I’m naturally inclined) on the other.

The reason I chose to continue the project despite this challenge was because I believe that it is specifically my closeness to them that gives me the advantage. My intimacy with them can create authentic, irreplaceable moments.

Q: Can you compare your experience at CIRCLE with other similar platforms that you have been part of?

A: For me, Circle represents a dual opportunity: first, for professional development. I met filmmakers and experts that aided me in advancing with the project. From every session I came back with new ideas that lead up to significant changes on the

production level and content as well.

In addition, Circle is a home for women filmmakers. A space in which documentary cinema can be discussed, dilemmas and thoughts and courses of action can be shared in atmospheres of honesty, openness and friendliness. This is largely thanks to Biljana, who paved the way (along with her team), but also due to the relationship that has formed between the girls, these filmmakers who I can all call today my friends.

Above all, what sets Circle apart from other platforms is the ability to advance each

person’s personal project without compromising others, but rather by working together and

providing mutual support.

Q: What were the most important benefits from being part of CIRCLE project?

A: Creating new connections. I discovered various filmmakers and projects I’m certain will soon take flight, and become excellent films. I also encountered key people in the industry, the Doc Leipzig Festival, and the Market, all conducted in a pleasant and supportive environment. In my experience as a creator, I believe documentary cinema is made in context. It is important to recognize what was done in different places (I emphasize this as I come from a small country) in order to succeed and bring your intimate story to a broad audience.

Q: What advice do you have for other (female) directors?

A: Being a documentary filmmaker in a world where everyone has a handheld camera is a challenging thing. I see no difference between men and women in this respect. It is a challenging profession because it requires persistence and determination, as well as talent and knowledge and a whole lot of luck. It is not always a rewarding enterprise, and the satisfaction you derive from your work can sometimes only arrive after an extended period of time. On the other hand, there are always possibilities. And that’s what makes the profession so addicting. Where else can you spend time with a group of people drawn from places all over the world, yet bound together by the same feelings when you start filming a character? I suppose my advice is to never give up. There’s always another way. If one door closes, another will open.

Q: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

A: Andrea Arnold: though her movies are fiction rather than documentary, her creation has a distinct documentary perspective. First, her visual world is as realistic as possible, her stories present a piece of reality and do not try to commodify or beautify the world in any way.

Secondly, she frequently works with non-actors, or trains young actors for key roles. This brings her creation very close to the world of the documentary. Likewise, her main characters are always women. Finally, she uses cinema as a means for social change, but not at the expense of her cinematic aesthetic.

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