Home #Hwoodtimes Itai Guberman- Israeli-Australian Independent Filmmaker. Finding Creative Solutions During COVID-19

Itai Guberman- Israeli-Australian Independent Filmmaker. Finding Creative Solutions During COVID-19

Itai Guberman

By Jules Lavallee

Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 10/27/2020 – Itai Guberman is a beloved indie filmmaker, director, and writer. He has  written and directed several short films, including Ivy, Dolphin, Third Temple, co-writer/co-director with Asaf Angel) and The Collector (2007, co-written with Peter Angel and co-directed with Thanassi Arthur Panagiotaras). He has also written and directed the comedy web series The Bruised Spring’s Teens.  Ivy has won a number of awards, including several Best Film Awards and two Best Director Awards for Itai Guberman. He has spent 2020 working on films and supporting Indie Artists. As Founder of the popular platform, MyIndie Productions, he has found creative ways to support Indie Artists during COVID-19 by opening MyIndie store offering cool caps, hoodies, shirts, and mugs all for the LOVE of Indie. www.myindiestore.com

What changes have you seen in independent filmmaking over the past few years? 

The changes in indie filmmaking in recent years have been numerous. It started with the technology becoming more readily available and affordable, thus making it possible for anyone so inclined to shoot a film. The Internet making the world smaller and easier to reach people from all over the world has had a huge influence. Changes in distribution have been a major factor, and are still occurring so often, that it has become difficult to constantly pivot on our distribution strategies. The recent introduction of the COVID-19  has also thrown a spanner in the works, however, with change come challenges and with challenges, we find solutions. True indie filmmakers have become adept at finding creative solutions and have, therefore, placed themselves in a position to make things happen, especially now that Hollywood productions have effectively shut down due to the pandemic.

Tell us about MyIndie Productions and why so many Indie Artists turn to it for support.

MyIndie Productions is my indie film production company. A few years ago, along with production partner, Asaf Angel, we decided to build a website for it and showcase our work – what we’ve done, what we’re doing, news, festival, future planned projects, etc. As I was working to promote our projects and learning how to best use social media to connect with an audience and create some kind of buzz for our work, I realized that this area we call “finding exposure” is challenging for most indie filmmakers. I decided to dedicate a section of the website for an Independent Artists Community, with Artist pages/profiles for all kinds of indie artists from all kinds of fields (film, music, writing, jewelry design, etc.), showcasing them and their work and promoting it across all our social media. We so far have approximately 80 artists on the site, with about 40 still to come, whom we help gain exposure and momentum with their work. We also created a review show, MyIndie Review Vlog, where Asaf reviews strictly indie films in a fun and interesting way. We made two seasons, totaling 72 episodes, readily available via our website, all promoting indie film.

The thinking behind the artists’ community was that we all have our own little following, an audience. If we bring all those together, we’d have more audiences to share around, hence, more people to view and enjoy everyone’s work and potentially even purchase our products and therefore, help us sustain ourselves as artists and make more art.

We have done a lot in helping artists with exposure by promoting them on a regular basis. Those who have shared in the philosophy and spread the MyIndie word shared other artists’ news, etc., have enjoyed some extra attention from us and we hope to build on those types of relationships with artists who “get it”.

You have directed several short films, including: Ivy, Dolphin, and Third Temple with co-writer/co-director Asaf Angel. Do you have a favorite project? 

It is really difficult to point to a favorite. It really is, as they say, like playing favorites with your own children. I love them all and for different reasons.

Dolphin, for the collaborative effort between Asaf and I in writing and producing, then directing the pair of Asaf and the incredible Inbal Eizenberg in rehearsals and on set, a truly amazing experience I’ll never forget.

The Bruised Spring’s Teens, I wrote and directed, while Asaf dealt with cinematography. We produced and performed all the crew roles ourselves as a two-man crew. It was probably the most fun I’ve had on set, considering the subject matter, and the bonding experience with our two actors – the amazingly talented Zach Cohen and the late, great Tomer Shechori (R.I.P.), who we lost a couple of years ago – was one I doubt will ever be replicated. It was truly an unforgettable experience and an amazing achievement.

Ivy is my biggest success with over 30 official selections and several awards in festivals all over the world. It is possibly my most cleverly written script, and again, an amazing experience to make. However, Ivy is part of a feature film, Revelation, which I am in the middle of shooting. We have shot two segments and have two more to go. Initially, production in Israel was paused when my father passed away and I had to fly back to Australia to be with my mother and help her get through it. Once I finally got back to planning and pre-production of the second half, I was supposed to fly back to Israel in the middle of 2020 to shoot the rest, COVID-19 broke out, and as a result, getting back to production before next year seems less and less possible. I also lost a chunk of the budget when investors pulled out due to the pandemic and I can’t blame them. Stay tuned on that one.

Third Temple is also very close to my heart as I believe I created something truly original and thought-provoking with the script idea and treatment, which was written during an hour’s bus ride. Asaf and I wrote what is still our best collaborative writing effort and the film is very intense and affecting. Another amazing experience with a truly awesome ensemble cast. It does not seem to have aged much in the six years since we made it. I hope to one day put together a feature-length version.

Tell us about your film, “Dolphin,” – Sometimes Revenge is its own reward.

Dolphin came about in a funny way. I came up with the idea during the time I was at Tel Aviv University, completing my Master’s Degree in Film and Television. In a class taught by Savi Gabizon, one of Israel’s most successful directors, we were discussing the topic of weapons in Israeli films and why the use of them in Israeli productions (that are not army/war-related) looks so unconvincing. I suggested that it is simply a lack of ingenuity and of smart use of both practical effects and the technology available that might be the cause. Mr. Gabizon challenged me to… well… prove it. Again, I wrote the treatment that same day on the bus ride home, shared it with Asaf a few days later and we got to writing. I wanted to have a strong female lead character in a role generally reserved for males. I also wanted to make one of those one-location, few characters, indie films, but to keep it interesting. Inbal Eizenberg was our first choice and we never regretted it. Asaf jumped into the role opposite Inbal with reckless abandon. The chemistry between those two on set was amazing and greatly enhanced the film. We shot it in 2011, then realized we had issues over the rights to some of the music. After some attempts to fix that, we shelved it and went on with our lives. In 2016, we decided to take it off the shelf, “dust it off” and re-edit. We changed the music and fixed the sound and released it. In a very limited festival run, it was accepted into several festivals and won two awards: Best Lead Actress for Inbal at Red Phoenix Film Festival in the U.S. and Best International Short at ACAFilms Low Film Festival in Brazil. We are definitely happy we rescued this one.

What genres are you most known for?  

I am probably most known in the horror genre, mainly due to Ivy‘s success. Third Temple and Dolphin were also reviewed by horror publications and accepted into horror festivals. However, I love writing thrillers and comedies as well and hope to work across all these genres in the future.

Tell us about MyIndie Store 

MyIndie Store is a place where our fans and those who want to support indie artists and help us keep the MyIndie Artists Community going, can find and purchase our merchandise. We have all kinds of goods representing the MyIndie brand there, from mugs and smartphone covers to caps and beanies to posters, shirts, and hoodies. All designed by MyIndie  www.myindiestore.com.

How have you evolved as a Filmmaker? 

That is always a tough question to answer, as I think it is probably for other people to judge. If pushed for an answer, I would say that my eye for technical aspects has improved and my writing is gradually and consistently getting better. I am a big believer that in film “story is king” and a huge fan of subtext. I believe in challenging the viewer and creating films that are of the highest quality possible considering our resources. In that regard, I have also evolved as a problem solver, both in the scriptwriting process, on set, and in the editing room. I am also constantly trying to improve the business side of things for the company, devising a strategy to do with promotion, distribution, and all business aspects. Most artists tend to forget the business side of the profession and that can make things all the more difficult in getting ahead.

Tell us about your comedy web series The Bruised Spring’s Teens

After completing Third Temple, Asaf and I decided to take a few months off for a well-earned break from producing. It took exactly a couple of days for us to feel the itch again and want to shoot something new. As we just blew all our savings on Third Temple, we needed to make something ultra-low budget. After some brainstorming, I suggested that we do exactly as widely advised in our field and “write about what we know”. My idea was to write a web series about two guys who want to make a film and due to a lack of budget, end up making a web series. I decided to make it fun and write a wacky comedy and let all my crazy loose. The result was The Bruised Spring’s Teens.

We completed a 5-episode season and put it out into the world. Due to the brand of humor, it is not everyone’s cup of tea but has picked up a small following. Late last year, we decided to re-edit it into a feature film. We took all the material that ended up on the cutting room floor (mainly as episodes needed to be of a certain length) and additional material we shot, added some newly created content to spice it up and “The Bruised Spring’s Teens: The Movie” is currently in the final stages of post-production. Once we work out our distribution strategy, we will release it and see what happens. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Lol.

The best thing about it is we hope that it will help continue Tomer Shechori‘s legacy as an actor, comedian, entertainer. The guy loved to make people laugh and we hope to help him to continue to do that by getting the film in front of new audiences. That would really be something.

Share your upcoming projects 

I have a few upcoming projects that I cannot discuss as yet. Those are all intended for production at some stage after completing Revelation, so probably not before 2022. For now, the plan is to get rid of Covid, fly over to Israel for a few months, shoot the two remaining segments for Revelation, and complete the film by the end of 2021. I hope we are given the chance to do that.

Website: https://myindieproductions.com/

MyIndie Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MyIndieProductions/

MyIndie Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/362293570848450/

Personal Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/itai.guberman.9

MyIndie Twitter: https://twitter.com/MyIndieProd