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Tribeca ’09 Interview: “Seven Minutes in Heaven” Director Omri Givon

Tribeca '09 Interview: "Seven Minutes in Heaven" Director Omri Givon

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of several interviews, conducted via email, with directors whose films are screening at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.

“Seven Minutes in Heaven” (“Sheva Dakot Be’gan Eden”)
(World Narrative Feature Competition)
Director/Screenwriter: Omri Givon
Cast: Reymonde Amsellem, Eldad Privas, Nadav Nates
Synopsis: For the past year, Galia has tended not just to her own physical injuries but also to her boyfriend Oren. The event that left him in a coma and her back badly scarred is an enormous blur. Getting on the Jerusalem bus… the explosion… waking up in the hospital… most of Galia’s recollections come from the reports of others. But when Oren finally passes away, never having awoken, and a familiar and treasured necklace is anonymously returned to her, Galia realizes that in order to move forward, she must reconstruct this mysterious past and, in particular, that one horrific day. [Synopsis courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival]

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Omri Givon. I am an Israeli writer and director, originally from Jerusalem.

What were the circumstances that lead you to become a filmmaker?

From an early age, I recall obsessing over film — movies, cameras. All aspects of film making. It was a natural path for me to take. In it I found another language with which to communicate.

What prompted the idea for your film?

My idea for the film came from a piece on the news about a wreckyard for busses that had been blown up in terrorist attacks. When I saw that news story, I immediately imagined a young girl standing in front of one of the buses. I began to think: what brought her here? That young woman became the main character of my film.

Please elaborate a bit on your approach to making your film.

The most important thing is to render the character’s internal state in images and thus give him or her life. That is my main approach to filmmaking.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in developing the project?

I researched the project for three years. I interviewed many terrorist attack survivors. My main artistic challenge was to find a way to tell their story in an untold and sensitive manner. Otherwise, money is always a struggle. Especially in an industry the size of Israel’s.

How do you define success as a filmmaker, and what are your personal goals?

Success, for me, is being true to yourself, doing your own work, and being able to support yourself financially from that work.

What are your future projects?

I am currently developing two scripts for featrue films. One is a drama about three lost souls in Jerusalem. The other is a crime thriller that takes place in Israel in the 1970’s.

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