EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with film director Doron Paz
As far as I know, it is not your first visit to Ukraine, and you were involved into different projects in Ukraine. So, what were the projects?
Yes, I really was involved into one project. Here we shot the horror movie called Golem. The place for filming was a local village, which is one hour and a half drive away from Kiev. It was an amazing experience for us.
You are representative of the third generation of your family who works in film industry. Did you have a chance to choose another profession?
Though I tried to run away from it… Actually, I did not have a choice. My brother wanted to be a film director, but I was into music. One day when I was studying in business school, my brother and I got invitation to direct a music video for a very big band in Israel. Then we started commercials, TV shows, and now movies.
Tell us about your family, how did they actually come to film sphere?
The first one was my grandfather Khanoh Paz. He was a theatre director in kibbutz Mizrah about 70-80 years ago. This was a special place, so his shows were rather proletarian and about some social matters.
My father always wanted to be a film director, but there are special rules in kibbutz. It is not possible just to go and study in film school, as they make decisions for you. And they all voted against this idea. But my father decided his own way and left kibbutz for film school. My brother and me from childhood were engaged into his work – locations, sets, decorations…
What are your criteria of judging about film quality? Tell us not as a film director, but as a person who just came to watch a movie.
Being a film director it is very difficult to forget about technical side, angles, script, how actors play… It is bad, since you cannot just relax. I always look at details. However, if I forget about those technicalities, it is my main criterion that movie is really good. It makes me believe it, disconnect from technical stuff.
In what way do you cooperate with your brother when you make movies together?
- It is difficult to make movies, it is like work of an artist who sits next to canvas and paints. You have to work with two or three hundred of people on ever project from very beginning till its very end. There are always problems with budget and timing. When we work together with my brother, we understand each other very well. So, we share all work between us. We were raised on the same movies and under the same influence. But obviously there are some arguments, but we always compromise, we are brothers.
I know you got many world prizes in film industry, they obviously influenced your work. What was your the biggest disappointment, and the biggest victory in work?
It is a very difficult question. First, I haven’t finished my career yet, so… For instance, once we worked with one very famous singer (I won’t mention his name), it was a musical movie, but we did not close many technical things, and eventually it did not work out…
So, this was a rather painful experience, when you through away almost a year of your life for a project which just did not happen. But you learn from it, so on next projects we cover ourselves with right contracts, and other things.
And the biggest victory?
The biggest victory, I think, was our first feature film Phobodilia. It has a really microbudget, but we managed to make it, with help of our friends. Eventually we got to Berlinale, Toronto, Taipei. And even movies with biggest budgets not always get there.
What provokes you to work – more disappointments, or loud applauses from public?
Usually, everyone does it for recognition, and it does not depend on job, as everyone needs recognition. The thing is I don’t know how to do anything else, I think. It is a natural thing for us to play with our imagination, invent ideal for TV shows, work on our movies. It is very intuitive. I think my job is the best job for me because it is never boring, every new day is different from another. There are a lot of high points and low points, there are hard timed and good times, but it is never boring. So, for me it is the best motivation.
Where do you find inspiration for new projects? Does it come like insights in your imagination, or you have some plan in mind for a long time and it encourages for further action?
I used to read a lot of books, but recently I do not have enough time for it. Now usually articles in newspapers and magazines catch my eye, so I see an interesting title and tell myself - wow! that can be an amazing story! Recently I read a story of one Japanese whose son was addicted to video games, so he hired a virtual assassin to kill his boy’s character in a game, so that his son could finish that game. So, I take a lot from titles in magazines, from movies, talks, personal experience. But I don’t like realistic stuff, normal dramas, we prefer everything exciting.
There are questions that should be asked only to experts in certain spheres, since they can give grounded assessment and determine trends. As a professional in film industry, what is you forecast which genre will be the most popular within next five-ten years?
I am not sure if you know about it, but in 2017 horror movies started their golden age. This year in Hollywood everyone is crazy about this genre. Unfortunately, many people when hear about this genre, recall movies from 80s, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and other alike, which were too much gory. But now horror movies are the most sophisticated, with edgy plots, and the best directors started horror movies production.
Whose experience is the most interesting for you? I mean world top names in film industry.
David Fincher is one of the best to my opinion. Darren Aronofsky, the Coen brothers, and of course Ridley Scott, I like him, and also Danny Boyle.
Which your film met all your expectation?
I am never satisfied with neither of my films. Very critical to myself. Even now I am watching the movie and tell to myself “Oh my God!”. I am always thinking on my working mistakes, even when I get to the best festivals. You have to fight with it, to be too self-critical is bad, it kills creativity.
So which is your best movie (laughing)?
It is like to ask which kid I like the most. I don’t know. I would say, the first one as it was very small and we got so far. I also think that it is JeruZalem, since it is the first one which deals with zombies in this city, no one worked on this idea before.
Whose admiration and whose criticism do you expect after the movie?
I don’t like criticism, but I understand it is part of the job. Maybe it sounds politically incorrect, but I grew up in the house where everyone hates critics. You put on stake your time and your money, sacrifice a lot for your favourite art (not only for movies), if you are a poet, you work hard on rhyme, and then… we have a critic’s opinion. That guy just sits home and watches TV, probably, he is angry with his wife in the morning, he was hungry and here he is writing his opinion. And his opinion is interesting for other people. Often people judge based on somebody’s opinion, even without watching movie themselves.
Do you monitor film industry in Israel? Maybe you are looking for new names, or study work of your competitors?
All the time. Though I see them not as my competitors, but as my colleagues. Many Israeli movies are art-house, very realistic dramas. Genre industry is not so developed. We have a facebook group – a small community for film directors, authors and script writers, and everyone who works in genre movies.
For people who work in film industry in Ukraine, can you please advise which Israeli film festivals are the most interesting? I know that one of the most respectful film events takes part in Haifa.
Before considering festivals, I advise to check up Israeli movies. We have new promising film directors, who create interesting works, for you to understand who can be nominated along with you. Two main festivals take place in Jerusalem an Haifa you mentioned. Every year the organizers strive to make it better, the program is really international.
What is your plan for the nearest five years?
To make at least 3-4 new movies, to keep on working as a director, that’s what I really want.
Now we have several projects, some of them are funded, some are not yet. I have to work on several projects at the same time. My brother and I finished working on two Israeli TV shows. I work on movies and TV projects which help earn living. As you know, David Fincher also worked on commercials, so it is a bread and butter, since feature movie is a long process, which sometimes can be just art. TV shows for me are like workout in gym. When you work on feature film and you did a lot of TV shows before, it is like exercise which keeps you active and alive
What do you think you will be at the age of 80?
Wow, what a question! I hope with couple of Oscars. Or even with three if you insist. What else? I would like to work with big budgets, as American movies, Hollywood projects. We are not European oriented, we are America oriented. Many European film directors are realistic, and we like American style with all its action.
So, you hope to be a world famous star?
Rather yes. Not retired. Retirement is not my thing.
Thank you for pleasant and sincere talk.
Thank you. Unexpected questions, I would say – philosophic, I had to think.