Filmmaker Spotlight: Interview with Bar Kirshon
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you get into filmmaking?
I'm 27 years old, born and raised in Israel. Three years ago, my wife and I (and our dog) packed our things and moved to Toronto, Canada so I could attend film school, and we've lived here ever since.
I'm not entirely sure when my filmmaking dream began. I was pretty young and LOVED Tim Burton and wanted to be like him when I grew up. I was also always into psychopathology and writing, which helped me in creating more complex characters. But I think what drew me in was the possibility of creating an alternative universe, one I can just dive into along with my characters, and stay there for a while.
What inspired this story?
Back in 2012, I took a screenwriting course and had an idea for a feature involving this super complicated female psychopath named Hellena (double l for 'hell', 'hena' means 'here' in Hebrew).
I ended up putting the project aside when I introduced another character to the story, based on a very manipulative woman I knew. I wasn't ready to face my demons yet.
Six years later, I had to write a short script for my final project and found myself wanting to bring Hellena back. I wrote a bunch of short scripts putting her is all sorts of situations, but was mainly drawn to the story of her first kill.
Then I met Jacey Muir. She was exactly what I imagined Hellena would look like, and watching her reading one of the scenes I wrote gave me the inspiration for the rest of the story. From there on, I tried focusing it around the statement - It's ok to be different, and it's important to follow our hearts and accept our fantasies and desires as a part of who we are (obviously I took it to the extreme for the sake of the story).
How do you approach storytelling?
For me, storytelling usually originates from trauma. I find it inspiring, taking something too hard to handle, and forcing yourself to look at it. In my opinion, if it hurts, it's probably a story worth telling.
Another important thing is the team. I think that without people giving you their honest opinion, you can't build a good story. When I write, I try to make sure to listen to those people, if it's my wife, my mentor, or others I trust to give me some tough love.
What impact do you hope this film will have?
I hope people will see it and come to an understanding that they are not alone.
I don't mean in a we-all-want-to-kill-someone way (although I think sometimes we do) but by saying to ourselves that being different is ok, and owning it is FREEDOM.
Were there any surprising or meaningful experiences while making the film you want to share?
My most meaningful outtake from this project was two amazing women I met along the way, one is Tatiana Mattos, who was the lead producer, and the other is Genevieve Guerin, my 1st AD. These are two relationships I feel will accompany me and my career forever.
Another amazing thing I experienced on that set was the magical bond of actors. There is honestly nothing like it in the world, and it was an absolute pleasure to witness it.
Hands down, Post-production. I have a very short fuse when it comes to sitting in front of a computer. That's when I learned how important it is to find an editor you trust.
What did you learn while making it?
You can get A LOT of free stuff if you ask nicely!
Jokes aside, the biggest lesson is - It's all about the team. I couldn't have made this film without the talented individuals that came on board and helped to shape those papers I had written into a watchable short film.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the film?
Along with a sense of self-love, I hope they would be more open-minded to other inner voices, no matter how different they are from their own.
What are you working on next?
Before COVID-19 started, I was about to start a crowdfunding campaign for my next short "Let's Kill Someone", that tells a story of the lifelong burden carried by sexual assault victims and how that burden determines behaviors and relationships even decades later.
Since I had to put a pause on that, I joined a production team as 1st AD and we're prepping to shoot (hopefully) this summer.
Where can we follow your work?
I'm still working on my website, but in the meantime, you can find both my first short "Be There", inspired by an old friend of mine who killed himself a few years ago, and "Cold Shower", my experimental mocumentary on Youtube.
Cold Shower - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_ijYsURMPo&t=6s
Anything else you’d like to add?
I just want to thank FVR, I love your platform and honored to be featured on it!