Through moving interviews, Bear With Me reveals the many difficulties prevalent for those who cross borders in order to be with the ones they love.
Hi Daphna thank you for talking to TNC, how are you handling the lockdown?
Under the circumstances I feel very lucky and grateful to continue working and keep myself busy.
As a filmmaker is this experience providing you with some creative motivations?
Yes and no. I started interviewing subjects online for a new possible film about this surrealistic period. However, I do find myself less inspired sometimes and even blocked. I believe that even after life will go back to “normal” we will need some time to process it.
Your film Bear With Me has been selected for the Student Category at the 2020 ÉCU Film Festival in Paris, what has it meant to you to be part of this unique film festival for independent filmmakers?
It's a great honour to compete in the ECU with such high quality films. I have warm feelings for Paris since my first film ’Journey Birds’ was born there. I wish it was possible to attend the festival physically, hopefully one day in the future...
As a documentarian you uniquely use animation as a way to bring stories to life, what was it about animation that interested you so much?
The combination of animation and documentary is fascinating to me. Animation can add so many different layers to the story and reflect the inner world of the characters and the director. In my films I am combining printed videos with hand drawn animation. The use of analog animation which leaves stains and patches of colours can be interpreted in two levels: first, it's about the fact that the character is not “sterile” but a character with a background in a place far away and the world which surrounds her is different and not always clear and understandable as with new immigrants.
The second is about my experience as the creator of the film. My world is mixing with the characters' world in an uncontrolled or measured way. I see search and wondering in the technique, and not necessarily clear answers. The search is theirs but it's also mine, the film is about them but also about me.
What has the experience been like for you making Bear With Me?
Working on the film was like a tool for me to process the immigration experience me and my boyfriend Ben were going through. I created the film in a very short time and couldn't believe the success and the amazing reactions it received from all over the world.
Can you tell me a little bit about Bear With Me, how did this film come about?
In the beginning I wanted to create a film about love. I started interviewing people in The Netherlands, and after a while I noticed that I choose to interview immigrants and more specifically immigrant couples.
Hardly being aware of myself, I wanted to know how moving to a new country reflected on their relationship, or what happens when one follows their partner to a new place?
Bear With Me uses interviews from immigrants who have crossed borders for love, how did you go about getting participants for this project?
I met these inspiring people in different ways: some studied with me in MIVC, some of them I met in creative workshops. Ora and Henk, were like my adopted family when I just moved here. I have made many interviews with different people but chose to include only a few of them in the films. The people I chose represent emotions and thoughts I had while I created Bear With Me.
What was the most challenging scene for you to film?
The ending scene where the bears are dancing in the kitchen was a bit funny and challenging to film since I didn't have a tripod available. I improvised and put my camera on a closet. The second time I shot it was with a tripod, but I actually liked the closet’s angle much more and decided to use that. It felt like a small peek to an intimate moment.
Looking back what would you say has been the biggest lesson you've taken from making this film?
I don't know if I can call it a lesson, but my passion for animated documentaries is getting bigger and I would like to continue to stretch the boundaries of this wonderful medium.
You are a graduate from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design (BA) & you gained your Masters of Animation from St. Joost Master Institute of Visual Cultures, what was the experience like for you attending these institutions?
Very different experiences, but both were challenging and great in different ways. My studies in Bezalel were very intensive and competitive. I was exposed for the first time to different approaches towards animation and filmmaking. Throughout the very demanding and inspiring four years of BA studies I discovered my own voice.
I thought that I was coming to MIVC prepared and “well cooked” but I was surprised to discover new things about myself and about my process of making films and animation. I met wonderful friends who came to the animation class from different disciplines like fine art and graphic design, they brought fresh and different points of view. After this one year of MA studies in MIVC, my passion for animation and filmmaking became even stronger. I am currently working partly in MIVC and very proud to be part of this unique institution.
"I hope to continue developing my visual language and storytelling techniques even more in the future."
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
I grew up in a house with a big love and passion for art and cinema so it was very natural for me to continue in this path.
How much has your style and approach to your films changed since you started making films?
When I started working on Bear With Me I tried to work digitally, so the production will be faster and cheaper. The animation test I made didn't catch the emotional effect, which to my belief, real paint on paper has.
I decided to go back to “my technique” of drawing with oil pastels on printed videos, only this time developing it even further and enriching my possibilities.
I hope to continue developing my visual language and storytelling techniques even more in the future.
Do you have any tips or advice to offer filmmakers about to make their first film?
Follow your intuition and to your guts- it will lead you to the things you are really passionate about. Try to enjoy the journey and the unknown questions.
And finally, what are you currently working on?
I am working on my new film ׳Swimming With Wings׳ - A short animated documentary which examines immigration through the eyes of a little Israeli girl, learning how to swim with clothes on in the Netherlands.