Cannes Film Festival
25th La Cinef Selection 2022
May 22, 2022
A young girl wakes up one morning to find out about a new woman in her widowed father's life, for the first time since her mother passed away. The unexpected change undermines her and leads to a process of exploring new boundaries in her relationship with her father, which is now facing a dilemma. As they wander through various rooms in the house, the father and daughter are forced to deal together with their complexed kinship.
Hi Orin, thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been keeping during these strange times?
Thank you for having me at your site. Those two months were really busy for me, I was handling post-production for KINSHIP while studying at the current semester at my school. Looking back, it passed so fast in a sudden. I still can't believe that in a few days I will have its premiere in Cannes. I feel so grateful.
Will there be any nerves ahead of your screening?
Truth be told, I'm not nervous about the screening itself, but more towards this new experience I'm about to go through, which is extremely new to me. This is the first film I created that comes out into the world, and instead of just my friends and classmates watching – this time an audience of people from around the world will. I can't wait any longer to share my inner world with them.
What would you say have been the most valuable lessons you have taken from your time at The Steve Tisch School of Film & Television?
I'm now in my third year of school, so I have another full year to experience. The decision to go to university was very helpful to me, I learn so much every day, whether techniques and basics, or an inspirational sentence that remains engraved in my head. Mostly, I feel that I have learned and still do a lot about myself, both as a person and as a creator. At the beginning of school I would compare myself to other students consistently - that I am slower than them in my process, that I don't go enough to other film sets like them and that I'm "unprofessional" because of it - which made me wonder if I was good enough. But I realized that the external is not important as I thought, but the internal is what really matters. To create from your heart, to be connected to your creation and work hard on it before you even go out for shooting. And as so, I always stayed true to myself and did everything at my own pace. I learned to let go of bad thoughts, rather than judge myself. Because I'm who I am, and I'll eventually get to where I'm really supposed to be.
Congratulations on Kinship being selected for the 25th La Cinef, where you are also nominated for the Cinefondation Award, what does it mean to you to be able to be at the festival with this film?
Thank you. Following on from what I said before, I think that most of all – it is a proof to myself that I can get where my heart is aiming me, by being true to myself and being confident with who I really am. That I can, and hopefully will, influence other people through my work, and make them wonder and go deep into self-understandings within it.
Can you tell me how Kinship came about, what inspired your screenplay?
I was in an ongoing process of almost two years in which I wrote the script. So, for me the characters have already led the plot at some point by themselves and I got the inspiration from them. This usually happens to me when I write. I wake up in the middle of the night from a dream when the plot leads me and inspires me.
The first scene I wrote was a monologue of a daughter to her father, about how she used to examine his behaviour in front of her mother when she was a little girl. Then the scene went down, but the motif was preserved. The film was born out of the complex relationship between them. My main interest is exploring the depth of relationships within the family, which are not usually as simple as they seem. There are always emotional charges and complexities that only if we look closely enough, can we examine it.
Looking back, I realize there are few connections between my personal life and my film. As a child, I went through my adolescence while my parents got divorced, which was a soft and embracing farewell. Although, in this process I had to face their search for new and changing relationships, that required a premature adolescence in the face of the desire to remain a child. Through cinematic practice I was able to examine this complex dynamic between a parent and his child, but from an angle where the equation is unequal.
When directing a film like Kinship how much flexibility did you allow yourself with the screenplay?
I allowed myself and my characters while writing to be what they want purely, with no boundaries at all. At first, their actions were more provocative and straightforward, if I have to define it. And throughout the various drafts, I have directed their actions to what is most compatible and true for the film and their process in it. My flexibility remained, but was accompanied by an ongoing process of learning and getting to know my characters.
What was the biggest challenges you faced bringing Kinship to life and what was the hardest scene for you to film?
I think the most challenging thing was to decide on the casting of the daughter. In writing the script, I imagined a very specific father - a strong character who doesn't have to say much to get what he wants and convey a lot through one look. Very quickly I concluded that Gil Frank is this character, no doubt. Though, the process of finding the daughter was more complex, cause of the complexity of her personality, and I couldn't imagine exactly what she would look like and be. I met Daria Shamai at the beginning of my second year in an acting class at school and an immediate connection was formed.
I shared with her the changes in the script, and we worked a lot on scenes, while I was continuing my search. Eventually, I listened to my initial instincts and chose her since she had the ability to convey that dependency and attachment in a specific unique way, that I couldn't find in any other actress. And I'm so happy with this choice and process, which through it we got to know the daughter better, together.
Before filming I thought I would have the hardest time filming the intimate scenes, or the sexual act scene. But I found out that the anxiety attack scene was the hardest for me. I watched the monitor, and we did take after take, about 6, because it had to be perfect. Each time I had to go through the anxiety attack with her, and I felt like I was the one experiencing it. At the last take my eyes were already on the verge of tears.
Looking back is there anything you would do differently on this film?
It is clear to me that I learned a lot through the experience of filming, editing, and every possible aspect of its doing, and "it can always be better". Though, I think anything I would have done differently, would have made the film something different from what it is and taken from its rawness, so I would not change a thing. The film went through the process it was just supposed to go through, and so did I.
Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?
Before the university, I studied fashion photography at the Ron Kedmi Workshops. As part of a self-discovery process, I realized that beauty in fashion and still images led me to explore cinematic stories and combine writing with visual through film. This combination of story-characters-visuals is a whole world through which I can best express myself.
In terms of cinematic creation, there are three main films that led me to film studies: Café de Flore by Jean-Marc Vallée, Stoker by Park Chan-wook, and The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos.
Are there any areas of filmmaking or themes you are keen to explore with future films?
My love is mostly for simple cinema and for events that happen indoors. My desire is to explore and deepen complex relationships, mainly blood related relationships. Family members are attached to you forever, no matter what, and you are committed to them until the day you are dead. There's nothing more fascinating than that to me, to examine the power dynamics, the changes in their lives and their way of dealing with them. To look at the moments of in-between, inside the house which no one from outside can see.
"...be brave in what you want to say with loyalty to your heart, do not dismiss yourself just because some might not like it - if the bite needs to get stuck in someone's throat - then that's what it'll do."
Is there any advice or tips you would offer a fellow director?
I'm still at a very early stage in my journey, but from what I've experienced so far, I can say that being true to yourself and working effectively are two the most important things. Plus, there will always be people around you, or even great directors you admire - that you compare yourself to, and it's perfectly legitimate to do so. But remember not to lower yourself while doing so. And also, be brave in what you want to say with loyalty to your heart, do not dismiss yourself just because some might not like it - if the bite needs to get stuck in someone's throat - then that's what it'll do.
And finally, what do you hope your audiences will take away from Kinship?
I hope my film will make them look within themselves without fear or judgment, and re-examine and explore their relationships with their family.