Interview with Israeli Filmmaker Shachar Gal (BLACK BALLOON)

BLACK BALLOON was the winner of Best Cinematography at the June 2016 WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival. 

It was an honor speaking with the director Shachar Gal about the film.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Shachar Gal: There are few things that attracted us about making the film.

Actually the first thoughts we had were more about the aesthetics and the atmosphere we wish to create.

The “torture” scene was the first part of the script and everything was kind of built around it. the dissonance between a birthday celebration and a cruel murder scene was the first spark in my brain.. So I have to admit it was not the “anti-bullying” idiology who brought me to make the film. The story about Noy (the girl) came after two different drafts. When we came up with “Black Balloon” it was after we where watching some item about bullying in ​​the Israeli news. When I saw (in the footage) some teenage girl bullying a younger helpless girls in school I remember thinking to myself: “What is this poor girl’s mother feeling if she is w​​a​​​tching that?!”. Two seconds after that – I knew I have a script.

MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

SG: About a year. Maybe 2 years from that first spark of idea.

MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?

SG: I’ll say – Black Balloon

(I never really understood how to describe that film. Mostly for me it’s a first step (another two words to describe it) 🙂

MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

SG: I guess the production of the first shooting days. We were a young crew with not much of experience.

We actually had to shoot the first day again (!!) because the footage was not good (we had many technical issues).

I am very happy that we decided to shoot the entire day again. It was not an easy decision financially and morally but we did it and it paid off.

MT: What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

SG: First of all, it is a great honor and a wonderful gift for a young director like me to have feedback like that. The reactions are allowed me to understand different elements of the film, and the way those elements effect different people. It really made me understand that in order to know your own film and learn from it – you must listen to as many opinions and reactions as possible. I think this is what making films is all about.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

SG: It’s a hard competition between “Fight Club” and “Pulp Fiction”

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

SG: My next project is a feature about Israeli organized crime and the synthetic drugs industry.

I hope it will be filmed by the end of the year.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of BLACK BALLOON:

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival


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