Zehavit Sabag, Israeli film director, (screen)writer and producer. You made a short film Yes and No which was accepted at The Barcelona International LGBT-film festival this July and in this year's anniversary programme of the 30th Paris International Lesbian and Feminist Film Festival in October. What inspired you to write, produce and direct this short film with a contradictory title?
What inspired me in this specific story is interesting because it’s the first experimental short I ever did or write and the original script was even more artistic than the final result. I think the main inspiration is my trying to bring fantasia and realty together, and the conflict that love has for good and bad in both worlds.
Two years ago you made short film "She and I" with the same actresses and it was also screened at The Barcelona International LGBT-film festival. It is a really nice idea of how to present what happens when we have been in love (how mind, body and heart differently react to love). What inspired you to make that short film?
I wrote that script when I was dealing with broken heart and was in the healing process. and that short was my closer with that love.
Do you think that sexual orientation of the actres(ess) matter(s) in lesbian-storylines the same as it matters that transgender actors/actresses play in transgender
I think that it matters and not as matter. There is a thing when an actor or actress comes out, suddenly they get only gay parts in movies and television and I don't like the fact that just because they come out as gay they should only play LGBTQ roles. I think that actors should play a diversity of characters with the right and authentic direction and connection to the character.
How is a lesbian scene in Israel, we all assume Israel is pretty liberal when it comes to LGBT-rights and Pride is held each year in Tel Aviv; how is the actual climate regarding LGBT-people in Israel and also making LGBT-films: are LGBT-people accepted or tolerated, are there many lesbian-gay bars, discos, LGBT-film festivals and events or there is a shortage of them? What regarding equality marriage, adoption of children and just in general LGBT-rights as humans rights?
Yes. we have an amazing pride parade in Tel Aviv and it’s getting bigger and bigger each year. I think that we have a lot of indie LGBTQ short and feature films here and every year we have the TLVFEST INTERNATIONAL LGBT FILM FESTIVAL that helds place in Tel aviv. Freedom, justice and tolerance should be the pillars of any society. We believe Israel must guarantee full social and political equality to all, regardless of religion, race, sex or sexual orientation.
As committed members of the Israeli LGBT community, we struggle for equality and respect by creating a serious, often controversial discourse through the medium of queer cinema. The Tel Aviv International LGBT film festival is the manifestation of this struggle.
The only LGBT film festival in the Middle East, TLVFest is a fixture of Tel Aviv pride week. MovieMaker Magazine chooses TLVFest to one of the 25 Coolest 2018 Film Festivals in the World. Selected twice (2014 & 2015) by INDIEWIRE as one of the 10 LGBT film festivals not to be missed, the festival offers a fascinating look into international and Israeli queer cinematic art. It is also an industry hub of activity. We take pride in the many collaborations and creative work that evolved from TLVFest meet-ups, seminars and workshops over the past decade.
What is it with Jewish lesbian-love stories in connection with Orthodox religion? In 2007 we watched an excellent lesbian-themed film The Secrets (Ha-Sodot) and last year Disobedience both dealing with lesbians and their love stories in oppressive orthodox Jewish community. What is your perspective on these two stories? How do you see religion in (dis)connection to lesbian love in nowadays Israel?
Both of them are very good films with a strong impact. I think it’s important to show the minority communities inside a community, especially when it comes to religion. It’s two thing that are connected to each other and people aren't talking about it enough, therefrom when a movie like this comes out it makes such a big impact. We need more such stories so people can relate to and understand better and to realize that love is love, and love has no boundaries or one god or rules. love is love, simple as that.
Do you think that lesbian love story and its main characters should portray certain important values, such as goodness, fairness, honesty, truthfulness and story to have either moral, political, philosophical message and/or background?
Yes but not only. lesbian, gay, straight, trans, non-binary etc... have all types of feelings and dark sides. It’s more than important to show characters and not only the important values, such as goodness and honesty ...
What is your next film project and most importantly what is your inspiration, where do you get your stories?
My next project is a story about a mother-daughter relationship, and the process that they are going through together as they both dealing with the daughter’s coming out. I’m also working on a Youtube channel named PUSSTHEMA which contains all women-all feminist-lesbian-bi-queer content, written and directed by and for women so I’m looking forward to it as well.
My inspiration is my everyday life, my life experience, I’m looking for stories in the little details in life.