A young filmmaker at work 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Chimes )
Chimes, an NGO that helps people with special needs in Israel, will host a
screening on Thursday at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque for a film created by and
starring people with mental disabilities.
The movie, entitled “Master
Class,” was born out of a drama workshop that the actors participated in as part
of their activities with Chimes.
For two years, participants and their
instructor used a camera to film in-class performances, which constitute the
majority of the movie.
Chimes then called on producer Doron Eran and
director Billy Ben-Moshe to create the film.
“The film basically
documents the workshop, but in it, you see that beyond learning how to act, the
participants are speaking about their personal stories, their distresses, their
fears,” Eran told The Jerusalem Post
on Wednesday. “They completely open up
about subjects that worry them like love, raising a family, sex, having
children. They speak very freely and all sorts of questions are raised in this
workshop. They also talk about their dreams.”
Among the actors is
49- year-old Orly Ohayon, who suffers from a mental developmental disability and
is visually impaired due to a progressive hereditary disease that caused her
vision to weaken over the years.
Today, she can only see light and
darkness, and the silhouette of a person in close proximity.
dreamt her whole life of being under the spotlight and receiving the attention
that a celebrity gets, a desire that she expresses in the movie.
of this movie, I will be famous, which is a big source of pride for me, because
then everyone will say, ‘Oh, she is an actress, people ask her for autographs,
now she won’t care about us anymore, she won’t answer phone calls,’ and everyone
will want to be with me,” she said. “I would like for people to come see the
movie and how we worked on the film, what efforts we made.”
screening on Thursday, Orly’s dream will get a little closer to reality: she and
her friends will get to drive up to the screening in a white stretch limousine
and walk down the red carpet under the flashing lights of cameras taking
pictures of them. The scene will be recorded on video and added to the end of
the movie, in order to complete it.
“They want to be famous because when
you are famous, people see you,” Eran told the Post
. “People look at stars
because they shine. And if people notice them, see them, then maybe they’ll
recognize them at the coffee shop instead of laughing.”
Eran said that
beyond his contribution to the actors’ project, he has learned and gained a lot
from working in their company.
“When I arrived, they hugged me a hug that
never ends,” he recalled. “They give free love to people who come to them, and
that’s something that we are not used to in our society. In their world, there
is no manipulation, no lies. It’s a world full of innocence and good. I needed
to get to a room full of people with special needs to remember the true meaning
Eran said that he believes “the strength of this movie is that
it is by them and about them. They went through a process. At the beginning,
some of them just sat in the corner and never spoke. Now suddenly they dance,
sing, express themselves, talk about their parents, their life
Jorge Zimmermann, executive director of Chimes Israel, told the
that the NGO had invested much to be “giving a chance to the artists that
are among this population, and enable them to realize their true potential and
improve their quality of life.”
“Over time, we discovered that the
workshop touched on real parts of their lives and became a form of therapy,” he
said. “For them, drama makes them closer to ‘normality,’ and for us, the film
shows the rich and impactful world that they live in.”