Film created by and starring people with special needs to debut

The NGO for people with special needs, Chimes will be hosting a screening on Thursday at the Cinematek in Tel Aviv.

A young filmmaker at work 370 (photo credit: Courtesy Chimes )
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.
Ohayon has 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.
“Because 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.”
At the 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 of love.”
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 stories.”
Jorge Zimmermann, executive director of Chimes Israel, told the Post 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.”