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Faces of the Festival:<br>Yoav Shamir

Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir tackles the 800-pound gorilla in the room in Defamation, his part-funny, mostly-serious look at anti-Semitism.


What makes Defamation a Tribeca Must-See?

It is about anti-Semitism—not a very sexy subject—but it is done in a glib approach and it provides an insight into the core of Jewish identity and the way it influences the conflict in the Middle East. It has created a lot of controversy whereever it has been shown—so if you want to know what everybody is talking about, check it out.
 
What’s the craziest thing that happened while making the film?

It’s a documentary about anti-Semitism—so if you are expecting drugs, sex and rock n' roll kind of crazy, you are in the right place, but probably not in the right time.
 
What are your hopes/fears/wishes regarding Tribeca?

A lot of the film takes place in New York, and New York being the biggest Jewish city in the world makes this Festival an exciting event. I hope many people will come to watch it, and that people will talk about the film afterwards.
 
If you could have dinner with any filmmaker (alive or dead)—who would you want it to be?

I would like to have Groucho Marx and Larry David for the first and main course, and then to be left alone with Veronica Hart, the beautiful director and former porn star. Then I will obviously have a drink and a cigar with Groucho and David to tell them all about it.  

What piece of art (film/book/music/what-have-you) do you recommend to your friends?

I am not recommending anything anymore—everytime I recommend something that I like, I end up lending it out and never seeing it again. On second thought, I recommend Ulysses, since it has been laying in my restroom for too long.

Where else has the film screened? What happened at those screenings?

It premiered in the last Berlin Film Festival, and received an enormous amount of press, and sold out screenings. This is my fifth film, and I never seen the audience respond so loudly—it was an incredible experience.

How did you get such insider access to the people in your film?

My experience as a documentary filmmaker taught me that if your protagonists have strong and solid convictions as to what they do, they will not be shy about it. In this case, everybody had very strong convictions, which made my life easier.

What else should we know about the film?

You know too much already! I don’t want to add any more spoilers. Go and watch it.
 



Defamation premieres Thursday, April 23, at 6:45 pm, with more screenings to follow.

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