Exclusive Interview with Tomer Werechson, Director of "Hani's Barber" Comedy Film, Winner MHFF 2020
"Give young creators more chances and opportunities."
Tomer Werechson is a creative video director and editor with over 10 years of experience in directing and editing commercials, promos, instructional videos and animation. Tomer won an award at Manhattanhenge Film Festival 2020 best comedy category. We would love to hear how he got into film business and his experiences.
Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?
Absolutely. My Grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer and I wanted to document him so my family has a good memory of him before his condition gets worse. A year later I decided to edit what I filmed and I created a 15 minutes' short documentary called "Hibernation" that was screened all over the world and even won quite a few awards. I remember the audience's reactions, crying at the sad parts, laughing at the funny parts and the impact it made on them made me feel that this is much more than a hobby, this is what makes me going, this is my true passion.
Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?
I think it's harder to keep going. As time goes by, you try to reach higher and as your aims get higher the more you get disappointed when you don't succeed and sometimes even when you do succeed it's much more frightening because it makes you think what will happen if I fail with my next film. When I created "Hani's barber shop" pilot I got so many 'No's it made me think this web series is no good. My budget was very low and I was about to just skip it. Then, a colleague suggested that I write a short treatment for the whole season and it will make some order in the season's plot and so I did. I re-edited the pilot and even filmed another one to show the potential of this idea to become a whole series and….well a few weeks later it got accepted to LA webfest, and then to other webfests around the world. It really got me back on track.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life creating film?
Remember that even if people think that your film is really really bad, I promise you that nobody will die because of it. However, if your film is really good, you can make people feel alive again.
What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you? What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
I think it's really hard to say what makes a film great since it's hard to say what gets our feelings going. But it has to do something to our feelings. Make us laugh, cry, fear, get excited. As long as it makes us feel something, it's a good film. When I think about the best films I watched, I think it always ended with some kind of inspiration, I finished watching the film and said to myself "This is exactly the kind of film I want to make".
It is said that there are only six stories. Maybe twelve. It's all been done before. And we have seen it all. What do you do to keep it fresh? Is there anything that you can do to subvert the process to keep it original?
It's true it's very hard to be original. Especially with so many creators around the world thanks to the internet and the ability to spread your word to millions in seconds. However, I believe that a director with an interesting point of view will always have something clever and creative to say about any topic and therefore there is no limit to the new and original stories we can tell.
Films evolve through the creative process - sometimes most dramatically in the editing process. It's often really hard to reconcile the difference between what we desired and what we achieved. How have you encountered this and how do you move through it?
In 99% of my films, I got something a bit different than what I originally planned. I think that in most cases I got something even better. When you create a film you give the editor lots of pieces for a puzzle you dreamed to create. A good editor will put the pieces together and create this puzzle just like you wanted. A great editor will take your dream to the next level and create something that is even better than what you imagined.
What inspired you to create Your project, Hani's Barber Shop? How did you get inspired to make Hani's Barber Shop?
My original plan was to create a documentary of my mother in law's barber shop. "Surprisingly" her name is Hani. I came to film at her barber shop and the clients were very shy. Most of them did not want to be filmed and even those that agreed to participate didn't feel natural to me. So I decided to just let the camera run as I watch them and learn how the dynamics work in a barber shop. I just looked and listened while the camera ran. Then when I got home I watched what I filmed and started writing ideas for characters for a fiction web series.
What kind of challenges did you face before production and after production of "Hani's Barber Shop"? Was there any difficult moment to continue production? What was the biggest challenge for you?
The biggest challenge like a lot of projects was the budget. Many of the team members came voluntarily or were paid very low. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. This was a small indie project that was made with lots of love and passion and I really think you can feel it when watching the episodes.
lf there is one or more things you think would make the film industry better, what would it be?
Giving young creators more chances and opportunities. Some new talents are out there, even younger than me and they are the people that will create tomorrow's films, TV shows, web series or any visual content. Let them lead the way!
Hani's Barber Shop
Director & Writer: Tomer Werechson
Project Type: Short, Web / New Media
Runtime: 5 minutes
Completion Date: March 1, 2017
Production Budget: 7,000 USD
Country of Origin: Israel
Shooting Format: Digital
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
We wish good luck and blessing on Director Tomer Werechson's journey. Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge with us.
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Manhattanhenge Film Festival 2020