Filmmaker Spotlight:
‘Rebel’ filmmaker Oran Zegman

Leading up to the 28th Washington Jewish Film Festival, we asked our filmmakers a few questions about their featured films.
In this edition, Director Oran Zegman discusses Rebel.

What inspired you to tell the story of your subject or the story depicted in your film?

The story of REBEL is based on my grandmother life. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew so little about her abusing ex-husband and how she had to choose between her son to her freedom. As a woman, I was curious to dig in her story to understand what brought her to take this difficult decision. I was intrigued by this horrible conflict of choosing between your freedom to your motherhood. There is fine line between taking care of yourself to being selfish and I was fascinated to exam this dilemma.


Director Oran Zegman

What was a particular obstacle you faced while making this film? 

Since it’s based on a true story, I flew to Florida to interview my granny and my uncle (her son from previous marriage). The big issue was that my uncle never wanted to know about the past because his father (my granny’s ex) died many years ago and was saint to him. Making this film was dealing with the fact that now he will face the truth and reveal facts he never wanted to hear before. This whole thing was a big issue and I was scared. However, I decided my grandma deserves to reveal her truth as long as she lives. My uncle loves me and supported the film, but never agreed to watch it.


What do you want audiences to walk away with after screening your film?

I’d like to empower women and make them listen to their heart and follow their truth even if it hurts. No one deserves to control your happiness or freedom.


Why do you think Washington, DC is a valuable location to screen your film?

I’m honored to having the opportunity to screen my film in DC. Two years ago I moved to LA from Israel in order to fulfill my dream and transfer my career to Hollywood. In two months I will graduate from the American Film Institute (AFI) and screening in DC the last film I made in Israel helps me to show my Israeli voice and where I came from. I heard The Jewish community in DC is so great and I’m very excited about the screening.


Still from ‘Rebel’

What films or filmmakers have been the most influential to you?

Sophia Coppola, Coen Brothers, Baz Lhurman, Wes Andersen.


Why are Jewish-interest films important today?

Now, after I’m living almost two years in the US, the Jewish culture is fascinate to me more than ever. I feel that Jewish families are so different than others. Jewish characters are always so bold, tactless, direct and interesting to write about. The energy, the temperament, the complex and intense relationships in Jewish families, all these elements create better stories, and to me – these are the stories I want to focus on my career.

Watch Rebel during the 28th Washington Jewish Film Festival.

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