Rafael Balulu • INTERVIEWED

[item title=”Age”]31[/item]
[item title=”Country”]Israel[/item]

[item title=”City”]Afula[/item]
[item title=”Profession”]Director and screen writer[/item]

[item title=”Website”]rafaelbalulu.tumblr.com[/item]

[item title=”Latest”] BATMAN AT THE CHECKPOINT [/item][/details]


Today is the last day of the Berlinale Talent Campus! Israeli director Rafael Balulu won the Berlin Today Award, the prestigious Talent Campus prize for upcoming filmmakers! The short film, BATMAN AT THE CHECKPOINT, shows a fight between a Palestinian and an Israeli boy over a plastic Batman doll while waiting in the car at a security checkpoint outside of Jerusalem. The Berlin Today jury said, “The film succeeds in showing us a well known conflict by poetically re-setting it as a playful battle,” This is a great achievement for Rafael, who is passionate about cinema and is currently working on several other projects including two documentaries and two feature films. FilmFestivalLife is of course curious to see the end results, but first we talk to Rafael about winning the Berlin Today Award and his festival experiences.


Focus in filmmaking:

I am a director and script writer. Focussing on both feature documentary and feature fiction films.

You’ve just won the Berlin Today Award. How do you feel about winning this prize? What kind of effects and consequences do you think this prize will have for the future?

I’m feeling just great! I really do. The media exposure will give me the opportunity to say, “Here I am, a Berlinale winner, please give me some money for my excellent trilling future projects”. (A secret note – I already got some exciting emails from very interesting places…hush, hush!).

You are both director and screen writer. How do you combine these two functions?

It is not easy I have to say to combine these functions. I usually work with a scriptwriter – named Ayelet and she is a truly talented writer. This collaboration makes thing much easier and qualitywise better

Are you planning to continue multi-tasking for future projects?

Yes and no. It will actually depend on the type of the project. In general though I have no problem at all to focus on only directing. I just love it!

Favorite film festival:

The Berlinale. Great atmosphere, great workshops, great films and Berlin is HOT.

How high do you value the importance of film festivals, and why?

Well it depends a bit on how you look at it. Shorts festivals are almost the only professional platform you will get as a filmmaker to show your work. In general, festivals are very important for the filmmaker’s resume and reputation. It shows he/she is successful as a filmmaker. It is somehow a bit twisted, but often prizes and A-listed film festivals are considered to be more important than the film itself.

Advice to other filmmakers when approaching film festivals:

I don’t really know what to say, since a filmmaker’s festival visit and career depends a lot on luck, and not always on the quality of the film. So, I guess filmmakers should just not feel bad if they are not qualified. It is usually a matter of taste.  It also depends if the filmmakers are on time for the submission deadlines.

How is the film festival climate in Israel? What are the differences or similarities compared with festivals in other parts of the world?

Israel has a few film festivals which are great and important for the local industry. The festivals are ways more casual, small and free spirited compared with some of the bigger A & B festivals. In the end Israeli festivals are the home base for many of us. That makes these festivals really important and obligatory.

In what way do you think festivals are important for connecting different cultures?

Well on a scale of 0 to 10, I would say it scores a 10. I’ve met all my Iranian, Lebanese, Palestinian from Gaza friends through film festivals. I am pretty sure this is the only opportunity to do so in Israel.

Any tips for a website related to film?

I like Miso very much! I use it a lot together with IMDB. Also “letmewatchthis”, which has great art house films in its catalogue.


Thanks Rafael! And have fun at the Talent Campus closing party tonight!

To all the other filmmakers going tonight. Enjoy! The venue is HBC. Address: Karl Liebknecht-Strasse 9, Berlin.