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[Interview] – Eyal Resh – ‘Boys’ – A Short Film

 

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Posted July 2, 2017 by

 
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Director Eyal Resh’s human coming of age drama Boyshas been selected to screen at the LA Film Festival in June, and stars talented young actors, Wyatt Griswold (New Girl) and Pearce Joza (Mech-X4).

A friendship between two adolescent boys takes several abrupt turns one night, as the pair push boundaries and discover a new side of themselves.

Director Eyal Resh, after serving as a Director in the Cinema Unit in the Israeli Air Force, graduated the Film Directing MFA Program at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), with his work chosen to represent CalArts in the Walt Disney Concert hall for two years in a row. His short films including Arrival and My Matthew both had successful festival runs, with his animation short film Searching For Them recently premiering at the Asif Animation Film Festival, whilst Boys recently premiered at the Vienna International Film Festival. His piece, Telling Israel’s Story, gained huge viral success with more than 4 million views and has screened at various festivals worldwide. He is currently developing two feature films, a short film and a television show.

As one half of the accomplished pair of actors carrying the drama, Wyatt Griswold is no stranger to the screen, having guest-starred in hit TV series New Girl, opposite Zooey Deschanel, and in a supporting lead role alongside Shelley Long, Dean Cain and Gary Valentine in The Dog Who Saved the Holidays. He has also appeared in Labrynth, featuring James Franco and Jason Ritter, and in award winning film, The Adventures of Sheriff Kid McLain.

Playing opposite is Pearce Joza, who after making his stage debut at age four, has gone on to forge a successful career in film and television, appearing in TBS’s Angie Tribeca, alongside Rashida Jones, Nickelodeon’s The Legendary Dudas and Disney XD’s award winning show Lab Rats: Bionic Island. He has recently wrapped as a lead on season 2 of Disney XD’s sci-fi adventure comedy, Mech-X4.

Boys will be screening as part of the Shorts Program 2 at the LA Film Festival on June 15thand June 18th.

Trailer:

Interview:

To being with, tell us about your latest Short Film ‘Boys’…

Boys is a coming of age piece that tells the story of two 12 years old boys who experience a sexual awakening. It is a story about adolescence, desire, loneliness and the realization of being different. I wanted to show the first, raw moment of sexual awakening will at in encapsulates. To tell a tender story that carries all the different emotion involved in such discovery.

The story could be understood as gay – and it is to an extent – but not necessarily. I believe sexuality is fluid and has more than one definite answer. I therefore focused on the essence of the sexual awakening experience.  It is a loaded, rounded, human moment we are all familiar with regardless of our preference.

Where did the idea come from?

When I was 12 years old I lived through this story myself. Boys is an adaptation of my personal growing up memory. For years I have spent time thinking about it and gathering the courage to make it. In many ways this is the story that made me want to make films.

Back in 1999 there was rarely any LGBT representation in the media. Growing up in a small town in Israel and discovering my sexuality with my best friend- I felt alone in the world. I lived with this constant notion that something with me was wrong. It was a traumatic experience that stayed with me for years after but also an amazing one that thought me so much about myself. This dichotomy of emotion I experienced is what made me who I am today.

I always known that one day I have to share this story with the world so that other boys and girls – and their parents- understand they are not alone. I wanted everyone to think about how natural this moment is. I wanted people to talk about it, develop empathy for it and thus deal with it. It is not at all a taboo for me.

Tell us about the cast, who is staring and what was it like working with them?

PEARCE JOZA (plays Jake) and WYATT GRISWOLD (plays Brian) are two amazing children and actors. They were the first two boys to step into the audition room (and I’ve seen around 40 boys after) and it was immediately clear to me they are the ones.

The process was very light, thoughtful and the outcome very successful in my opinion. I myself was amazed by the performances both gave throughout the film.

Most of the rehearsal process was focused on creating the friendship between them and in getting them familiar with the reality of these characters. We went to the park and played hide and seek, was recreating sleepovers, games, jokes etc. You know, stuff that children do.

The most difficult moment to create was the one when both boys experience the sexual awakening with each other. This of course required a lot of thought. In order to figure out how to do it right I brought in consultants to the process -children psychologists and very experienced filmmakers who have dealt with similar challenges.

The most important thing for me, more than the film and the way it comes out, was not to harm the children in any way. Since it’s such a delicate moment in growing up I didn’t want to ask them to do something they do not understand, even if it’s what happens to the characters in the story.

I therefore decided to take the moment they roll on top of each other on the bed and choreograph it in rehearsal. I turned it into a dance. I made it about physicality. We had counts and movements. The video from this movement work shop is on our Facebook page if you like to check it out @boys- short film. https://www.facebook.com/theshortfilmboys/

Since children are very connected to their bodies, it was very easy to make this experience fun and light for the actors. It was effortlessly becoming something they could understand and relate to. A completely different experience from the one the characters go through in the story.

What are your influences as a filmmaker?

Life is my biggest influence – People. Dynamics. Interactions. Situations. Behaviors. It is my cave of wonder filled with everything I could dream of – and more. I constantly keep reminding myself to look with the heart and that the rest will follow. So I observe– other people around me and myself in situations. I ask WHY – and the answers are usually my biggest inspiration pearls.

In cinema the list is endless – a few strong influences are: Robert Bresson and his approach to filmmaking, John Cassavetes, Tarkovsky, Xaviar Dolan, Yorgos Lanthimos, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and many more. Also- different art forms influence my work. Classical music in the way it deals with tension for instance, visual art in the work with color, dance, theater and more. I try to consume art from all kinds on my day to day life. Buddhism and Judaism is also a big source of inspiration. There are many wonderful ancient stories in them that reveal human nature in very interesting ways.

What advice would you give to any up and coming filmmakers trying to crack the industry?

It is what I remind myself every morning — keep training your brain to think story — work that muscle.  And look inwards and not to the sides.

What is the next step for you? Do you have any other projects in production?

Yes, I have many.

I’m currently developing two feature films, a web show and a short. We are going to shoot the short in NYC next month. It’s about a Deaf couple that discover they are pregnant. The feature is about the idea of legacy and leadership and the show about our new dating reality.

All the project are very different from each other but all dance around human themes of intimacy, transformation and growth. Like Boys.

My next step is also the one after – to keep doing. To keep mastering my ability to tell stories, sharpen my cinematic skills and have loads of fun along the way.

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Interviewed By:

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Adam Snowden
@FilmDebate
Company Founder & Managing Director

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