Eden's Empire - Short Narrative - Israel
After she loses control, and pushes her mom in an argument, a lonely girl runs away to the woods, where she finds a dog that helps her deal with her guilt and anger at her parent's separation.
Joshua Trachtman was born in a Travel trailer in the USA, and moved to Israel in his childhood where he grew up in a large religious hippy homeschool family, sandwiched between six other siblings and numerous pets.
While not on set or at the editing bay, you can find Joshua Volunteering with holocaust survivors or enjoying walks with his beautiful dogs.
It is said that the two hardest things on set are directing children, and directing animals. My movie has both. I knew that the key thing on which the film would rise or fall was the casting of the lead role. In earlier versions of the script, the protagonist of the film was a boy. I auditioned over 60 kids, and I felt like none of them had the precise combination of natural acting for a complex role, screen presence, and maturity to thrive on a busy film set. Then at one of the auditions for the role of the protagonist's younger sister, a young actress named Tal (Without any previous acting experience) arrived, I was amazed by her from the very first moment of the audition. I knew that this is the solution that has eluded me so far, and at the center of the film must stand a heroine, not a hero. So I rewrote the script and cast her as the lead.
I found out that Tal is going through similar things to the main character, she just also dealt with her parents' break up, and was living with her single mother.
It was very important to me that the set be a safe place for her, and a place where she could express herself. Tal told me that she felt that the film helped her a lot to cope With the difficulties she is facing. She managed to bring a lot of herself into the role, and I would not be surprised if she wins an Oscar in a few years.
The next crucial step for filming was creating a real bond between Tal and Loopy, so Tal and I spent many days rehearsing with Loopy and his trainer.
The script I wrote is fictional, but it combines a lot of my childhood experiences and moments from life. It was very important to me to write a screenplay about a kid learning to cope with hardship and guilt through her relationship with a dog. In my childhood after we came to Israel and my parents divorced, I went through an extremely lonely and painful period of my life, I took the guilt of the divorce upon myself, and my dogs helped and gave me the tools I needed to grow and cope.
The main reason why I had to create the film is my belief that there is hope for healing for every person, no matter how low they have gotten. I want the audience to go on a journey with the protagonist, from the starting point of great pain, to the decision to eventually return to her home even though her problems have not been fully resolved, because she has found tools to help her cope and grow and to rebuild her special mother daughter connection.
While writing this screenplay like everyone else, I was shocked by the arrival of this crazy pandemic, suddenly nothing was certain. It was unclear if this thing we all love called cinema, would survive. I was facing a crossroads. I could do The rational thing and postpone the production by a year, due to all the obstacles that faced the upcoming production: lockdowns, lack of financing, fears and depression all due to covid, Instead I chose the second option, which I knew was right… to move forward with my dream, and shoot my script in spite of everything. I just knew I had to get it out into the world!
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