Ambition that morphed into adventure


His mother gifted Barak Tal a camera when he was seven. His ambition was to become a photographer then. Later, he graduated from Beit Tzvi, a film school in Israel. Then he filmed his first short feature fiction film Kathmandu in 1984.

“It was a fictional movie and it was about a man whose dream was to travel to Nepal. I made it when I returned to my country after visiting Nepal,” Israeli film director Tal recalled in a tete-a-tete with The Himalayan Times. He is back in this country again. The freelance director and cinematographer of documentary films is currently in the Capital to take part in the ongoing Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF). His documentary film En-route. On Foot. Up Hill will be staged on December 15 at the festival.

Along with this film, Tal has directed number of documentaries including The Man from Atlantis (2010), The Lost Pass (2008), Hypnotic Hell (2004), and Mirandolina (1999). While he has directed various other short films, his movie Hypnotic Hell bagged Photography Award in Amsterdam Film Festival in 2004.

After graduating he started working in television. The reason for choosing television was nothing other than to make his dream of “being a film director” true. He did achieve his dream, and made the aforementioned films.

Having been attracted to travel movies, Tal likes preserving nature while also dealing with the political situation in his movies. “However, there should be a story with a conflict that makes an impression of meeting a new friend,” he shared his vision. He prefers films that tell about love, from which he learns something new. Film for him is “both an escape from reality and dwelling into the reality. It’s an adventure.”

Despite doing what he wants — he is still working in televisions, which is a “compromise as you do what you are expected to do”.

Born in Israel in 1957, he spent a normal childhood. “There weren’t televisions then.” But people in his community used to screen movies once in two weeks for children. “Watching natural, classic, and animated movies was like exploring the world. It was an enchanting experience then,” he shared with nostalgia.

Research is necessary for any project to accomplish. One needs more information to show one’s particular perspective. That’s why he picks up stories wherever he goes. Be it on the theme of environmental conservation, or travel stories he comes forth to give an art film for his audience. And he plans to make more movies in the days to come despite the challenges of film-making . “One needs to raise money, get recognition and get into festivals and broadcast the films. It’s a never ending struggle. One must do a lot of compromise if s/he needs to come to movie making. You need to be true to yourself. If money is what matters to you then it’s not a profession to choose. Rather one can seek alternatives in advertising and other areas,” he put forth a practical advise.