There is much to report as always from the past couple of action packed days--business meetings, film festival shenanigans, and of course late night drinking (AKA the national pasttime of the Israeli punk).
Above and beyond all of these activites are the bands--that's the important stuff. I've gotten a couple of really positive comments from some of them since that initial release of criticism. Also, even the bands who did the most complaining all admitted that they had fun at the screening and it was cool to see themselves and all of their friends on screen. Someone called the event "a punk rock reunion." So I'm definitely feeling better. Tsahi from Retribution (the right-wing band) wrote me a nice email, excerpted here:
"Don't mind what people told you we all thought that the movie was great and we are very proud about the way you described our small scene, you made us look great, justthat some people got to say somthing or they will feel less important."
It was a very sweet gesture, but I also found it funny because those words would just add to the list of offenses by him and his band against the "left-wingers". Good thing Retribution are big guys.
Shmida from Hapussy explained that though the film might not be as interesting for the Israeli punks themselves, he was trying to watch it from the perspective of an American or British person who "thinks if they step off the plane in Israel all they will see is camels." He could see the value of the film for that audience, who is, after all, the intended one. The past couple days have also re-affirmed the notion that every comment on the movie has to be taken with a grain of salt, as people interpret it in their own ways depending on their own biases, etc. One example--someone at the first screening complained that I showed too many "touristy" areas of Tel Aviv, and last night Roy from Punkache suggested I showed too many slums. So, what can you do excpet (as I said in an earlier post) to trust your own instincts?
Anyway, one of my main tasks whil I am in town is to do follow-up interviews with as many bands from the movie as possible while I am in town. Since I originally shot almost two years ago, much has changed, and everyone always asks me WHERE ARE THEY NOW? After all, two years is a big gap when you're talking between the ages of 18 and 20. So far, I've only shot these interviews with HaPussy shel Lussy (former singer killed in suicide bombing) and Punkache (3 funny guys on couch.) Tonight should be a busy one, as I am scheduled to shoot Retribution, Gutzy, Nikmat Olalim and Lital.
I'll write more detailed updates about everyone later but here's a quickie of the bands so far. HaPussy have opened a recording studio and rehearsal space only for underground bands to use--something almost unprecedented in Tel Aviv. They said that a lot of people have gotten more active in the scene and in building a sustainable community that exists outside of the mainstream. Awesome.
Harpak from Punkache is currently on tour with Useless ID in Australia (!!) and Roy and Gatt are as funny as ever. Roy is done with the army and has already served his reserve service once. He is teaching cinema in high school and doing graphic design--who knew we had so much in common? Gatt has his own apartment where we did the interview and although he quit managing the Patiphone he is working and playing bass in a few local bands.